The end of chapter Bon Jovi

May 10, 2013
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People say I’m crazy, doing what I’m doing.

For all my adult life, people have looked at me a little strangely when I’ve explained the full extent of my love for Bon Jovi’s music to them. Friends have looked at me a little differently, bosses have laughed out loud and my mom’s shrugged her shoulders and said “You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.” And I did it and it’s been truly enlivening, invigorating, amazing and tear-jerking.

Four years ago, I used to dream of seeing the band play live. Literally. I’d wade through concert wonderlands in my sleep and wake up utterly disappointed, wondering if I’d ever hold up a lighter to “Bed Of Roses”. And then, in 2010, I did what I had to do (thanks, Mom) and flew to New York to see them play. The strange looks started. But I’ve never been as all-consumingly happy as that first song they played that night in New Jersey. “Blood On Blood” – what a classic. It was a true life goal accomplished and I’ve never been vaguely sorry I did it.

As with all things in life, I believe if you’re passionate about something, you’ve got to fucking love it with your heart, soul and even aching back and knees from the concert last night. Give it everything!

And then fortune rolled my way again when the band and I happened to be touring the States at the same time in 2011. We crossed paths twice and I followed my rock and roll heart thinking ‘God, 2009 me would hate 2011 me if she knew this was happening.”

Well, 2011 and 2009 me. This week, I’ll have seen them play stadium shows twice in 5 days. Plus, on Tuesday night, I sang “Livin’ On A Prayer” as loud as I possibly could and didn’t even hear myself because Jon Bon Jovi himself was singing it about 5 metres in front of me. Yeah, suck on that.

But back to that crazy thing. I can’t really describe it when I don’t know what’s important to you in life. But imagine a belief, a way of life, a friend or a goal that’s been defining you for at least half your life. Every time you turned on the radio. Every time you sang a song. Every time you spoke to a friend. This thing you hold dear has defined you. It’s like a friend and a drug and a parent all rolled into one. Would you not haul ass to anywhere on the planet to be a part of it, if you could? Yes, that’s what I thought.

But I’m a little older and wiser and slowly putting together how I see the world and what affects me within that, and I think those Jersey Boys and I might be on diverging paths. Maybe it’s because their last album felt like they were preaching to working classes they are decidedly no longer a part of. Maybe it’s because I’m starting to have had enough of Jon Bon Jovi’s God complex. Heck, maybe it’s just because Richie wasn’t there on Tuesday. Whatever it is, as I sit here writing this, I’m still getting slightly teary at all the joy their music has brought me.

When the searing riff of “Raise Your Hands” started on Tuesday night, I had a flashback to sitting in my mom’s car on the way to matric exams, playing that song on repeat – I’d just discovered the New Jersey album, and was on the cusp of discovering my rock and roll life. On the real cusp of knowing what it was to feel music and to live through it.

What a long journey it’s been from those days.

So, that’s it. I may be ready to grow up and loosen my grip on what I’ve always known. But you can keep looking at me funny, because there’ll never be a Bon Jovi song that doesn’t make me smile. They taught me what it was to live music. And that’s goddamn magical.

Monica Davies

Monica Davies

Four years ago, Monica needed a new hobby, so she started this blog. Right now, she can't believe people are still reading it. If you are, she loves you for it.

She believes John Lennon's Imagine is a blueprint for a perfect world and that a house should never not have wine in it. She is currently failing at going vegan.

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  • http://twitter.com/SusanaParker77 Susannah

    What an AMAZING post! It reflects completely how I feel about the band and how I’ve been feeling in recent years (diverging paths).

    • monxdavies

      Glad you agree. Felt like I was betraying my music a bit by admitting that out loud. :P

  • Monika

    Oh, I understand your passion. I flew to the UK in 2006 to see them when I lost all hope of seeing them back in SA since 1995. To see them twice in one week this week seems unreal. I have been a fan for 20 years so it seems like an anniversary gift. My 4 1/2 year old son understands my love. He sings all the songs and sleeps with his tour Tshirt that is much too big for him. I am so proud to have him loving music and loving bon jovi.

    • monxdavies

      That is ROCKING. I had a Crossroads hand-me-down shirt from my sister, who went to their 1995 show. I had to throw it out last year, because it had been worn so much that the black material had become grey and see through.

  • Monika

    Regarding your feelings about the band singing about the hard life of the working class: I see your point but they can’t sing about girls on the backseats anymore. I think with age came a natural progression of looking outside of yourself and the lives of other people. America is not what it was when they were growing up in the 70s. They have seen the “American dream” being lost. I don’t think that having great wealth and success makes you immune to the plight of others. If you have a good heart, it may make you take notice of those in need so much more. And sing about it.

    • monxdavies

      That’s a very good point, I must concede. But try listening to We Weren’t Born To Follow and What About Now right after each other – they feel like carbon copies of each other. And my comment might have been too harsh – there’s a lot of their recent stuff that is very believable – Who Says You Can’t Go Home, for one (in fact the whole of the Have A Nice Day album gets an A+ in my book), but there’s a lot, particularly the “your working class life is fabulous if you look at it right” sentiment that I feel comes up way too often in their new stuff.

      But you do make a very good point, and thanks for making it – I appreciate it. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/bozo101 Mary Taylor

    I cannot retreive my clique id
    Ive tried 3different emails and none work. Please help

    • monxdavies

      Hey Mary,

      What ID are you looking for? You seem to be able to comment here okay. Shout if we can help with anything!

  • Leema Jovi

    Totally understand you and feel the same. I´ve been a fan – die hard fan – for 18 years and have done the craziest things for this bands. I regret none. I´ve made the best friends I have. But BJ now seems a company to me and not a band that write and play songs with their hearts. Jon is not the same. I don´t feel the magic anymore, his loving smile on stage. The songs are the same now and I don´t believe in what he sings. Their concerts were dreams coming true to me, but these days I just ask myself if I still want to pay a fortune to watch a concert. I´m sure I will, but back then I wouldn´t even ask myself that.

    • monxdavies

      Absolutely 100% agree. I’m going to both their concerts this week because they are my band, and Bon Jovi’s my thing, and I’m not sorry at all, but 2 or 3 years ago, I would never have questioned it or thought it strange and now I’m very aware of the effort that’s going into it. I definitely know what you’re saying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bozo101 Mary Taylor

    I cannot get my clique id. I. Tried my 3 emails and none of them work

  • http://www.facebook.com/nancy.l.wood Nancy L Wood

    I’ve been a fan since the first album and seen every tour since “Slippery When Wet.” I get the same grief from my friends and I let them tease me, because the level of happiness I’d feel when the lights went down and the band came out more than made up for it. I embraced my fan nerdiness. But the bloom has been slowly coming off of the rose the last few tours for me as well. Largely because the setlists have become predictable and stale while the ticket prices have gone through the roof. I was in the 3rd row in St. Paul last month, and I wasn’t even that excited when JBJ hit the stage. And without Richie up there, it just felt wrong. Jon didn’t even seem to be having fun. When they came to my city a couple weeks later, I skipped it. It made me sad, not so much that I wasn’t there, but that I didn’t WANT to be there.

    • monxdavies

      Yeah, man, I never gave the Richie saga much thought but I missed him this week and the fun I always see them have together on stage. Maybe the rest of the band’s missing him too.

      I don’t necessarily think the sets are getting stale, but I agree with you about ticket prices going through the roof – surely a band singing about/to the working classes so much shouldn’t be charging $2000 a package?

      Having said that, I know Jon does a massive amount of great work through his Foundation and if those expensive tickets allow him to do that, I guess it’s okay. There just feels like more of a disconnect, y’know.

  • monxdavies

    Your comments here are all so wonderful – it’s awesome to discuss this with you all, thanks for chatting!