So, with that wee bit of emotional unloading, on to last night's review!!
It was, in a word, amazing. I had SO much fun jumping and singing and dancing - everything seemed to be going for me last night: Sandra, Debbie, Michelle and I basically got a free dinner of snacks before the show, and the merchandise I wanted was on sale, so this struggling college student's bank account was very happy. LOL. I was told at first that I couldn't bring my sign in (see below), but the security guard who was called to escort me to the main desk ended up giving in, telling us she "knew nothing", wished me a happy 21st birthday, and left, pretending she'd never seen a thing. I could have kissed her!
Then, the people in my row were all friendly, animated, excited women (not drunks or tall men!) and the women in FRONT of me were short, so I could see! LOL. (Believe me, that's a huge upside for me after my nightmarish viewing problems in Anaheim.) And to top it all off, I was 8th row - the closest all tour, and hardly 3 rows from the catwalk. It was one of those nights where my stomach was a jumble of nerves, my hands and legs were shaking, and my heart was in my throat - I was SO excited.
So, I had a clear view, great company, and a soaring heart when the band took the stage for the last show in California, and I was determined to make that last night one to remember. The music was fantastic, and the guys were in great spirits.
They powered through the standard opening songs - Blood On Blood, We Weren't Born To Follow, and Bad Name (I didn't even have to reference the setlist for that, by the way), before switching to one of the two options they've had all tour: Whole Lot of Leaving instead of BTBMB right away. But the crowd was on their feet, clapping and punching the air, and the sight of everyone up to the ceiling doing the same thing in unison sent chills up my spine again.
Jon was playful again, prompting us to "rise out of your seats, I got a fuckin' show to run!" and the whole venue exploded in screams and cheers. After the second song, he introduced himself: "Hello Los Angeles, my name is Jon Bon Jovi, and I am here on business tonight!" Later on in the show, he started talking about how he felt strong (I think this was during Bad Medicine?) and he goes, "I'm strong. I look strong, I feel strong." then he looked at Richie and said, "You look handsome (jabs at his chest) but I look strong!" Then he warned us that he was just getting started, we'd be tired by the end of the night, and that we'd better prepare ourselves (he was "priming" us) because "I'm a marathon man, and I'm gonna go all night!" And when he raised his arms above his head and swayed his hips at the mic, I think my eardrum popped from all the female screaming (mine included).
And of course, the Bad Case of Loving You bit is always fun - Jon pretends to fish around for a "jukebox classic", asking Richie, Tico, and David in turn what they think they should play, then finally, lo and behold! Bobby has a great idea! "What about Bad Case of Loving You, Jon?" "Oh!" says Jon, "Great idea, Bobby!" And the two of them strut over to the mic and belt out "Docta, docta, gimme the blues, I gotta...bad case of lovin' you!" And then Richie joins them, they sing together, Jon wraps his arms around each of their shoulders, then they back away to the drumstand, Richie plucking a riff on the guitar, Jon shakes his sweaty hair out of his face, rubs his face vigorously, gets "ready", then the three of them saunter toward the crowd on bent knees, and make everyone swoon. LOL I know the routine by heart now, but it's still fun!
Richie KILLED on Homebound Train again (although I'm so annoyed with the beer-drinkers, seat-takers, and bathroom-goers when he takes stage!!) and thanked Los Angeles, welcoming us with "I call this place home, so the Homebound Train is taking me home, too." And commence explosion of cheers.
Two of my friends, Marissa and Michelle, were in the pit last night, and they had a FANTASTIC time -- Marissa hugged Jon and Michelle kissed his freaking hand when he came through the pit during Love's the Only Rule! I am SO HAPPY for them, and wildly wishing I were in the pit too, LOL. If you know either of these ladies, ask them about it - they're still on Cloud 9 and eager to share their wonderful moments. :)
My own moment was...well, not exactly what I'd hope it would be, but I'm trying not to be crushed about it or anything. I had that sign for my 21st birthday (thank you all, by the way, for the kind b-day wishes on Twitter, but my actual birthday is March 30! This was just my present, and part of my celebration. :)) I told all the girls around me that I had a sign, was planning on holding it up briefly during the catwalk segment when they could actually see it, and if it bothered them to please let me know. They were all SO sweet and supportive, so I didn't feel so guilty raising it when Jon and Richie were on the catwalk for I'll Be There For You. Unfortunately, I was so far toward the opposite aisle on Bobby's side that only Richie was facing my side, while Jon was facing straight out center. But the people around me, far from agreeing with me that I should give it up, kept pushing me to hold it up, and the girl behind me was so excited for me that she literally hauled me up ON MY CHAIR and lifted my arms for me so that I was a glaring spotlight in the crowd! I could have DIED - I felt like I was on stage and all eyes were on me - but I stared determinedly at Jon and willed him to see my sign.
I held it high above my head and waved it slightly, and he SAW IT. My heart skipped a beat as he leaned forward, his eyes narrowed, trying to figure out what it said, and it felt like an eternity (although probably only 3 seconds) while he tried to read it and apparently gave up...because I didn't get a kiss or even a smile! I was slightly taken aback, but everyone insisted I try again, so the next time he looked, I waved it again. He smiled sort of half-heartedly and then took his eyes off the sign and ignored it to look around at the crowd behind me, and I decided it was a lost cause, lol. Looking back on it, I truly think he didn't understand what it said, but at least he saw me (and Sandra and Debbie, 8 rows behind me and a section over saw me!) and everyone around me had been so supportive. I thanked them all and quickly folded up the sign, slightly embarrassed and crestfallen, but honestly, I didn't expect a real kiss anyway!
David made up for it a bit though, when he and Teek joined Jon and Richie onstage. I got another smile/eyebrow waggle from him and we "sang" to each other again...as much as you can when you're in the crowd and he's on stage. ;) It helps when everyone else is vying for Jon's attention!
After that, I had to literally force myself to enjoy the show - not that I wasn't enjoying it, but I refused to let that slight disappointment ruin my evening. So I promptly forgot about my sign, and poured my energy and heart into the songs pounding through my veins. I was rewarded, too, because Jon's high voltage personality mixed with Richie's all-out making love to the guitar, Tico's relentless pounding on the drums, and David's flying fingers on the keyboard gave us one HELL of a workout.
When they started Love's the Only Rule, my heart skipped a beat. It was almost over, and I had precious little time to soak up as much as I could to take with me until the next time I see them live again. As if to intensify my enjoyment of that song in general, Jon seemed to read my mind...and DESTROYED me with it. I can't even begin to tell you how beautiful it was - the raw passion etched in every line of his face as he sank to his knees, flung his arms out in the air, swept the audience with imploring eyes, grimaced with overwhelming emotion, and sang his heart out was more than I could stand. I stood there in awe, my hands raised high, singing along with him, my heart so full it could have burst, the lyrics I hold so closely echoing in my ears and mind, filling my soul and renewing my sense of hope. I was surrounded by "brothers and sisters" in the Jovi world, and yet completely alone at the same time, just me, standing in that arena, no one else but the band on stage, lost in their music-making - and in Jon's case, a bit of love-making as well.
The inserts of "hallelujah" (not the Leonard Cohen song) in that song are perfect, and make it even more beautiful live than on CD. The place is just flooded with music and passion, hope and faith, life and love...they spill out from every chord, every crescendoing note. If you haven't seen them this tour yet, you are in for one hell of a treat, and an emotional roller coaster that will sweep you up to another world for the last 10 minutes of the show and leave you flying.
When the song ended, and Jon disappeared below stage, still crooning "hallelujah" and "whoa-oh-oh-oh" with the entire crowd, I literally had goosebumps on my arms and legs. The crowd started screaming and cheering for the encore, but I stood there numb, savoring the last ringing notes of the Love's The Only Rule in my ears.
The encore was another treat - we got four songs instead of three: Runaway was added before the standard Thorn In My Side, Wanted, and Prayer. Though I'm (almost) slightly tired of the last two, there's no denying how powerful it is to hear the ENTIRE audience belting out the entire chorus by itself - no music, no accompaniment, just Jon thrusting his mic stand out toward us - and sing every single word in PERFECT unison. I was smiling so big at how beautifully we did it - there's an unspoken message in that you just can't help but love! And Jon grinned like his face would split in two, shaking his head and saying, "There ain't NOTHING better than that."
The show ended with several bows, a bit of playing around onstage, and whole hell of a lot of applause. I was trying so hard to get a good bow picture that I didn't applaud - and when they disappeared below stage I felt a sudden pang of guilt for not cheering for them! LOL oh well, it's not like I didn't do it the last two times, or even during the show.
All in all, a wonderful time was had by all, and I am SO grateful to everyone who made these three shows possible for me. They are my release from reality and the struggles I've been dealing with constantly for awhile now, and I can never fully explain how much I love seeing Bon Jovi live.
I hope all of you who have upcoming show enjoy the hell out of them - make the most of every minute, because when they're over, coming down from Cloud 9 is not easy. ;)
What a wonderful ride this Bon Jovi train takes us on, eh? There's truly nothing like it!
FULL SET LIST:
Blood On Blood
We Weren't Born To Follow
Whole Lot of Leaving
Born To Be My Baby
When We Were Beautiful
We Got It Going On
Bad Medicine/Bad Case of Loving You
It's My Life
Homebound Train (Richie VOX)
I'll Be There For You (duet on catwalk)
Something For the Pain (catwalk acoustic)
Someday I'l Be Saturday Night (catwalk acoustic)
Keep the Faith
Work For the Working Man
Who Says You Can't Go Home
Love's the Only Rule
Thorn In My Side
Wanted Dead or Alive
Livin' On A Prayer
*** By the way, if anyone finds video of I'll Be There For You and/or Something For the Pain with the crowd (to the band's left) PLEASE let me know! I want to see if I'm on there ;)