20 Years in the Making
|6 March 2006 - Seattle, WA, USA Concert Review
So March 06 2006. Almost exactly 20 years since the release of Slippery When Wet, I found myself standing in the pouring rain in Seattle Washington. I was the first in line waiting for the doors of the Key Arena to finally open. The only thing running through my mind was the thought that in two hours time I would be standing in the same room with the man I have loved for twenty out of my nineteen years of life.
They finally allowed us to come forward and have our bags inspected. Of course this was followed by another fifteen minutes wait before they unlocked the doors. Soundcheck ran a little late. We were the first ones into the arena, and made our way to the grossly overpriced merchandise. We made our way to our second row balcony seats and watched as people text messaged each other over the big screen tv. Two were marriage proposals.
Then without any warning the lights went down. The announcer came on the stage and introduced the winners of the "Have a Nice Gig" contest, Martyr Reef, an unsigned local band. They played for forty minutes and the whole time I felt completely calm. Like I was at some hard rock Seattle band concert instead of seeing Jon. The lights came up and the roadies began preping the stage for the band. Jon and Richie had at least six or seven different guitars between the two of them. Richie had two microphones. David had three keyboards.
At eight twenty the lights went out again. With an ear-piercing scream, I stood and watched as Tico, David, and Richie walked out onto the main stage, right below our seats. A spotlight came on and followed Jon as he walked in from the back of the arena and took his place on a small stage in the very back in the middle of an excited group of fans. Somewhere in my mind I still refused to accept that this was really happening. This was just a really good dream. Then the band began to play. Jon sang the first few lines of Last Man Standing, his face projected on the screen. After about a minute, the gravity of the thing hit me and I couldn't stop the grin from spreading across my face.
Jon finished the song and jumped down from his stage. At least fifteen security guards surrounded him as he made his way to the front of the arena, pausing to touch the outreached hands of his fans. He bounded up the stairs and with a grin the band broke into You Give Love a Bad Name. The excited shouts from the crowd instantly ceased and instead became a unified chant of the lyrics.
Jon walked the stage making sure to give plenty of attention to both sides, encouraging everyone to clap along to Everyday. This is the first time I noticed the poor girl standing next to me cover her ears to ward off my screams.
Jon talked a little about how thankful he is that we all came out to see the show and went into Story of My Life. The last row on the floor was escorted up onto two parts of the stage to watch the song. Jon and Richie made sure we were all dancing along and went to shake hands with some of the people on the stage.
The only song I didnt really know was I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, from the one CD I never had, Keep the Faith. Thanks to Yahoo! Music Unlimited, I sort of knew a little of the song. Mostly we clapped and danced along.
Jon picked up his microphone after he finished the song. "I'd like to take you all on a little ride." The crowd, of course, screams. "I'd like to take a little ride in my time machine." The crowd screams, knowing he is about to do an older song. "It's 2006. 2005. 2004. 2003. 2002. 2001. 2000!" The crowd erupts into a scream as Jon catches his breath. He begins doing wild arm movements and his eyes go wide as he resumes his countdown. "1999! 98! 97! 96! 95! 94! 93! 92! 91! 90!" Jon takes a loud breath before continuing. The crowd gets louder. "89! 88! 87! 1986!!!" He shields his face with both arms against the roar of the fans. After a minute, he keeps going. "85! 84! 83! All the way back twenty three years ago when this kid walked into a New Jersey radio station, handed them a tape and said 'Play this on the radio and in a minute and thirty seconds you will have yourselves a rock star.'" Of course by now I already know he is about to launch into his first radio single Runaway.
From there he went into another song from Keep the Faith, The Radio Saved My Life Tonight. Again, not one of his most familiar songs, but he still managed to keep everyone dancing and singing along.
The band moved effortlessly from I Want to be Loved, one of my newest favorites from Have a Nice Day to another new favorite, Novocaine. At one point Jon walked over to Richie and put his arm around his shoulder. I just love the interaction between those two on stage.
Jon and Richie whispered something back and forth for a few minutes before Jon announced that Mr. Richie Sambora would be in charge of the vocals for I'll Be There For You. Richie opened his mouth and sang that song with so much emotion and so much of his soul, I almost wish he sang it on the CD. Richie kept his signature black cowboy hat dipped low over his eyes durring this song.
Jon came back out under a spotlight and sang I Wont Back Down, a Tom Petty cover. The pace picked up with a small series of recent radio hits. First the crowd was rocked by Have a Nice Day, then joined in a sing along (It's alright!) durring Who Says You Can't Go Home, the bands current top ten single. Then came It's My Life. Everyone was up and dancing after Jon asked them to "put a little groove into your boogy, if you know what I mean."
One of the highlights for me was when the band began to play the intro to a familiar song that I couldnt quite place. After they had played for almost two minutes without Jon starting up on the vocals, I knew something was up. Just then a spotlight came on showing Jon once again surrounded by giant security guards, making his way through the crowd. He jumped up onto the stairs to the lower bleacher seats on our side of the arena. Just like Last Man Standing, Jon was on a small stage in the middle of the crowd, only he was fifty feet away. As he began to play his acoustic guitar, I realized he was about to do one of my all time favorites. He shook a few hands and began to sing Blaze of Glory. I loved the acoustic sound of the song.
He stayed on his little stage for the first half of Bed of Roses before he abandoned his post in order to shake hands with as many people as he possibly could. He even hugged and gave out a few kisses on cheeks. He made his way back to the stage.
"I'm just in one of those moods tonight. There's a lot of beautiful girls in this room and I've been away from home for too long, if you know what I mean..." Of course we knew what he meant, and we screamed so. "You guys are going to get me into trouble tonight... and I'm a MARRIED MAN!"
The boys broke into Bad Medicine. Half way through, about where the guitar solo is on the cd, Jon got the boys together into a huddle. "You know, I KNEW we got into this business for a reason. Have you guys seen these girls?" They continued having their "private" gathering a few more seconds before Jon turns back around to face the crowd "Lets go boys!" and then they all got together in a line and walked across the stage while jamming out on their guitars and flirting with the crowd. Jon picked up his microphone stand and ran it down Richies guitar. Jon paused. "You know, I'm afraid to ask just how many of you know exactly where I'm staying tonight." This of course deserved another roar from the crowd. He smiled. "What can I do? I know... I can turn off all the lights so you'll think no one's home. I could put a towel under the door so you cant hear that I'm there. I could cover the peephole so you cant see inside. And then if you STILL come a-knocking on my door...(he stomped on the stage to make the knocking sound) knock once, I'll know you mean business. Knock twice, I'll know you want to have a good time. Knock THREE times, then weeeeeeeeeell baaaaby!" And he proceeded to break out into Gloria by Shadows of Knight, before resuming Bad Medicine.
Everyone was pumped up and ready to dance around when they played Raise Your Hands. As anyone might guess from the title of the song, there were, in fact, hands in the air every time Jon said Raise Your Hands.
Now we are getting to a few of my absolute hands down all time Bon Jovi classic favorites. I recognized from the first few notes that Jon was going to play Living on a Prayer. Again, this song is just one of those songs that can make me stop whatever I am doing, no matter what, and forget everything that is bothering me. There really are no words I can use to describe to someone the feeling of absolute love, joy, and pure happiness I feel when I hear Jon sing this song. The entire crowd stopped yelling and once again began singing the words. Jon stopped singing and put the microphone out over the audience and we all sang the first verse and the first chorus. At the end Jon had this very proud, half smile on his face and said, "It just doesn't get any better than that."
The band waved and left the stage. A few people left. But of course the band wasnt finished. They reappeared to sing I'd Die For You. A very good song that had the audience dancing along. Wild in the Streets followed. I was very happy that they were choosing so many songs off of Slippery When Wet, considering every one of the songs on that cd are dear to my heart.
Jon busted out the maracas for Keep the Faith. This was a really good performance. Jon tossed the maracas into the air at the end and caught them before setting them down. One review in the Oakland Tribune said that Jon “works the stage like a preacher does a revival tent.” I have never really had any sort of religion in my life. Other than Bon Jovi, that is. Some people have Jesus and the Bible. I have Jon and Living on a Prayer.
"Alright, for those of you who are STILL sitting," he paused, "I would like for you all to stand for our national anthem." The crowd rose to its feet. I 100% expected him to actually sing the national anthem. Instead Jon and Richie played the first few chords of Wanted Dead or Alive. I can only use the word "haunting" to describe this song. And that is when it is being played off of the cd. To actually see and hear them playing this song live... it was a moment that I will carry with me forever, and one that my words could never do justice.
The song ended. The band said their goodbyes. The crowd, which had been extremely active and vocal all night, reached a new level of loud. Jon stopped walking off the stage and looked back at the crowd. Then he looked back at the other band members who were already off stage. "Do we have to leave?" The band followed Jon back out onto the stage. "Man this happens every night!" The band once again took their places and began to play. "Watch me dance!" Jon shook his butt and wiggled his hips causing all the girls to scream in approval. They played a rendition of Treat Her Right by George Thorogood. Jon went into the crowd, again, reaching to touch hands with his fans. When he had finally made his way to the back entrance where he first entered two and a half hours before, he turned and said, "Goodnight! That's all."
I numbly grabbed the things I had brought with me and attached myself to my sister so we wouldn't get separated.
Only my inability to speak and hear were evidence that I had just spent the last two and a half hours watching my idols.