Dublin, probably the happiest city in the world for me. Especially on a Bon Jovi show day. There’s just something about the city atmosphere that makes this show feel like a family reunion. It could be because this is one of the most popular shows for the Jovi Nation to fly to from all over the world. It really is a beautiful thing to see how many people come together and unite because of the band and its music.
The Night Before
It’s 11:15pm in Dublin and most fans are meeting up and bar hopping— getting a taste of the Irish city, music and of course drinks. It’s such a joyous feeling to be surrounded by likeminded people. Our group made it our goal to get a Bon Jovi song covered in every bar we stopped in. We were 2 for 2.
Upstairs at one of the bar was overtaking by Bon Jovi fans. And… suddenly it feels like the whole room was on their phones and then looking around. I thought to myself, “what on earth could everyone be looking at?” The queue.
Fans created a Bon Jovi Fan Club Queue Facebook group (I highly recommended adding yourself, it’s a blessing and a savior.) and someone posted that the queue had started at 11pm the night before. There was debate whether it was real, how it would work because the venue banned queueing, and of course the never-ending rain.
In a panicked moment and hope to get up close for such an incredible venue, 6 of us piled into a van cab to make our way to the venue. We made our way to some area of the arena, but it was dark, rainy and nearly impossible to see. Where on earth could the queue be? Are people even there? As the cab slowly circled the venue I decided to take Sophie’s sharpie and pen and just run and make a lap around the venue. Let me tell you, those four blocks around venue are long. I sprinted around…huffing and puffing, and after going halfway around the venue I found a few girls outside who decided to man the queue line. Our names were on the list and the next roll call was 8am.
Now 8am Dublin time, is 2am New Jersey time. So, you can only imagine how fun it was to be waking up at such an early time to go get in the queue. My eyes felt like glass shattering as they opened. To make it more complicated, our hostel was a 15 min drive (or one hour wall) from the venue and we had to be mindful of our roommates when entering and leaving. It was more like waking up at 6:30 am, knowing we’d have a long day ahead of us. The things we do for Bon Jovi.
Queuing and roll calls ended up being an all day thing. You’d check in every few hours to hold your spot and prove you’re still around. We ended up taking the longest walk in the world to spend a whopping $35 on wedding confetti to create a make shift bag for the next two days. Totally. Worth. It.
Seriously, the most stressful, anxiety ridden moments of my life are the last minute before doors open. My palms get sweaty, my heart starts to race and I get tunnel vision. It’s that weird reality where you want something so bad, but it’s in the hands of others: security, fan club staff, other fans… of course and your own ability. This is one of those shows where you know the fans would rush to get as close to the stage as physically possible.
Thankfully for everyone, Dublin’s venue security team was probably one of the best, more organized of the tour. I’m so grateful we had staff that knew what they were doing considering it’s one of the most travelled to places for the tour. Still, it’s the moment of truth when doors are open and you start walking.
I had the Gold VIP so I had one of the first dibs at spots in the venue. My plan was to shimmy on over to Phil’s side (if the higher price point VIP area was on Shanks’ side) and grab a barricade spot. Unfortunately, a handful of the higher price point VIPs swapped sides and took the barricade, but lucky for Sophie and I—those people were our friends! I grabbed us a corner barricade spot and threw my bag down and turned to find Sophie. Where the heck had she gone when we got split up?!
After looking all over, I see her bright red rain coat in the distance hanging out near the mix. Somehow she got pulled into some tour about the venue and was being taught about the lights and the rafters. Hysterical, really. I waved her over so she could claim her spot next to me.
Finally, we had our spots and just had to wait for showtime. This is the moment where things calmed down and I looked around at the RDS Arena and had one of those, “pinch me, this can’t be real moments.”
There’s magic in the air in Dublin. The kind where your heart just feels so happy—your hands tingle with joy, and for some reason you just can’t help but smile. Look left, right, behind: these are our people. It’s the people who chatted with you online for years about the band, the music, the lyrics. The people who understand waiting outside in the rain all day for 3 hours in front of the band. The people who don’t scoff when you say you’re seeing them for the 10th, 40th or 55th time. They feel the sincere joy when the band goes off the setlist and plays something different. These amazing people are the reason I feel welcomed, safe and at home at a Bon Jovi show.
It’s Show Time, Baby
Just seconds into the show with the roar of the crowd overcoming everyone as the introduction played, I knew it was going to be an amazing night. We had people from so many different countries packed into the venue; it was simply incredible. No matter where JBJ looked, he was greeted by droves of fans with cheesy smiles who knew every song, verse, and bridge.
They are a band of brothers. I can’t tell you the technical term, but when Phil X used the microphone stand as a slider during the first solo of the night, my body shook with excitement. All I can do is jump because my body cannot contain the energy and excitement.
They were extra playful tonight and that’s not something you often see in the US. All fun and jest for the band that’s been rocking all over the world for 30 years.
JBJ was all smiles for Raise Your Hand’s, prancing around the stage and amping the crowd up. He ended it with his signature boxing and Tico ending it with a bang.
Under the prettiest skies with sprinkled purple clouds, JBJ walked down the catwalk for the reprise of We Weren’t Born To Follow. I recognized a few fans with a We Were Born to Follow flag from another show ( shout out to you guys, you’re awesome)
For whatever reason, Have A Nice Day really spoke to me this show. First of all, the graphics are amazing. Second, I caught Phil X giving me the smilies on video, which is neat. But something about the crowd for this song amped me up. It felt special.
The fan-favorite maracas made their way back into the live show with Keep the Faith this night. It’s basically the best Bon Jovi bridge of all time:
I’ll Be There For You is always a special moment for me. There’s such something hauntingly beautiful about the crowd singing along to this, especially with the extra verses that JBJ sometimes dabbles in. This show was one of loudest crowd I’ve ever heard (The next loudest for me would have been the Bell Center in Montreal.)
Bad Medicine starts and I like to call this, “what even is JBJ doing?”
A perfect end to a beauty of a night: These Days. JBJ commands the crowd like nobody else and he knows it. There’s no doubt in my mind that he impressed the heck out of everyone in attendance. I love this band and the joy they bring to me and my closest 60,000 friends.
Night Two Coming Soon AKA The Best Day of My Life