This week, I was thrilled to see the announcement that my beloved Bon Jovi was going out on tour this coming summer.
I was not so thrilled when I saw there are no nearby concert locations.
But that’s OK. I have memories of concerts past.
It was 10 years ago, when my sister-in-law and I stood among the masses to witness greatness.
“Omaha, Nebraska, on a Tuesday night!” Jon Bon Jovi yelled. “I need you to get up out of your seats! I ain’t gonna’ waste no time with talkin.’ You paid me to sing and dance and that’s what I’m gonna’ do for you!”
Yes, there was very little talkin,’ and a whole lot of dancing and singing, on the part of Bon Jovi.
The same went for me — there was a whole lot of dancing, singing, screaming and I was barely able to make a sound for days to follow, so not much talkin’.
I love losing my voice for a good cause. I am more than willing to strain my vocal cords to the point they no longer work, especially if it has anything to do with retreating in age and reveling in all things Bon Jovi.
The World Herald reported the next day that the Qwest Center nearly exploded with excitement and voices as the famous 80s band hit the stage and I was fortunate enough to say I was there to corroborate their sentiment.
Bon Jovi started their amazing rock ‘n roll journey decades years ago. That’s hard to believe. For me, it feels like it was just yesterday. They certainly look, move, sing and perform as if it were yesterday. As for us 16,000 avid fans, we still had it goin’ on, too.
Sure, the show was full of everything a rock concert has to have — volume, lights, projection screens, effects. But I have to say I am always the most impressed when the Bon Jovi boys sit on stools and do the whole unplugged thing — with just basic instruments and their voices. Song after song, they demonstrated what it was like for them to be “just a bunch of teenage guys in a New Jersey garage band.” And they’re still a garage band, they claim — just one that has played in every major venue around the world.
The World Herald reported that “a simple shimmy from Jon Bon Jovi made 40-year-old women scream like 12-year-olds at a Jonas Brothers concert.” No more accurate words have ever been written in a newspaper. The problem is that 12-year-olds can talk the next morning — 40-year-old women find themselves straining to make words because they don’t have as much elasticity in their pipes as they used to.
Hour after hour, they gave us our favorite staples from many decades and we diligently followed along, singing the words at the tops of our lungs. Then it was time to get completely blown away, as they closed out the night with a three-song encore of “Runaway,” “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
“Uh oh,” Jon said to the crowd, or maybe specifically to me, screaming with the others in the dark, “it’s 1984 again!”
And it was. Oh, it was 1984 and uh oh, I was 16. My sister-in-law and I danced and sang, screamed and shouted. Again, the roof of the Qwest Center nearly blew off.
After Jon and company said good-bye to us, we ran out into the dark, where the pouring rain couldn’t wash away our renewed youth. We newly-turned 16-year-olds continued to sing and yell about what we just witnessed. Our joints were spry, our skin was taut. There were no more wrinkles or aches or pains, as we all thought we’d just bathed in the waters of the fountain of youth.
It didn’t last, however, for then arrived the morning. When we woke up, there was still evidence that we had been teenagers for a fleeting moment — as we were wearing Bon Jovi T-shirts. But the television was blaring, which indicates that my waning ability to hear had not really improved. My hair was literally standing straight on end, due to the hair spray, rain, hair spray, rain, hair spray, rain regimen of the day before. The bags under my eyes begged for the Regenerist anti-aging eye roller — after all, the concert didn’t end until midnight, robbing us of our much-needed rest. My back ached from sleeping on an unfamiliar hotel mattress. And there was a slight hint of shin splints, a result of dancing for 2 1/2 hours in high-heeled boots on concrete.
Then it was time to talk. I looked at my sister-in-law and tried to tell her how much fun I had the night before. But not much came out, except a squeak and a whisper.
“Looks like I lost my voice,” I crackled and she giggled. “Too bad my husband’s not here to witness the silence. He’d love it.”
It soon became time to return to our realities.
“Your cold sounds as bad as mine,” someone said, two days after the concert.
“No, I’m fine,” I labored to say with my gravely tone. “I’m actually fantastic! No cold. I just have a case of the Bon Jovi flu.”
Well, Jon said there wasn’t going to be any time wasted with talkin’! And I certainly kept my end of the bargain.