It’s been a few years since I saw Bon Jovi in concert for the first time. Somehow it doesn’t feel that long.
Johannesburg, South Africa: May 11, 2013…
The day started at 2am. Why so early? Because I wasn’t taking any chances as far as location inside the venue was concerned, as it was standing room only inside the Golden Circle section.
My friends and I waited in line for just over 17 hours to ensure a prime position in the front row. It was freezing cold, uncomfortable and it rained, but we did it. Center stage!
There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush you get when your hands hit the front row barricade. It’s a combination of relief, exhilaration and happiness. And that was before the concert even started.
I remember thinking that the only way anyone would get me to move was if they pried my cold, dead fingers off the barricade. Probably a little dramatic but, whatever. Its Bon Jovi, dramatic is allowed.
I still remember everything like it happened 5 minutes ago.
I remember the heart stopping moment when the stadium lights were turned down, and David, Tico, Hugh, Bobby and Phil took the stage.
Then the music started and Jon walked out…
I can honestly say that I’ve never understood the true meaning of the word “surreal” until that moment. He was right there, in person and I never took my eyes of off him for the entire 3 hour and 7 minute set.
Every song was performed with an energy and enthusiasm from the band like it was their first show too. Old songs, new songs, the Jukebox covers. The fans loved every second of it, and the band loved us.
The Johannesburg show was the first time Jon asked a crowd to turn on the little lights on their phones during “Wanted”.
“I think I’ve died and gone to heaven”, he said.
Almost true Jon… That WAS heaven!
The other special moments were Jon and his “Keep the Faith” maracas, Jon attaching our country’s flag to his guitar, the way the ground seemed to shake with the driving bass line and drum intro for “We Got It Going On”, and the incredible acoustic intro to “Livin’ On A Prayer”.
Not forgetting the intensity with which Jon sang “You Want To Make A Memory”, “Bed Of Roses”, and especially his teary-eyed performance of “Always”. During those songs I realized that its possible to become so enamored with Jon’s singing that you fall completely silent, with tear-filled eyes, forget to breathe, and only snap out of it when the song ends.
The entire show was incredible, but in my memories a few personal moments shine brighter than others.
First was the amused smile from David when my friend and I screamed during the opening bars of “In These Arms”.
The second was every smile I got from Jon. His eyes are so incredibly blue. Its amazing that I remembered to keep breathing when we made eye contact.
But most of all I remember Jon…
His smile, his hair, his voice, his incredible blue eyes, the way, the moved, the sweat running down his neck, even the way his clothes fit.
I’ve committed it all to memory, memories that will last a lifetime.
On behalf of every Bon Jovi fan in South Africa, I want to say thank you.
Thank you to Jon, Dave, Tico, Hugh, Bobby and Phil for an amazing show in Johannesburg.
You made a lot of dreams come true that night.
Bon Jovi is timeless, true legends…
Jon makes you feel like he’s singing just for you, even when you’re sharing him with approximately 70,000 other fans.
Jon, I fell in love with you all over again that night.
It was a night I will never forget.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Come back soon…