A few movements on stage prompted the audience to quieten down and stare they were stage hands so everyone went back to what they were doing, and then a short time later the screens changed to those unmistakable logos, and a few prompts were made on stage as the lights changed, everyone was on their feet ready and waiting the guest of honours' appearance, not keeping us waiting too long, but just enough to intensify the anticipation, they jumped straight into "Raise Your Hands". The crowd goes wild! This was followed by "You Give Love a Bad Name", and the classic "Born to Be My Baby" one of my favourites I listen to on the train to work.
Richie Sambora's fan club was in front of us screaming his name every time Jon Bon Jovi took a breath. They later on started smoking something rather suspicious, so I said to mum if you see someone in civilian clothing show them a warrant card take a step back step back so we are not associated with them.
Bon Jovi continued with "We weren't Born to Follow" and then "Lost Highway" then another legendary hit "It's My Life". For me the composition of the music is also a key reason why I am a fan, if you listen closely you can hear every instrument, as well as the lyrics which have always been cleverly crafted. A Bon Jovi song is a work of art, and their performances are just as epic onstage as what you would hear on your iPod, in fact their live performances are by far so much better.
"In These Arms" followed, and then "Blaze of Glory", again this one always gets the crowd going and again for me it is the beautiful guitar sections that make this song - not only that but I was a big fan of the Young Guns movies when they were released.
Then it was Bon Jovi jukebox time were they started with "Bad Medicine" and flowed into "Pretty Woman" and then back into "Bad Medicine", and then the song I was desperately hoping they would play "Hallelujah" (the Leonard Cohen cover). When I saw Bon Jovi at Twickenham a few years ago, they played this in the encore and other than Jon Bon Jovi singing, you could hear a pin drop in the whole stadium, it was that magical.
A few hours later and they closed the concert with "Have a Nice Day" and "Keep the Faith" - but where was "Livin' on a Prayer" - in encore 1 of course.
Their first encore consisted of "Dry County", the incredible "Wanted Dead or Alive", "Someday I'll be Saturday Night" and of course "Livin' on a Prayer", and when that song began playing, they extended the intro to tease the audience. Of course we did not need any extended time, as soon as we heard that unmistakable opening the cameras, phones and anything else with recording capacity was held up in unison, as high as possible to capture every nuance of the song.
By that time I was happy if they didn't play "Always", but they did in Encore 2 and again the cameras were raised, followed by "These Days" and "Blood on Blood", and then there was another encore which was "I Love This Town". Even at that point you could tell that they were not ready to say goodnight, but it was the end of the concert and I think if they didn't have to keep to curfews, then they would have continued performing all night long.
Stadium vs. Festival layout
Despite me going on a lot about the awesomeness of these artists, I do have a few tips. When attending concerts find out what layout the venue is in. Hyde Park is a festival layout which is great but if you are not the type of person who wants to sit on the floor, and have people walking through your things, stick to the stadium shows, they are just as good and at least you can get a seat.
Also, find out the venue's entrance and exit plans especially if you are confined to train times, which let's face it London transport (we won't comment here). I highly recommend the O2, as in 2010 when Bon Jovi did their Circle tour it was very well organised when entering and leaving the premises.
Stadiums as a whole tend to be more organised, with festival format like at Hyde Park you can lay out your ground mat, sit down and leisurely enjoy the tunes then it is every man or woman for themselves when trying to leave.
To finish, if you can get to a Bon Jovi concert please do go. They have something for everyone and they are always dedicated to their fans. Jon Bon Jovi said this year that they have been performing for nearly 30 years- for me it seems like yesterday that I was at my first Bon Jovi concert (coincidently at Hyde Park). Some do not understand why I go every year, but once you have been to one of their concerts, it is very hard not to keep going back and I am very sure that millions would agree.
So now their 18 month tour has come to an end, so I now wait for that email informing me of advance ticket sales for the next one.
VIDEO: Livin' on a Prayer, Hyde Park, 25 June 2011 - Can you hear Jon over the crowd!