Tuesday, May 07, 2013

An (Undramatic) Dream Came True

“Hey man, I'm alive
I'm taking each day and night at a time
I'm feeling like a Monday but someday I'll be Saturday night... “

I’ll give you one guess at who said that! One guess, because I know that no matter your age, social class, country, or amount of rocks you’ve been living under, you know that those lyrics are belched out by Jon Bon Jovi!

I can’t even remember the very first time I knew about Bon Jovi. It could have been in my middle school years (that’s around 1985’ish), but because that was the tail end of Communism and the worst years ever under that regime, I doubt I would have heard of them underneath that iron curtain.

So, it must have been high school – most likely after 1989 … But that seems too late!

Needless to say, I feel like I was born and was raised on their music, much like I was on that of The Beatles’ and Elvis’s. I can recognize Jon’s voice on the radio any time, even if it’s a song that I have never heard before – if such a thing is still possible!

They’ve been such a mainstay in my life, that I never even thought about actually wanting so badly to see them live. I felt like, in a way, they’re everywhere. How much closer to them can a live performance get me?!  

I remember I listened to them on my 10th grade graduation retreat, on my summer breaks in the Romanian mountains, in my very hot flat, during college summer nights, at mom’s home. I remember reading about what a great big deal was when he chopped off his hair. I remember him on Ally McBeal! To me, they’re as American as Bruce Springsteen, and as lovable and popular as a white zin amongst the wines or a golden lab amongst the dogs – they just go with everything and lick everyone’s hand! There is something of the “boy next door” familiarity about these kids, I tell you this much. A timeless, ageless flair.

I finally got the chance to be under the same roof as them about 3 weeks ago, in Salt Lake City. And what do you know?! I was not truly, deeply moved! It was like seeing old friends. It was probably the only live show I have ever been to where I felt like I knew every song – there was an eerie intimacy to it. What I knew about them (except for Sambora who was missing that night, replaced by a new Canadian guitarist, apparently) was all there. Same voice, same crazy running up and down the stage, same solos, same focus on delivering plain, good, clean music. Same black leather vest.

There was nothing spectacular, out of the world shocking (like Aerosmith showing up an hour late to the show, with Steve and Joe Perry screaming at each other in a spat) or Gene Simmons stuffing his tongue down some chick’s throat at a KISS show; or Melissa Etheridge demanding a Persian rug be on stage before she could start playing, during a downpour in Deer Valley! It was just plain, good, synchronized, clean music. Same ol’ – same ol’. And flawless! There is lots to be said for exactness and non-drama in this crazy rock-n-roll business, for sure. Except, of course, for the fact, that their famous front guitarist didn’t show. I guess that’s the bit of the chance in this business.

I have many Bon Jovi favorite songs. When I plug them into my car cd player, I sing along with every tune, all the way to work. But I lived for hearing Bed of Roses live. It played at my wedding and it’s just the most peaceful rock ballad I know. And I would not be opposed to playing it at my funeral, too, if someone will remember this.

And that night , for this song alone, will stay in my memory as one where a dream came true – because he, the man from Jersey, the un-dramatic, “clean” rocker did that for me. With one song! So, I guess, I was moved, after all. Moved that not only did I hear my favorite song one more time, but that he played it live. For me. And I got a live recording of it. All mine.   

Enjoy – funny interlude and all:

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