Some people may be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Sydney Olympics today.

image courtesy of tehparadox.com

But for me, it 23 years ago today I saw Bon Jovi in concert for the first time. In fact, it was my first ever concert. I was 13 years old and the ticket cost $30. My older sister generously paid for it.

I remember that night vividly. We traveled into the Sydney Entertainment Centre and I was wearing my brand new Bon Jovi shirt that I saved weeks of pocket money to pay for. I even skipped lunch at school to save more money so I could buy a t-shirt from the concert.

So this was 1987. And 1987 was the year of the big hair. I’m sure having 12,000 people in one place with that much hair product was a fire hazard. And these were the days when open flame lighters were still allowed inside.

We sat in the 3rd last row which to quote 13 year-old-me “kinda sucked” but hey, we were there.

The lights went down and a single spot light shone on David Bryan as he began to play the intro to Let It Rock. He was wearing a NSW police shirt, unbuttoned. Interesting wardrobe choice I thought.

The crowd screamed and we were all immediately on our feet. No-one was sitting down at this show. And when the rest of the band came onto the stage, the insanity and hysteria began.

Did Bon Jovi disappoint? Not on your life. 13-year-old-me even shed a few tears during the encore because “they just haven’t played long enough”.

You see 13-year-old-me listened to Bon Jovi everyday for the 8 months before that concert. I would get up early to watch their video clips and do that naughty thing where you read-instead-of-buy the magazines in the newsagents. I just couldn’t get enough.

And since then Bon Jovi have remained one of my favourite bands. 23 years is a long time to commit to a group of people you have never met. But over the years the songs have been my guide, my solace, my inspiration.

I have built these songs and built these band members into something and someone to turn to. Some people have church, some people have drink, I have music; specifically Bon Jovi.

But I asked myself the other day, do I still yearn to meet the band that has been with me since my teens? And the honest answer is, I don’t know. Chances are they are not going to be like I have imagined them.

You see when you are a teenager, your identity is yet to be determined. You frantically try to align yourself with people that are like-minded and people you want to be like. And teenagers have such fierce loyalty; because to criticize the music a teen likes, is to criticize the teen.

I’m playing Slippery When Wet as I write this post. Listening to these songs does take me back to when I was 13 and full of dreams and hopes.
“Ohhh we’re half way there,
Oh-oh, Livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand, we’ll make I swear
Oh-oh Livin’ on a prayer”

I aligned myself with Bon Jovi. They seemed like down-to-earth guys, who liked to play music and didn’t buy too much into their own press. Well that’s how I perceived them and that’s how I liked them. In reality, who knows if this interpretation is true?

I may not be 13 anymore and I have explored and discovered many more things to help define my identity, but I would be heartbroken if I met them and they weren’t all that I painted them to be; especially after all this time.

I have seen Bon Jovi in concert 6 times since that September day in 1987; and this year in December I will be seeing them again for the 7th & 8th time. This time I will be taking my 9 year old daughter; this too is her first concert, ever! She’s very excited and so am I. She will be getting an insight into the make-up of her mother; and what better way than to punch a fist in the air and sing,

“Ohhh we’re half way there,
Oh-oh, Livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand, we’ll make I swear
Oh-oh Livin’ on a prayer”

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