When I was around 10-years-old, I was obsessed with Bon Jovi. I would listen to “Slippery When Wet” over and over again, rewinding the tape after every line and writing down the lyric so I could learn all of the words to their songs. When they went on tour, I uncharacteristically asked my mom if I could go to their concert at the Meadowlands. I had never even dreamed of going to any sort of concert before, and my mother was not the kind of parent who would let her child go to one. Somehow, however, I found myself dialing the rotary phone in our Brooklyn kitchen over and over again, trying to get through to Ticketmaster to buy tickets. In my memory, my mother had given me permission to go. In hindsight, I can’t see how that possibly could have happened, so we’ll just leave that one up in the air, right Mom? Okay.
Needless to say, I never got through to Ticketmaster, the show sold out in minutes, and I didn’t get to see Bon Jovi. After that, I didn’t even try to go to another concert until after I graduated from college. Not getting to see Bon Jovi was one of those missed opportunities from my childhood; it was the first big thing I tried to do by myself and for myself, and it hadn’t worked out.
Until this past Saturday night.
Two friends of mine went to see Bon Jovi with me at the Tacoma Dome on Saturday. Finally, after more than twenty years, I was going to see my childhood idol in concert. I was moderately to severely excited. From start to finish, it was quite the time.
We got there when the doors opened, and after a mere hour and a half of sitting around, BON JOVI CAME ON STAGE. Well, a little bit of Bon Jovi came on stage. Jon was there, of course, and David, the keyboardist. Tico was out because he had just had surgery and Richie got kicked off the tour. But you know what? I WILL FUCKING TAKE IT.
People, I was in heaven. Me and every other 30-something and 40-something mom and dad in the Seattle/Tacoma area rocked the hell out to Bon Jovi that night. He did the big hits that had us pounding our fists in the air and screaming, and he did the new stuff that had us swaying hesitantly and mumbling word-like noises.
I would also like to say that I have not been around so many sloppy drunks in a really long time. It was tragic in a fantastic kind of way. I saw two grown women have a fight about whether or not one of them was going to put her shoes back on. I saw people being held up by their friends. I saw a woman who was so drunk she was walking like a marionette, and that is a moment I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Now, here is a little video of Jon and I singing “You Give Love a Bad Name.” I apologize for the quality — we had very little rehearsal time and I completely spaced on my vocal warm-ups.
I have one observation on the current state of Jon Bon Jovi: the man has teeth so white, if they fell out in the snow he would never find them again. When he smiled, and the spotlight hit those choppers, they produced a light so piercing that they could have blinded pilots and sent vampires scurrying underground. Despite the teeth, however, the man sounds exactly as he did in the eighties. Dude hit all the notes and is clearly not someone whose voice was manufactured in the studio. Oh, Bon Jovi, you are a golden god. Now let’s practice smiling with our lips closed. It’s for safety.
Did I tear up during the show? Maybe a little bit. But not till the very end when he finally played my jam. Throughout the concert I was waiting for “Living on a Prayer.” Then he was all, “Good night!” And I was all, “Fuck that! I am going to sit right here until I get my ‘Living on a Prayer.’” So he came back for an encore (because he knew…he could sense my displeasure and my ability to hold a grudge), played three more songs, and then FINALLY did “Living on a Prayer.” It was the last song of the night.
And I got teary. It was perfect.
So I have finally seen Bon Jovi in concert. I can cross it off the list. Now I just need to get Def Leppard and Whitesnake back together, and my work here will be complete.
Oh, and I want to send a shout-out to this guy, who was sitting in the row behind us at the show. Thank you, sir, for kicking so much ass. There’s a special place in my heart for people who keep life ridiculous.