Backstage With Bon Jovi
I just recently saw that Bon Jovi was one of the top grossing bands of 2010. That reminded me of my “relationship” with the band.The first time I saw Bon Jovi in concert was in 1984 at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine. The big song they had on the radio was “Runaway” and they really were just in the infant stage of their career. They were actually the Opening Act for the Scorpions at this time.
Flash forward 3 years later and these guys were selling out stadiums everywhere they played. You couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing one of their monster hits from “Slippery When Wet”; Living On A Prayer, You Give Love A Bad Name and Wanted Dead Or Alive.
Well, at this time, I was working in Utica, New York and we had been doing a lot of ticket giveaways to see the Jersey boys at various stops on their tour. Madison Square Garden, a place in Philly, two shows in Boston and one on New Year’s Eve at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
As an on air talent, it was my job to escort the different winners to these various shows. Needless to say, by the New Year’s Eve show, I had seen the “Slippery When Wet Tour” about 5 or 6 times and it had happened over the course of 2-3 weeks. Personally, I was Bon Jovi’ed out. But, who’d pass up a New Year’s Eve concert where at one point, right before midnight, MTV would cut to the concert and the group would do one song live after the ball dropped.
Also by this time, I had figured out their set-list and even new the “patter” that Jon would do in between the songs. Things like; “you’ve been the greatest crowd on this whole tour”, or “we’ve been on the road along time-sorta like lone cowboys discovering the new frontier”. This little nugget would proceed them going into “Wanted Dead Or Alive”.
Midway through the show at the Meadowlands, I headed out where they were selling t-shirts and other merchandise and just sat down and leaned back against the wall. One of the guys selling shirts asked me why I was sitting there-not enjoying the show? I told him I’d seen it enough times already and began to recite the next words out of Jon’s mouth to transition from the current song to the next.
The song ended, the crowd went nuts and then Jon starting talking to the crowd, using pretty much the exact words I had just spoken to the t-shirt guy.
He smiled apologetically and without missing a beat said, “you want a free shirt”?