April 20, 2011

Buenos Aires review (The Circle Tour)

My sincere apologies to Florencia, whom I told about a month ago that I would post this review she so kindly sent me of the Buenos Aires show in Argentina last October. Between my own Jovi shows and trips, midterms, projects, and papers, then spring break, vacation with my boyfriend, and taking time off to give my brain a break, I have completely lost track of things. I haven't even updated this blog with some of the recent events happening on Jovi land - although, not to fear, there hasn't been much since the boys are on break.

Anyway, I truly apologize because I'm sure she's been looking forward to seeing this posted. Please enjoy her great review of a historic concert in a land Bon Jovi had previously ignored for years!

BON JOVI IN – THE CIRCLE TOUR – BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - OCTOBER 3RD, 2010
By: Florencia

The excitement that was for me that day can only be explained starting from the very beginning. The first time they came to Buenos Aires (that is, that I experienced being a fan) I was 14 years old and NO WAY my dad would let me travel from my 100.000 inhabitants hometown to the 10 mill plus inhabitants metropolis that is Buenos Aires, so that time I had to settle with watching DVDs of live shows (I woke up 3 in the morning to watch reruns of “An evening with Bon Jovi” on cable).

Then this year, since they hadn’t really come down here for over a decade (and those times they did, it was as part of mammoth tours as the Slippery when wet tour and the These Days tour), and being The Circle not such a successful record, I had given up hope on them EVER coming back again, so I kept praying for one of my trips overseas to land somewhere near somewhere they were playing (my transit through Heathrow coming from New Delhi on June 26th 2010 doesn’t count I guess, my schedule wouldn’t accommodate me staying that night in London and it was already sold out so I just cried over the newspaper that morning). Furthermore, on a video posted by Bon Jovi on Facebook, I could see Jon talking about how much they were looking forward to their shows in PerĂº, Brazil and Chile and I thought to myself “how come they are not coming to Buenos Aires??!!”, so I began to set my mind on traveling a little further to see them.

Then ONE DAY I got a text message from my brother announcing that Bon Jovi had confirmed a show in Buenos Aires, that he had seen that in such and such webpage. I couldn’t wrap my mind around that so I told my brother that no way, that there must have been a mistake (the Argentinean press is a little false-alarming sometimes), that the band had officially left out Buenos Aires as a show location, so it left me no other choice than to recur to Lord Google and his minions to clear up all doubts. I wrote “Bon Jovi Argentina Circle Tour” and Bam! There was already a page with all the details and I still thought it was a joke. The tickets were not going to be on sale until 3 weeks from that day, but I had to move quickly. A friend of mine told me to wait, cause he had heard that there was a buzz that they MAY be playing in Montevideo too (as Guns ‘n Roses had done) but I wouldn’t fall for that, worst case scenario I would see them in both cities. Enter my cousin that lives in Buenos Aires, poor him, I pestered him for the next three weeks not to forget that certain day at certain hour the tickets would be on sale online (don’t laugh, online payment in Uruguay is a little behind). Since I had also “bonjovized” my brothers since they were the tender age of 8, they AND their girlfriends were on for the ride too, so it made it sooooo much more exciting!. The day I got that text message is a day I will never forget (actually, I have pretty much forgotten everything except for that bit). Another memorable date was the day the tickets would come on sale, so early in the morning I had my cousin woken up and online for the ticket sales (and happily, he would be accompanying me too!! – so cool). When he finally sent me a “print screen” of the confirmation of the tickets I almost cried. It was surreal – I had just booked myself a date with Bon Jovi. I wanted to be as close to the stage as I could, without being left on the streets penniless, so we bought 2 center, 32-row tickets for me and my cousin and then my brothers and in-laws would be outside the center court since they didn’t need to be so close anyway, they like the band but are not actually “fans”. Let me tell you something about those 32-row tickets. Originally, as shown on the online ticket-purchase screen, there would be a catwalk that reached row 30, since they wouldn’t be using the “original” Circle Tour round stage, so I thought, well, two rows from the catwalk is not bad at all. I could get to the side of the catwalk in a minute. We’ll get to that topic later (I need to cool down to further talk about that).

I almost died when Jon was injured in one of the New Meadowlands Stadium and a drop of sweat ran down my face (it was a dark, cold winter where I was), but they announced no shows would be cancelled and Jon was OK (phew!). The month that passed between the tickets purchase and the day I left for Buenos Aires are just a blur of constant countdowns, and top tens, etc, as well as following every step that brought them closer to me. I relieved the last 17 years of my life EVERY NIGHT. Re-gazed at the pictures, re-listened everyone of their records for the zillionth time (well, those I could – my Destination Anywhere had a major scratch that ruined Janie don’t take your love to town), anyway, came out from my daily grind and more into the BJ world, it was like two universes would merge together, mine and theirs. I also thought a lot about the girl I was when I first began to like the band, how I enjoyed listening to every new song I heard when I went back to their 80’s albums, and how I expected each new album to come to my local CD store, or sometimes, tell the owner to PLEASE bring it to Salto, just for me (seriously, some records I have to buy in other cities). I thought about how that girl would be soooooo happy if it this had happened in her time. Then I realized I was a 29 year-old Architect living a 14-year-old-girl’s dream, and that made my life so much sweeter, actually LIVING a dream.
Then the last week came, and all I could think of was “God please don’t let me die before October 3rd” (enough said – I’m actually a active Buddhist). I panicked over the traffic, my health, the oven, the electric appliances, fearing my life would end before it fulfilled its clearer purpose so far: to see Bon Jovi live.
Then the day came.

After a 4 hour drive and a 3 hour boat trip, I finally arrived in Buenos Aires with an anxiety I had only felt on those crucial moments of my life (my first kiss, my graduation). I decided to go to my cousin’s house a couple of days earlier to the day of the show because I wanted to be well-rested and have time to prepare myself physically and mentally. I carried with me a suitcase weighing somewhere around 40 pounds (20 kilos aprox.). Filled with different groups of outfits and shoes, make up (I NEVER use makeup), perfumes, jewels, etc. As my cousin said: “Girl, if it was your wedding you wouldn’t spend so much time choosing your outfit!”. And that made me think, maybe it wasn’t my wedding, but it was kind of like a Baptism, I would now be a Bon Jovi fan that had actually seen them live (let me tell you, there’s enough few true Bon Jovi fans in Uruguay, let alone fans who have actually seen them live). And it was also like a date were I would meet the men of my dreams, and I HAD to dress to the occasion, they HAD to like me, and it could possibly be my only chance the way things were going (let’s be honest, how many more times would they come down here?).
Of course the night of the 2nd October I couldn’t close my eyes.

My brothers arrived the morning of the show and we strolled around Buenos Aires and had lunch in a nice restaurant (this was a special day). I liked it how they made me feel like I was on the day of my Sweet 16 party, they constantly asked me about how I felt and commented on stuff about the band. It was definitely a Bon Jovi day from the very start. It was also a beautiful day, the sun was mild and the temperature just right (it was springtime). I hoped for a little more heat so I could see some bicep action going on onstage :D. We passed by the hotel were they were staying and saw fans swarming around the gates (front AND back). My 14 year old inside begged me to stay with them, but that just wasn’t my thing, I would probably just see a nice car being photographed a lot.

I decided to take a nap, I was so nervous that lunch had landed in my stomach like a brick, and I wanted to be light as a feather and well-hydrated for the show, though not as much as to be concerned with toilet issues (the need to pee can ruin the most precious of moments LOL). I also made my final choice of garment: a black, light gray and gray striped long sleeved dress with a cool neckline and simple all-star snickers on my feet. I thought that I could just be who I was. Anyway the preparations were endless, I swear that I don’t do this much for actual dates. The ticket said the show would start at 5p.m. but I knew they wouldn’t play that early (again, don’t laugh, by this time I would be so nervous I was quite irrational). So we set off at 6pm (we were a 15-minute-walk away from the stadium). As we approached the venue, I felt pangs of panic, but why? Then I realized that somewhere in my twisted brain, the thought of a space-time continuum paradox happening that night was actually a real possibility. And I thought again, it was IMPOSSIBLE that I was going to see Bon Jovi, they weren’t real! They belonged to my dreamworld! Someone could have just as well told me I was going to meet Mickey Mouse and I would have felt the same way. How was that possible??!! Me? Being in the same time and space as Bon Jovi??!! No way!!!
And then we got in.

Everything ran smoothly…until we were shown our seats…and there was no catwalk to be found… My pangs of panic ran through me like cars in a high-speed chase, I swear my body produced chemicals it had never produced before. OMG, would I be stuck in center, row 32??!!. Thank God my cousin was there to calm me down, he had been to a lot of major artists shows before (the likes of Madonna) and he told me that once the show started seat numbers wouldn’t mean a thing. So I took a deep breathe and meditated a while, contemplating the fact that it was more important that I WAS there, and nobody was going to take that away from me, I had made it there, ALIVE. I would make my way next to the stage somehow, even if I had to grow a pair of wings to do it.

So the support band started playing and I had to keep reminding myself that it WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. They were there, somewhere behind those curtains. I could see myself from a bird’s view, there in row 32, and them, just 30 meters away…so close! I wanted to keep every frame, every sound, every smell in my memory. I had decided not to take pictures because I know I get distracted by them and I didn’t want to be worried of loosing my camera or wallet (I only brought the tickets with me, nothing more). Anyway my cousin had his Iphone at took some pics of us pre and during the show.
I just couldn’t believe seeing so many BJ fans together. Even most people there weren’t actually FANS, I was as excited as Spock reuniting with his fellow Vulcanians. There was every spieces: the pretty blonde girls with their pretty blonde friends with tight jeans and tight Bon Jovi tanktops, the somewhat gothic girls all dressed in black (me included) with or without T-shirt, women in their 40’s and 50’s with their teenage daughters, motorcycle-club dudes with Bon Jovi T-shirts and the sweetest of all – fathers with sons both with matching BJ T-shirts, among others. I was among comrades, safe and at home. My amazement is only explained by the fact that in Uruguay specially and Argentina in some way, Bon Jovi are regarded as something close to a boy band. It’s for girls, for teenage girls. And even with that assumption, it was hard for me to find a fellow fan to share my experience when I was a teenage girl. I only exchanged fan letters with a friend of an acquaintance, and a decade later with the daughter of one of mom’s coworkers. I made an online friend back in 1997, a Hungarian girl who I finally got to meet in Vienna in 2006 and we still keep in touch (I would be so jealous of her being able to go to so many BJ shows! But she would send me pictures and magazines). But that was about it. But seeing a BOY on the streets with a BJ T-shirt didn’t occur to me ever, not in my wildest dreams. He would be labeled gay for a starters, then laughed at and suffer “the social death”. My brothers only came out of the closet publicly when they were past their 20s (and in the case of one of them, he admitted to it on Facebook by making the cover of Lost Highway his profile picture). So seeing this man and his son moved me to my very core. The torch has passed.

Then the moment came, the sky was already dark, a crystal clear night with a bunch of stars visible, planes flying amazingly close to the higher grades (there’s an airport nearby) and the silence, and the deafening sound of 45000 people holding their breath (and now I’m crying as I write this). My cousin said “Thanks grandpa!” as he looked at the sky (our granddad had passed a few months before), the night was just perfect.
All the lights went out, and the screens showed their images approaching (as in the CD cover), and OMG, I saw the silhouettes of David and Tico taking their places and my brain sounding every space-time-paradox-about-to-happen alarm and the sudden explosion of 45000 people in one scream as the first chords of Blood on Blood filled our senses. Well, most of you know what I’m talking about: your brains just turn into mush, and you are all heart, and one with the band, united forever in the moment that FINALLY, your roads cross. I shouted and cried and shed my 30 year old Architect disguise and like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon, I became that 14 year old girl again. I screamed at the top of my lungs, damnit I won’t sit down Mr security guard! I hugged my cousin that was there to share that precious moment that would mark a different stage in my life (just as he was there the day I got my degree). He also knew many of the songs so we sang at each other and then hugged, and screamed, and I swear my neck somehow got like 2 inches longer!. I immediately tried to make it near the stage but there was actually a physical metal barrier that wouldn’t allow me to get nearer, and I sighed, but made the commitment of enjoying the show without worrying which row I was in. Anyway, I could feel me floating 4 feet in front of Jon, singing with him every precious piece of lyrics.

Suddenly, after that first song, Jon started talking with that delicious NJ accent, assuming (and he was right) that people would understand anyway, and he said he had the day off the next day so he was expecting to play for “a well three hours” and we all hurrayed to that, but immediately changed his expression and pointed that some people on the front row were being smashed against the metal barricades by a human avalanche that had come onto them as the show started, he said that these people were not having fun and he asked everybody to take two steps back, that he wasn’t going to play until everybody went two steps back, that he didn’t want anybody hurt in a BJ…and he waited, as I thought that damn! I would die right then if he decided to call off the show because people were too violent. I felt embarrassed, our date wasn’t going OK so far. It was like a guest coming to your house and the kids put a dead dove on his lap. After a few minutes he put his hands on his hips (like a vase) and asked the people on the front row if they were OK now, and apparently they were, cause they moved on to WWBTF. After the embarrassment wore off, I thought that anyhow it was very considerate of his to do that, he really cares about his audience. Then WWBTF (I don’t like it that much but anyway…), then for Bad Name all these people shouting at unison was so amazing. I know that all of you who have seen them many times are already bored by this, but for an old first-timer, it could have ended right there and I would have died a happy girl. I even sang to Lost Highway (which I didn’t appreciate much at that moment, though I have grown fonder of the record itself). When they played Captain Crash I was soooo thrilled! It’s such a fun song, and waving my arms in the air at the command of Jon’s guitar neck was just. So. Awesome. I was already sad it would end sometime in the next 2 and a half hours or so…

When they played Superman Tonight I thought I was going to die. I screamed so hard that my throat felt it was going to turn inside out and come out of my mouth, I twitched like a maniac with every chord. Just sublime. Of course I HAD to shout “Shake your money maker baby!” for We got it goin’ on. I was surprised at how thin he was. I had seen pictures from earlier shows and he looked “buffer” but now his pants didn’t meet his thighs poor baby he must be soooo exhausted. If I half closed my eyes all I could see was a black toothpick with a hairy blonde tip. Richie’s face looked a little bloated, I admit, but I’m sure it’s just something temporary…I was also surprised at how Tico, even if he is kind of “in the back” makes his presence so strong on stage, pounding those drums as if his life depended on it and David of course he’s so tall and he’s on a platform that you can’t miss him. For It’s my life, the chorus was just amazing, I wondered what it would be like to be outside the stadium listening to all those thousands of people shouting, it must give goosebumps (not that I WANTED to be outside, just wondered :D). I have to admit that Bad medicine had been long archived out of my playlists, it has such a density of sounds, and those keyboards could well be used as a torture method if played over and over for days on someone’s ears. But as Bon Jovi never ceases to amaze me, it turned out to be my favorite track of the night. As background they put this trash women silhouettes dancing over a red background and the music and everything it really felt I was at a party. We were having so much fun on our date!!

I was expecting to hear Richie’s version of I’ll be there for you but instead they played Lay your hands on me and I just love how he loves being a priest in the church of rock. Though I didn’t understand A WORD he said, I just laughed (surely it was something funny), he’s so cool. His voice has held up way much better than Jon’s, and I prefer it sometimes to Jon’s. I wish they did like The Beatles or Queen, whose main vocal was sometimes the guitarist and not the lead singer ALL THE TIME. Anyway, Richie fulfills all my fantasies of the boy with a guitar and more.

It shocked me that they played Blaze of glory, I wonder why they never play Richie’s songs…I was also shocked at how little songs from The Circle they played (only two out of 27 actually), this being a promotional tour, It got me thinking, but then I guess that since they haven’t been here for a while, they decided to do a kind of “Greatest hits” show, added to the fact that maybe it WAS a promotional tour, but of the Greatest Hits record…anyway…by this time, the distance between me and them had reduced to 20 meters.

When they did Runaway I was so proud of them, of my babies. 45.000 people singing Runaway as if it was their latest hits that had been number one on the charts for the last 3 weeks, it was so amazing. I wonder what it feels like when something you created more than a quarter of a century ago is still as appreciated as what you are doing right now, and I felt a kind of nostalgia, and a sudden sadness for their growing old and then a post-apocalyptic day when there is no Bon Jovi in the world (and I get teary-eyed again). I could imagine those 20-something year old boys from the 80’s coming to the future in the DeLorean and witnessing this, they probably wouldn’t believe (at least not to that extent). I was completely blown away by Jon’s guitar solo in Runaway, he looked so cool and so young. I could see nothing but a boy who loved rock and roll and play the guitar, that’s how honest I think he is.
But not everything was just going on my head, I jumped constantly since the first chords like I was rope jumping, and I wondered why my knees and calves hadn’t called it quits yet…how interesting.

When they left the stage for the first time my first wave of depression hit me. I turned my wide-eyed face all with my frown to my cousin looking for comfort, he laughed and said “you really think they are not coming back?” and as the very voice of sanity, he was right again.

They did come back and that was the moment when all the barriers went down and we stampeded towards the stage. I now sport a nice battle scar in my left ankle that was caused by my foot getting trapped as I walked on the metal barricades as my cousin (unaware of the fact) kept pulling my arm towards the stage. I didn’t want to get crushed so we grabbed two empty seats that have been left free by people that by now composed that huge mass of people covering the first 5 meters in front of the stage. Now I was about 7 or 10 meters away, with a privileged view (all the seats were free and there was nobody standing on the seats anywhere between me and the stage). This time Jon returned with a cute sleeveless red t-shirt (the one he was wearing the night he was injured) and his biceps were all out (yeah baby!). Again, I could double-check that he was extremely thin.

By they time they played Wanted dead or alive (my favorite BJ song) I was plain hysterical, I cried, I laughed, I jumped and hugged my cousin. As usual, they started the first riffs and this time (I guess because of all the excitement) people start singing earlier that it’s supposed, and though the atmosphere was just spectacular, we heard Jon’s “ssshhhhh” and just burst in laughter. That song just rocked my world. Then there was a boy with a Brazilian flag with the sign “If you have balls, play Dry County”, Jon looked at it, and then looked at Dave, and Riche kind of asking playfully “you think we can do it guys?”, they nodded and the first keyboard notes reached my ears and it was just so amazing. For the first minutes, with tears in my eyes. Anything I said about the guitar solo would not do justice to what actually happened. Sambora reduced us to a bunch of spellbound people, we could do nothing but let ourselves get carried away to the dessert and left there to die. I started to believe that the story of the Flute player of Hamelin could have actually been true. I believed in the snake-enchanters. I could believe in anything he would ask me to believe. If he asked me to believe he was God himself right then, I wouldn’t have proof to believe otherwise. Oh my boy with the guitar…

All my Bon Jovi life I had pictured myself in a show singing Livin’ on a prayer at the top of my lungs, and I proudly say I can take that off the wish-list. Dreams, as lame, ordinary and random as they may be, do come true. My cousin and I hugged and shouted and sang, and a guy behind us volunteered to take a picture of us with the stage as background. I laughed a lot at the montage they made of people singing Livin’ on a prayer in their rooms, with broomsticks and TV controls as microphones…it reminded of me!

There were these two girls that climbed on to the shoulders of a couple of guys and actually took their tops off!! (at least they were pretty girls, and had matching black bras LOL). The thing is that some weeks later I saw a video of them in youtube, meeting the band and the blonde one KISSED JON ON THE LIPS. Next time I’ll know what to do, mwuahahaha!!

They left again and when they came back for a SECOND encore, Jon was wearing the T-shirt of the Argentinean National Soccer Team, with Bon Jovi and the new logo on the back. I know Jon is a football guy but dam! he beats Beckam in a soccer outfit, so hot. This time they did These days, Have a nice day and Someday I’ll be Saturday night (I must have fainted there for a few seconds, it sounded so amazing and again, Jon’s voice right on the spot).

While they played These days, all I could do was pinch myself at the fact that I could almost read the “wanted” written on Jon’s tattoo. When they played Always (the song with which I realized I had actually fallen in love with them) I was just blown away, and call me subjective and forgiving, but Jon’s high notes were IN-TACT. We were in complete and absolute awe.

Unfortunately my cousin’s Iphone’s camera is not very good and the stage lights completely overtook the shot, but we took a pair of our perfect and close sight of the stage.

We were saying goodbye on the front yard of the house, and there was the kiss coming.
We all screamed and begged for more and Jon walked towards the exit with his eyes closed and his arms stretched in front of him like a zombie (meaning he was exhausted) and Tico grabbed him by the Soccer T-shirt (it visibly stretched like half a meter LOL) and pulled him back out. We all cheered for our hero (T, of course) and Jon said “Ok, Richie, what else do we got?” and started to look at the signs people were holding up and Jon said “What do you want? Bed ‘a Roses?” and we said “Hell yeah!!!” and he submerged in it like it was the first time he sang it. And he did it perfectly, I was so proud of being their fan. When he finished, he said “now go home!”.

And with that musicgasm, they left. Leaving us sweating and gasping and exhausted.
As we came out of the stadium I couldn’t stop talking, I met with my brothers and I (like a crazy woman) started unloading random information, the entire Bon Jovi Encyclopedia stormed out of my mouth for about 4 or 5 blocks. I said to my cousin “I feel as if I have just scrubbed my throat with sandpaper” and he replied “I feel the same in my ears LOL” (meaning my screaming had left him like that, I didn’t feel bad at all).

Then I started holding my his arm and leaning on him like a woman who had had her life squeezed out of her. I couldn’t speak (my throat was so sore it felt like it was bleeding). My eyes were lost somewhere in space. My legs hardly knew how to put one foot in front of the other. My years buzzed as if a grenade had exploded right in front of me. And my brain…well, was there any left of it by then?

I zombied through the streets, mumbling from time to time, expressionless “it was so awesome”. I ate zombie-like as well, NOT A WORD coming from my mouth, as the post-show depression sank in. All the excitement was gone. They were gone. Would I ever see them again?

Our date had ended, it had gone fantastically well.

Setlist
Blood on Blood
We Weren't Born to Follow
You Give Love a Bad Name
Born to Be My Baby
Lost Highway
In These Arms
Captain Crash andThe Beauty Queen From Mars
Who Says You Can't Go Home
Superman Tonight
We Got It Goin On
It's My Life
Bad Medicine/Oh, Pretty Woman/Shout
Lay Your Hands On me(Richie Sambora)
Blaze Of Glory
I'll Be There For You
Raise Your Hands
Runaway
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead/Rockin' All Over The World
Keep the Faith

Encore:
Dry County
Wanted Dead or Alive
Livin' on a Prayer

Encore 2:
These Days
Always
Have a Nice Day
Someday I'll Be Saturday Night

Encore 3:
Bed of Roses

5 comments:

ANN said...

I loved reading your review. It was very refreshing to read someone's first time seeing the BJ show. I can't imagine trying to wait for years to see them, but it sounds like it was well worth the wait! Just think you can relive it thru Youtube!!

florbi said...

Thank you Becky! I'm really glad I could share this with all of you.

Anonymous said...

Very nice retelling of a Bon Jovi experience. I am so happy for you. I've been unable to see them so appreciate blog reviews from real people/real fans.

Anonymous said...

I recall that when he first arrived is So. America, he gave an interview where he said that he was drinking too much and was 10 lbs overweight. I've always wondered if he bordered on being "manorexic" --even tho he is buff, he is thin. And sometimes he wears layers of clothes and even a jacket when the other band members don't.

Blogger said...

+$3,624 PROFIT last week...

Get 5 Star verified winning picks on NFL, NBA, MLB & NHL + Anti-Vegas Smart Money Signals!!!