Flavor rating: BANANA SPLIT
WHERE do I even begin?
How about with this: that was the BEST. DAMN. SHOW. I'VE. EVER. SEEN.
I mean that. I was all sorts of crazy when I was three people away from the stage in Vegas last year, and on top of the world when Jon saw my birthday sign from 4th row in Los Angeles on the LH tour, but THIS. This final (May) night at New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey (Bon Jovi Land) was absolutely the BEST show I have ever been to in my life.
The energy, the fans, the VIEW, the setlist...everything was to die for. I had absolutely no complaints about my seat (and definitely prefer pit - for many reasons - but particularly because the stage is higher than you, so you aren't blocked by the people in front of you!) and even though the people next to me sat down for the ENTIRE show, that just gave me more elbow room.
I don't know where to even begin to review this show, so let me just start from the beginning: when the band opened with Who Says You Can't Go Home, I knew we were in for a killer night. I'm the first to scream "It's NOT all right!" and "I DO!" in response to "Who says you can't go home?" but tonight it was kind of fun to open with a surprise. From there, they played the standard Follow and Bad Name, but I enjoyed them immensely because of the sheer energy in the pit -- EVERYONE (except the nerds next to me) had their arms in the air, swaying and dancing and having a blast.
Then they played IN THESE ARMS, barely four songs in, and I cried -- that's my favorite song ever, and I haven't heard it since the HAND tour! It was beautiful, and Jon's emotion with those lyrics always slays me. I got beeeeauuutiful pictures, if I might be so bold to confess -- I was VERY pleased with the lighting and angles tonight. Every damn picture came out clear! (Okay, ALMOST every one...)
They played Just Older, and then the fun songs -- We Got It Goin' On and Raise Your Hands, which had the entire pit on their feet and hands in my face from every direction. I didn't mind -- Raise Your Hands is my name, after all! ;) I was already sweating by the time they slowed things down and I was able to rehearse with Jon, practically word for word, the monologue about a 'WE generation' (honestly, it was moving the first time in February, but now it's just old lol)
Then Superman (a fave) and CAPTAIN CRASH again!! I swung my arms the entire time this time, and they drew out the last part of the song so long I thought my arms would fall off, but I trooped through it!
The set was normal until Jon arrived on the catwalk and began the chords to Living In Sin -- then I died. While Richie was singing Lay Your Hands On Me, a lot of people swarmed to the back of the pit by the catwalk, where the security guards told us to go BACK to our seats?! I was surprised, because people were at the catwalk at every single show I've been to on this tour. Of course some were able to sneak past them, but I was almost literally ushered back to my seat by a guard, and in a way I was glad - I didn't want to deal with pushing and shoving and screaming women looking at Jon's ass. And I was bummed I missed half of Richie's solo song (even though he sang the same song all three nights), so I was content to return to my seat.
When Jon arrived on the platform, though, all bets were off. Security gave up for the most part and people attacked the catwalk, but of course, again, I got stuck behind a guard who would NOT LET ME stand up against the catwalk so I could reach for Richie when he walked by. Some woman snuck in between the guard and me, though, and sidled up to the catwalk just in time to reach for his hand when he came by, and he grabbed it. I was irritated because the guard had specifically kept me from doing that and this woman was allowed to...but I let it go quickly. It wasn't worth it to me to let my entire show be ruined by that tiny mishap. I was having such a damn good time otherwise!
Living In Sin was beautiful, and then the band joined Jon for Something For the Pain (after Richie joined him for IBTFY). I was surprised when Tico and Dave left after Pain, and Richie stayed...but then they started DIAMOND RING! "A request for those of you who have been here all three nights"...I don't know who requested it, but thank you! I got the song on video, too, but I'm sorry to say the audio is probably pretty crappy because people wouldn't SHUT UP around me. They were carrying on conversations like it was a friggin tea party -- never mind the BAND standing ten feet from them!! So needless to say, I was a little annoyed again. ;)
I got run over trying to get back to my seat -- the only thing I don't like about pit. Calm down, people, seriously...the band hasn't even gotten back to the stage yet, you're not going to miss them! But the sitting ducks next to me had left when I got back, so I had tons of room to move around = bonus!
Bad Medicine had no insert in it tonight, but Sleep When I'm Dead had a new surprise -- Jumpin Jack Flash! I recorded that for my boyfriend's Rolling Stones-adoring mom, whom I also happen to adore. Can't wait to show her when I see her next week!
And the surprises weren't over -- I'd Die For You came next, which was VERY cool to hear live. Then a standard ending -- although Keep the Faith with the fireworks is still friggin awesome to me.
I think I was grinning the entire show (minus being smooshed by people and losing a Richie moment thanks to O'Grumpy Security) and when the band left the stage and the lights went down, I was a little sad the encore was the only thing left. But I was excited for what was in store -- which turned out to be Dry County again!! On Wednesday, I totally thought Jon strained too much on that song, and I even winced as he tried to belt out everything he had into those high notes. But tonight, I felt like he did a much better job because it sounded fantastic -- or maybe I just didn't notice the straining because I was too busy watching him sweat up close. ;)
Wanted and Prayer are standard, givens, normal endings, but they were INCREDIBLE tonight. I shut off my camera purposely and made myself enjoy every ounce of those songs -- the crowd on its feet, every single hand in the air in the pit, Jon's overwhelmed smile as he watched us silently, and the sound of 85,000 voices rising into the New Jersey night sky, singing the same chorus. I hope New York could hear us -- I wish CALIFORNIA could hear us -- as we sang in unison and goosebumps literally crawled up my arms. You can hear those songs a thousand times, but when you're surrounded by tens of thousands of people there for the same reason, with the same love in their hearts, singing the same lyrics that they learned somehow, in their own individual lives, and you're suddenly brought together under one roof -- or sky -- there is NOTHING like it.
And being in the pit? I can't even describe the excitement to you unless you've been in there -- the atmosphere is just amazing. It's charged with electricity, with anticipation, with joy and passion...it just radiates from every body in there. I truly enjoyed every minute, and would do it again in a heartbeat.
The show ended with me flying high above the stadium on cloud 9 -- clapping and screaming and cheering for my favorite men onstage, not wanting them to disappear below it, but to stay there and rock all night long. Sweat was pouring into my eyes, my feet were numb, my arms exhausted, my throat parched, but my heart was full to bursting and my spirits soaring.
I truly had the BEST time tonight, and rank it as one of my favorite experiences of all time...and it was by far the best show I've ever seen. THANK YOU to my parents, my uncle, and my boyfriend for making my dreams come true. THANK YOU to my friends, especially JENN over here for doing so much for me and giving me a place to stay, and THANK YOU Bon Jovi, for giving this California girl a night to remember -- one I will cherish, always.
Full setlist from tonight:
Who Says You Can't Go Home
We Weren't Born To Follow
You Give Love a Bad Name
In These Arms
Born To Be My Baby
We Got It Goin' On
Raise Your Hands
When We Were Beautiful
Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars
It's My Life
Love's The Only Rule
Lay Your Hands On Me (Richie Vox)
Livin' in Sin/Chapel of Love
I'll Be There For You
Something For The Pain
Sleep When I'm Dead/Jumpin' Jack Flash
I'd Die For You
Work for the Working Man
Someday I'll Be Saturday Night
Keep The Faith
Wanted Dead or Alive
Livin' on a Prayer
Diamond Ring video:
Jumpin' Jack Flash video coming soon
See pictures HERE