Going to a Bon Jovi concert is excuse for many to release their inner rock star. Sunday’s show marked the third time the band has played Wells Fargo Arena in the last six years – and two songs in, Jon told everyone to take the next few hours and just let themselves go. “I’ll do all the driving!” he said with that famous smirk.
Before the show began, I was lucky enough to gain inside access. Here are 8 secrets from behind the scenes:
1. It takes a village. A major tour is no small effort. It’s a mini traveling city. Hundreds of dedicated people move this show from city to city, almost every day. This tour travels with 16 semi-trucks, six tour buses and a merchandise truck. The guts of Wells Fargo Arena are stacked with large touring cases of all sizes used to bring the show around the world.
2. It’s hard work. Imagine driving from city to city for months at a time. Ahhh…the life of a rock star. Came across this sign…
3. Jon has a cozy dressing room. Nothing over the top, but a few things to make being on the road more comfortable. Black leather couches, two guitars and a fancy leather trimmed mirror.
4. Jon still has a soft spot for the Philadelphia Soul. Before the show, Jon’s crew told him the Soul played in Des Moines Saturday night. We talked for a few minutes about Arena football and how he would have loved to see the Soul play the Barnstormers Saturday night – the same night he was performing in Kansas City.
5. Jon hocked a loogie. About halfway through the show, Jon turned away from the audience and toward the seats behind the stage, and hocked a loogie. Hilarious! I mentioned this on twitter when it happened and @debstter7717h wrote: “That is just too gross for words…Yuck. I’d take an item of his clothing soaked in sweat before anything he spits out of his mouth…;).” When you gotta…you gotta. It was a long show.
6. Jon’s a smart guy. No surprise, really. How many bands from the 80s can you name that are still out there touring and packing arenas? Before the show, Jon and I chatted about music – what I liked and the shows that were coming to Des Moines before the end of 2013. I found him to be curious and genuine.
7. Richie. Not a word before or during the show about the elephant in the room. Look, Richie is great…but I’d be hard pressed to find a significant number of people who felt the show lacked without him. Phil X filled in – and killed it. When Jon introduced everyone in the band, he got the loudest reaction. The crowd loved him. I’ve never seen the nose bleeds – you know, section 312…waaaaaaaayyyyyy at the back of the arena – on their feet for so long. That only happens when everyone in the room is feeling it, and they were.
8. Jon is Grateful. Backstage, he said over and over how much he appreciated STAR playing his music so could keep doing what he loves. At one point during his show, he did the same for fans: “I wanna thank you for your 30 years of friendship, kindness, support and patience.” These days, “thank you” goes a long way. Classy.
Still waiting for my official backstage photo, but you can see a ton of exclusive photos from the show. Oh…and just because, a quick clip from “Livin’ On A Prayer”