A week after our Koblenz escapade, we went to Nijmegen. It was the day before Bon Jovi’s concert in the Netherlands and we already headed towards the concert venue. Even though we knew we weren’t going to spend a night in the fanclubline anymore (we enjoyed being out of the line way too much last time), we still loved being at the venue a day before. You really get to experience the calm before the Bon Jovi storm that way, and it’s great to orientate a bit, besides we had agreed to meet up with our new Dutch-Bon-Jovi-crew-buddies and have a night on the town with them. We arrived in Nijmegen and explored the huge grounds, shuddered after seeing all the nasty faces of the fanclubline posse again, and found the perfect parking spot near the backstage entrance.
We took the citybus into the city center, where we went for dinner and afterwards we met up with Arne and Jurgen. They had been working hard on making the stage strong enough to hold all the concert violence that was about to happen a day later and now it was time to rewind for them. It was a fun night with lots of laughter, lots of alcohol and dancing, especially Minke and Jurgen were dancing the night away. For us, this was the most unusual way to spend the night before a concert, but it is much more enjoyable than lying on a thin mat in a cold sleeping bag on the concrete. Time creeps by when you are waiting and I used to smoke the hours away cigarette by cigarette, but I quit smoking in 2004 and I wasn’t going to start just to make the waiting for a concert time seem shorter. But now we found another way to find time pass by quickly: party!
Arne & Lou in ‘De Drie Gezusters’, a cafe in Nijmegen
Minke & Jurgen in ‘De Drie Gezusters’, a cafe in Nijmegen
The next morning, well rested after sleeping in an actual bed and all refreshed after a hot shower we were ready for the big day of our last concert this tour. The Bon Jovi crew bus took us to the concert venue, and when we arrived at the venue the backstage gates magically opened up, and that is how we ended up backstage, we took a look around which was fun. Minke’s brother Feike and his girlfriend Nadine were also coming to see the concert and obviously we were meeting them somewhere outside of the backstage area, so we said goodbye to our party pals and left the backstage area.
Minke & Lou backstage
Backstage with our Dutch-Bon-Jovi-crew-party-buddies
Richie Sambora’s new girlfriend Denise Richards
The stage a couple of hours before the concert seen from the middle of the field
We utterly surprised Feike and Nadine when we told them that Mike Devlin (Bon Jovi’s stage manager) had arranged pit wristbands for them and more shockingly onstage wristbands for all of us too! Feike has been to several Bon Jovi concert before and loved being onstage and Nadine couldn’t believe how close we were to the band onstage until we were actually there.
On the Bon Jovi stage with Feike and Nadine
The band as seen from the stage
Lou & Minke onstage for the third time, seeing what happens during a concert from the band’s perspective
Unbelievably, Minke and I were kind of getting used to going onstage but the new dimension of making your family and friends so happy was awesome. This time Bon Jovi rocked ‘I’d Die For You’, ‘The Radio Saved My Life Tonight’ and ‘Everyday’ which brought back memories from being onstage in Oostende in 2003, because it was during the bridge of this song that Jon kissed Minke! No ‘Dry County’ this time but we finally heard the almighty ‘Complicated’! And they sang ‘I’ll Be There For You’ and ‘Bed of Roses’ in the ‘This Left Feels Right’ version, which made Minke and me very happy!
Jon performing ‘Last Man Standing’
Richie & Jon intimately performing the TLFR songs
Sadly, this was the last concert Minke and I went to together this tour. Arne and Jurgen did invite us to come to the Manchester show in June, all we had to was get there they would arrange a night out on the town, a place to stay, concert entrance and backstage access. What an awesome offer, and it broke my Bon Jovi heart to have to decline that dream of an event. I just couldn’t do it to my final thesis. I had spend the entire month of May doing Bon Jovi related things and now there was only one month left to write more than half of my thesis. Sometimes a girl has to set priorities (even if she doesn’t want to) and make sacrifices, so I did.
Unfortunately, this meant that Minke also had to miss all that Bon Jovi goodness for the good of my thesis. Naturally, I wasn’t comfortable making her do that, so I made sure to acknowledge her sacrifice in my thesis and thank her for her understanding. She is such a great person, even though she was disappointed that we couldn’t go, she never resented me for it and understood my decision.
Bye bye Bon Jovi (and extra musicians)
01. Last Man Standing 02. You Give Love A Bad Name 03. Captain Crash And The Beauty Queen From Mars 04. Born To Be My Baby 05. The Story Of My Life 06. Complicated 07. I’d Die For You (ONSTAGE) 08. The Radio Saved My Life Tonight (ONSTAGE) 09. Everyday (ONSTAGE) 10. In These Arms 11. Welcome To Wherever You Are 12. Have A Nice Day 13. Who Says You Can’t Go Home 14. It’s My Life 15. I’ll Be There For You (This Left Feels Right) 16. Bed Of Roses (This Left Feels Right) 17. Bad Medicine / Gloria 18. Raise Your Hands 19. Livin’ On A Prayer 20. Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night 21. Bells Of Freedom 22. Wanted Dead Or Alive 23. Runaway 24. Just Older 25. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead 26. Keep The Faith