I want to preface this by saying that I attend a lot of concerts. I work at 5 venues and see at least 100 shows a year there in addition to the 50 or so I attend, and 5-25 shows I photograph. I’ve done this for the past 6 years. So when I say that this Bon Jovi show is the best concert I’ve ever attended, I certainly mean it with all the heart and soul in my body. Sometimes I can’t even gather words to explain why, my eyes just light up and I just feel it: everything was perfect.
The small little details are engraved into my soul. The little smirk JBJ made when he came out and recognized my friend and I. Phil X’s blue guitar with lightning bolt shredding away in the midst of a downpour. David Bryan wagging his fingers around during “all around the world, it’s a matter of fact” in Who Says. Tico’s booming drum fill during I’ll Be There For You. Sweet Huey and his trench coat being the cool cat and forgetting to run up the catwalk with JBJ and the boys. And of course, Shank’s trot down the cat walk.
The second night of a show at the same venue is always a little easier because as a fan, you already have a sense of the venue layout, where to go, and know if the security is organized. Because queuing was still no longer allowed, fans continued with the list and roll calls. The only thing that was tricky about this show is that there was no fan club early entry, so there was only one line for everyone.
After making our way back to our hostel after the last show, it took us some time to calm down and relax after the show. Yes, the post concert high. Silly me stayed up to 3:30am watching and rewatching my videos from the show from pure excitement. Covered in confetti we tried the best we could to clean up before crashing. Poor Sophie stabbed herself in the eye with a comb trying to get the confetti off her face, brutal. You could follow our path of where we went because of the excessive amount of confetti that fell off of us — I LOVE IT.
After the long night we took our time to head over to the venue and got there a bit before 8. We already knew this would be a long and rainy day and for once in our lives, we were prepared with rain coats (and me, grocery bagged feet.) Because our hostel was a bit far from the venue we spent most of our day hanging around in the local shops and bakery, and just walking around town.
Come entry time, there was a sense of relief knowing that the staff would be able to get us all in the venue in order in a calm and orderly manner. Sophie and I loved our spot so much the night before, we went for the same space: the corner stage between JBJ and Phil X. It’s always a joy to look left and right and know everyone on a first name basis after traveling and hanging together for so long.
It wasn’t long before the rain came. Here’s us right before the show started…and then moments later.
This would be the last show for me of the European tour so I made sure that I took everything in. There’s something magical about the Irish crowds. Maybe because JBJ always says that he wishes he was Irish—or maybe because the fans know the new albums by heart. The introduction screen of the Bon Jovi car racing around and landing in the Dublin scenery. It really is pretty neat.
This show it rained and rained…and rained. And you know, it didn’t even matter. Immediately when the show started JBJ ran up his stairs and ran to the cat walk and with arms in the air, leaned back and let the rain cover his face and land in his mouth. It’s a great fuckin’ day for rock and roll.
The neat thing about the rain is that it also helped keep people off their phones. It made for such a different atmosphere because the crowd was all eyes on the band and less all on their phone.
I always wonder what the band is thinking when they look down at the front row and see all the fans from the previous night, the regular fans, the new faces, the united and bold fans who waited so long to see their favorite band. Whenever JBJ or Phil X looked down they were greeted with smiley fans (we all looked like wet dogs in rain coats) and the look of sincere joy and appreciation from the band warmed my heart. Sophie and I kept up with our super extra waving to David Bryan and it was neat to get a sense of recognition from him.
The setlist started out pretty standard, but there was still that sense of pure excitement surrounding the show. Rollercoaster made its way back into the set and fans jumped and sang along. Everyone around me knew all the words so I hope that it finds its way back into the setlist as a staple.
JBJ mentioned that he would be changing up the setlist tonight, throwing in some new and old songs! Boy did he deliver.
Only a few minutes in JBJ dances on over toward Phil X and bumps in and notices something flew off his guitar. I looked and could hardly see what it was or even where it went but JBJ ran off chasing after it. As Phil X is killing it at his solo JBJ is aimlessly trying to put the little knob back on. The two’s cheesy grin made it all so hysterical.
I don’t particularly know much about guitar solos, so I judge them based on how they make me feel. The trio of solos during Keep The Faith this night made me feel on top of the friggin’ world. Excitement, love, passion and joy — it was pretty rad. It also was the perfect weather as the sky opened up for about 30 minutes of the most glorious golden hour sunset.
To our surprise, the twinkly white light background came on and Make A Memory was the first song within the acoustic set. I probably haven’t heard this song live in at least 3 years so that was a fun surprise. JBJ absolutely killed the big vocal note in that song and I excitedly gave him two thumbs up. I hope he appreciate my cheesy sense of humor, but I really wanted him to know he was doing a great job.
The elegant piano that we all know so well started for Bed of Roses. Go David Bryan, go!
In These Arms is such a huge hit in Europe, it’s really a fan favorite out here. I love the little jumps that JBJ and the crowd do.
Honestly, the perfect trifecta of songs in a row is In These Arms, It’s My Life, and We Don’t Run. If I could put Have A Nice Day after that my soul would be complete. It’s really nice having these three in a row because it’s like the natural progression of emotions, especially with IML and WDR. It’s going from living your best life and not taking crap from anyone to not backing down and moving forward with that momentum.
Wanted Dead or Alive is always that reality moment for me that I’m at a Bon Jovi show. Though it’s no surprise it’s in the setlist, something was special with it being played as the rain poured down. That will forever be engrained in me.
Round two of Captain Crash with our wedding confetti mix. Tonight we had people who were a lot less excited about us raining down our confetti—understandably so because of the rain…however, that doesn’t stop us. It’s funny because it’s usually whoever is to your right that gets rained down the hardest. In most cases, that’s either me covering Sophie or Sophie covering me. We really tried to throw it up this time but the wind would always catch it and triple the reach, ha.
Sleep When I’m Dead epitomizes what the entire touring process is like as a fan. That song is so much fun, especially with the “wooh’s.” It’s still weird not seeing JBJ playing guitar for this, but on the flip side, we now get him prancing all over the stage and doing the clappity claps.
The encore for this show absolutely blew my mind away. If there was like 15 minutes in my life that I could relive, I’d chose this and go back every day.
JBJ started the first chords to Someday I’ll Be A Saturday Night with a beautiful NYC skyline background and it was the most incredible performance of this song ever. JBJ added in an extra verse of lyrics that I have never ever heard before and it brought tears to my eyes. Watching it back still gives me goosebumps. The band (I filmed this awful vertical version of it on my phone and couldn’t even focus on the screen.)
If that wasn’t emotional enough, the band then started I’ll Be There For You, another tear jerker.
Livin On A Prayer started and the crowd, belted out the song that has been sang oh so many times at the dive bars in Dublin. I felt the sadness start to hit because I knew it’d be the last show for awhile for me. It’s that weird feeling where you’re so happy because you just had the best day ever, but also so sad because it’s the end of the best day ever.
The song ended and all the Bon Jovi boys were hugging each other on stage and doing their usual thing. But then the band just had that glimmer in their eyes where you knew, it wasn’t over yet!!!
JBJ called the huddle and all the boys circled together and planned A SECOND ENCORE twoah.
“They’re going to put me in jail for passing the curfew. Somebody’s gotta come and bail me out” - JBJ
My heart burst into a million pieces when David Bryan started These Days and JBJ laid out the most beautiful vocals to end the perfect night.
You got that right Bon Jovi, “There ain't nobody left but us these days…”