Time Flies When You’re Loving Bon Jovi
April 8, 2009
So, who here remembers exactly where they were 20 years ago? April 8, 1989 at 9:00 p.m. Anyone? I do……..this is the exact date of my first Bon Jovi live show.
I remember very vividly watching Dial MTV and going ga-ga over Jon Bon Jovi in the presence of my mom’s best friend. She told me that the band was coming to Carbondale, IL , about 2 hours north of us, soon and that if my mom would allow, she was planning to take me. The previous Christmas I, along with every other kind in America, had gotten the New Jersey album, on vinyl, and the Christmas before that I had gotten my first Jovi album, Sllippery When Wet. I considered myself a fan and was excited about not only seeing Bon Jovi, but witnessing my first “real” concert.
My mom graciously allowed me to go, and to pay for my ticket, which was good because being the ripe ol’ age of 11 my only income up to that point came from my weekly $1 allowance and the tooth fairy, and I’m quite sure I had all my permanent teeth by then. She and her friend even travelled to the venue to wait in line for tickets on the on-sale day. I was on pins and needles waiting for them to get home with the tickets. I spent the day listening to local rock station’s DJ’s promoting the show, and day dreaming of my mom and her friend returning with front row seats.
Once the tickets were secured, it seemed to take forever for Saturday, April 8 to roll around. I became even more estatic when MTV declared Sunday April 9, “Bon Jovi Sunday”. It would be a complete Jovi-weekend.
The morning of the show I was estatic, and after getting a fresh new haircut, as well as t-shirt money and earplugs from my parents (only one of which would be utilized), we were Carbondale-bound.
After arriving at the venue, we were warned by a parking lot preacher of the dangers of listening to the devil’s music and being told we were going to hell if we went inside, we took our chances and entered anyways. And after purchasing a white tee with Jon’s pic on the front and the tour dates on the back, (ear plugs, I don’t need no stinkin’ ear plugs, we took our seats. Although the ticket stub was misplaced years ago, I still recall that they were in Section G Row 13. For my fellow Jovi fans they were on Alec’s side on the first set of risers, 13 rows up. Excellent seats, with a great view of the catwalk where Jon came out into the crowd. After suffering through * the opening act, Skid Row, it was finally time for Jon and the boys to hit the stage.
The lights went down and the crowd came up, out of their seats. The guys began playing, “Lay Your Hands On Me”, but Jon was nowhere to be seen. Finally, he popped up out of the stage, in a blast of pyro, just like in the video. For the next 2 hours the guys gave the crowd $18.50 worth and then some, playing all the hits, and getting closer to the fans in the back by spending alot of time on the catwalk.
The passing of 2o years have blurred the details of that night. I can’t remember what the guys wore, the order of the setlist, or what obscure or cover tunes were performed, however, I will always remember the event that made me more than a fan, converting me to membership in Johnny’s church of rock and roll.
In the 20 years since that night alot has happened. Jon and I have both gotten married. “Cheap” Jovi tickets are now $120, rather than $20 for great seats, and are secured via the internet rather than at the venue. The members of the band probably wouldn’t stop in Carbondale to take a piss now. For my first Jovi experience I couldn’t drive, later I would transport myself to the shows in Missouri, Ohio, and Kansas in my green Grand Am. Now days I venture no further than Nashville in my trusty minivan. (For anything further I rent a car). My mom, remembering how tight money is with 2 little ones, still gives me souvenier money when I go to a show, and I still have that first Jovi shirt, now way too small, and threadbare from the years of washing it endured back in the 80’s and 90’s. It will always have a place of honor in my Bon Jovi collection. Yes, alot has definitely changed in 20 years, but I think it’s now safe to say that my “obsession” never will.
*No offense to the Skids. I actually ended up really liking them a few months later, just didn’t care for them much in the moment.