The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

AKA The Day I Went For A Bon Jovi Concert

This is a true story.


One by one, the band members walked on stage and we all went crazy! The whole stadium - each and every one of us - were on our feet, hands waving and screaming our lungs off. The whole atmosphere was electric - over 20,000 people, all of them howling in unconstrained excitement. Caroline was soooo right, and I knew the night was going to be awesome!

Bon Jovi sure didn't waste any time settling in. As soon as they walked on stage, we were greeted not by hellos or good evenings, but by the most rousing rendition of You Give Love A Bad Name I have ever heard. Is there any better song to open with? We were on our feet, singing along...and I should've known then that I (or anyone else in the stadium) wouldn't be sitting down for the rest of the evening.

I think after the first two or three songs, Bon Jovi finally spoke and wished us a good evening. But the most incredible thing he said all evening followed the greeting - what he said was:
"I'm not gonna talk too much. You paid good money to see me shake my ass and sing, so let's get down to it!"
Yes, he actually said that, and then he drove us mad all over again by not just singing, but shaking his ass as well. Repeatedly. If you weren't there, be jealous. Be very jealous. Very, very, very jealous. Because he was fabulous!!!!!!

The energy that man has is unbelievable. The band went on for over 2 1/2 hours - and had the crowd going from the word go. No pyrotechnics, no scantily clad chorus dancers...just a couple of 40-plus guys singing their hearts out. Every penny spent on this concert was so totally worth it!

Some of the songs, especially a few off The Circle got a few introductory words by Bon Jovi, and he just seemed to earth. The album is essentially a working (or unemployed) man's album, much like Crush was about teenage angst. And for all his success and money, Bon Jovi showed that he still hadn't lost touch with the common man, when he told the audience that in these trying times, the most important decisions are made at the kitchen table, and asked us to make sure that love remained the driving force behind those decisions. The crowd kept cheering (the only time the Montreal crowd stopped cheering was either to sing along or to chant), but to me, what he said then remained the most touching, incredible moment of the whole concert.

When Bon Jovi asked 'Is there a doctor in the house?', I knew that I must have died and gone to heaven. I was at a Bon Jovi concert and they were going to play Bad Medicine! It is perhaps my favouritest Bon Jovi number, and also the first Bon Jovi song I ever heard. The performance of Bad Medicine was everything people had said it would be. And then some. The evening just seemed to get better and better and better. Pure, unadulterated bliss.

As a thank you to their legion of fans, a few songs featured a medley of video clips created by the fans themselves, and I was almost convinced that my next purchase should be a camcorder. Almost.

Somewhere towards the middle of the concert, we were given acoustic versions of Something for the Pain and Someday I'll Be Saturday Night, as well Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. I had only ever heard the Bon Jovi version, though I knew that it was a Leonard Cohen cover. The song holds personal meaning to me, so I was ecstatic that they chose to play it, but the Montreal crowd were beyond ecstatic (what with Leonard Cohen hailing from Montreal and all).

Did I mention that the whole damn show was beyond awesome? Because I cannot repeat myself enough : Bon Jovi was spectacular x awesome x the power of infinity.

We even got a Richie Sambora song - his guitar solos were fantastic in and of themselves, but to I thought it was even more special to hear him sing lead on Homebound Train.

Along the way, Bon Jovi actually walked through the front row during a song, and not only did he pose for photographers, he actually kissed one of the women there. I think every women at the Bell Centre screamed in unison at that!

The audience was eating out of Bon Jovi's palm - if they had started singing Mary Had a Little Lamb, I guarantee you that the crowd would have been singing along to that as well. The band was magnificent - it is no mean feat to have a crowd of 20,000 plus - of varying age groups - on their feet, clapping, cheering and singing for over two hours. I am not exaggerating - the crowd was whipped!

When the band bid us good night, the crowd didn't even wait for them to walk off stage for the chant for an encore to start. We chanted, and the band obliged us with three more songs. It was as if we knew, because the entire crowd started singing Living on a Prayer all on their own, prompting Bon Jovi to ask "What are we, in New Jersey?". I don't think that there is a bigger compliment you could give a Bon Jovi fan, let alone a stadium full of them.

At the end of Runaway (I think), Bon Jovi had a small conversation with an 11 year old boy (who was lucky enough to be seated in the front row). He asked the kid how old he was, and when the boy said 11 years old, the band wondered aloud as to how old the song and came up with the answer - 28 years old. Remarked Bon Jovi "I like it. My fans are getting younger and I'm getting older." There was a little more banter where he made that 11 year old boy feel like king of the world, and then the songs continued. I wouldn't have minded being that boy.

When the band bid us a good night for a second time, I was sure that it was the end of the concert, but even after 2 1/2 hours, I had clearly underestimated the Montreal crowd. The chant for an encore (the second for the evening) went up almost immediately. The band looked as surprised as I felt (not that it stopped me from chanting right along with the rest of the crowd). And, unbelievably, Bon Jovi eventually obliged us with a second 2-song encore.

The third goodnight proved to be the final one for the evening, though I think we screamed and clapped for a good ten minutes afterwards just to show how much we enjoyed the show (as if the band wouldn't have guessed by now!).

I somehow made my way back on to the Mega Bus, experiencing a high I'm sure that even the highest grade crystal meth couldn't induce. And that high remained with me for days. I kid you not.

This Bon Jovi concert was incredible. Amazing. Awesome. Spectacular. Fantastic. No adjective that I can come up with adequately describes the incredibleness that the concert was.

And I was lucky enough to be there.

To wrap up, the set list was as follows (not in order of performance) :
  • Blood on Blood
  • We Weren't Born to Follow
  • You Give Love a Bad Name
  • Whole Lot of Leavin'
  • Born to Be My Baby
  • Lost Highway
  • Have a Nice Day
  • Thorn In My Side
  • When We Were Beautiful
  • Superman Tonight
  • We Got It Going On
  • Bad Medicine
  • It's My Life
  • Homebound Train
  • Hallelujah
  • I'll Be There For You
  • Diamond Ring
  • Something for the Pain
  • Someday I'll Be Saturday Night
  • Keep the Faith
  • Work for the Working Man
  • Who Says You Can't Go Home
  • Love's the Only Rule
  • Runaway
  • I Love This Town
  • Wanted Dead or Alive
  • Livin' on a Prayer
  • Twist and Shout
  • Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars

In case my words have not done justice to Bon Jovi, maybe this video that was shot at the concert will give you some inkling as to how awesome the whole experience was.

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Be true to your heart, and true to your conscience.

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