No more Bon Jovi concerts for me?

I have been to many concerts and was planning on going to many more concerts. During those concerts I’ve always been able to enjoy the band from up close, mostly thanks to the privileges that come with being a member of the official fan club and some thanks to luck. For many of those concerts I had a front row spot, four concerts I was lucky enough to enjoy part of the show from a spot on the stage, but at least I’ve always been in the pit (area right in front of the stage).
Getting there usually took some effort, like spending the night in front of a concert venue in line with many other fans and a reasonable amount of money. I mean the concert tickets weren’t cheap but they were acceptably priced, and of course the membership fee of the fan club which was totally worth when going to many concerts.
Bon Jovi released a new album this week, ‘The Circle’, and they’re embarking on a 2-year world tour. I was very excited and already saving money for a bunch of concert tickets. But the money I saved isn’t even enough for one concert ticket in a spot I usually view the show from. If you want to be front row you’ll need to buy yourself a extraordinarily expensive VIP package at $3500! But hey, for that price you do get 2 front row seats, 2 autographed tour programs, 2 limited-edition numbered tour prints, 2 fan club VIP laminates, 2 fan club VIP t-shirts, $300 worth of Bon Jovi store gift certificates, a pre-show backstage tour, dinner and making-of-the-tour video viewing, and best of all you get to take the folding chairs you sat on (who needs a chair during a concert anyway?!) home. Yeah, it’s nice if you’re rich but I don’t need nor want all that stuff, I just want to see the band perform from a great spot.
So far only one concert with general admission (no seats, only standing) has been announced and it’s in Paris. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go there because I’m working in Japan that day. But at least people can get themselves to front row with some old-fashioned effort instead of rolls of cash. But tickets to enter the area in front of the stage (“in the circle”) are still $220 per person and they apply a 25% convenience fee (whatever that may be, it’s not convenient for the fans), and we’re still paying at least $50 to be a member of the fan club. So ticket prices have about tripled for general admission concerts and become inexplicably expensive for concerts with seats.
I wish nobody would buy the tickets so that the band would see how ridiculous and aggravating this all is, but of course there are always people with enough money who do buy the tickets. And next tour the prices will have increased even further.
Bon Jovi prides itself on being the band of the working man, they even have a song about it on their new album ‘The Circle’, called ‘Work for the Working Man’. They’re asking who’s going to work for the working man and they imply to want to do something about it. The song is good, but has a hypocritical aftertaste for me. They seem to have lost touch with reality… For rock stars like them these prices may be peanuts, but for us working people it’s a fortune many of us can’t afford to spend on concerts.
Like I said I was planning on going to many more concerts, but there’s a good chance that I’ve already seen my last Bon Jovi concert. So I would just like to remind myself of all the times I’ve seen my favorite band live, while I’m hoping to win the lottery to be able to afford a few more shows.
September 19, 2005: Nokia Theatre Times Square in New York City, USA
June 28, 2003: Hyde Park in London, UK
June 17, 2003: Ostseehalle in Kiel, Germany
June 8, 2003: Wellington Hippodroom in Oostende, Belgium
June 6, 2003: Weserstadium in Bremen, Germany
June 3, 2003: Amsterdam ArenA in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
May 30, 2003: Arena auf Schalke in Gelsenkirchen, Germany
September 18, 2002: Shepherd’s Bush (Pepsi Stage, Amsterdam) in London, UK
June 20, 2001: Müngersdorfer Stadion in Cologne, Germany
June 16, 2001: Milton Keynes Bowl in Milton Keynes, UK
June 6, 2001: Amsterdam ArenA in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
June 5, 2001: Amsterdam ArenA in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
June 3,2001: Werchter Festival Site in Werchter, Belgium
September 1, 2000: Gelredome in Arnhem, The Netherlands
August 27, 2000: Wellington Hippodroom in Oostende, Belgium
August 20, 2000: Wembley Stadium in London, UK
August 19, 2000: Wembley Stadium in London, UK
April 28, 1998: Stadthalle Bremen in Bremen, Germany
June 10, 1997: Elysée Montmartre in Paris, France
June 9, 1996: ‘t Rutbeek in Enschede, The Netherlands
June 8, 1996: Megaland in Landgraaf, The Netherlands
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The Circle

Although Bon Jovi is supposed to release their new album on November 10th in some countries ‘The Circle’ is already available, including Japan. According to the poster in the CD store the album was set to come out tomorrow, yet I bought it there today already.
I’ve listened to the new songs a bit in the store and I’m happy to report that this a rock album. I was worried that they might never return to rock after their detour into the country music world with ‘Lost Highway’. I know many people loved that album and it was very successful in especially America, but personally I didn’t like it at all. And I’m happy Bon Jovi is back to making rock music again.

Hard Rock Cafe Osaka #2

My visit to Osaka’s Hard Rock Cafe was a bit disappointing because they didn’t have a Bon Jovi display (but the delicious apple cobbler kind of made up for it), but I learned from Yumiko (my new Bon Jovi friend) that there is another Hard Rock Cafe in Osaka and that one does have a Bon Jovi display! So after hanami, Yasu and I went there with Yumiko to check it out and to have a tasty but expensive meal of burgers.
They have one of Richie’s guitars on display there and a couple of pictures including a picture of the time Jon and Richie had dinner there. They were even selling some Bon Jovi merchandise, but my Bon Jovi merchandise needs have been so over-satisfied for a long time, that I had to sell most of it, because I just didn’t know what to do with it anymore.
The food was good, the music was good (especially those four Bon Jovi videos they played for us), but everything is still rather loud in there so it’s hard and tiring to have a conversation there. So I guess the next time I’ll be back is when Jon and Richie are having dinner here again.
Hard Rock Cafe

Reflecting on 2008

It’s that time of year again, the day that we all look back on what we’ve accomplished this year and think about what we want to accomplish next year. Well, I started this year working and living in Inuyama, which of course I don’t do anymore. I applied for a new job in Osaka with the same company, at the end of last year and was successful in getting a new job and more importantly an apartment very near to Yasu (which is who I came to Japan for to begin with). Although I enjoyed my time in Inuyama and made really good friends there, I’m happy that these days Yasu lives just 30 minutes away by bike! I ended my time in Inuyama by handing over the reigns to a new teacher and with a very, very wild going away party!
Before starting the new job, I had to go through a training period again. There were four other trainees, and the company put us up in a hotel where I shared a large room with the two other girls in the group. Of course, training was way easier than the first time, but it was fun to meet new people and to get familiarized with the different way they teach in Kansai. Since then, I’ve been happy working at the new school in Osaka, and even signed up for 6 more months.
In between the two jobs I went home for two weeks, for another visit. It was the cheapest trip home so far, this was the third, because this time I was traveling off season. Even though I’ve always had the desire to move far away from home, I need to go back on a frequent basis to fight homesickness because I miss my family too much. It’s quite an expensive hobby… I still need to convince my family to move across continents with me, then there’s no more need for all that expensive traveling. Maybe next year? Actually, I’m planning to temporarily move back home in December next year before another emigration, this time to Canada. Anyway, it was great as always to see all the Dutchies again!
This year Bon Jovi went on tour again and I managed to attend (only) four concerts, three in Japan and one in Germany. The concerts in Japan (Nagoya, Tokyo I, Tokyo II ) were all in January and the venues were all filled with seats! Which was really annoying, because there was no room to dance and run around to get good pictures (which you’re not even allowed to take in Japan). The concert in Germany, during my brief stint at home in between jobs, was a lot more relaxing and enjoyable, only wish I’d been able to stick around for more European concerts… Maybe next tour?
But of course, the best thing this year was when the Dutchies (Moem, Gy & Gui) came to visit me in Obon. Of course they’d heard numerous stories and seen countless pictures on this blog, but this August they actually got to experience the real thing! They saw lots of traditional sights (like temples and shrines), tried many modern Japanese activities (like karaoke and purikura) and ate all kinds of Japanese food. And they had an amazing time even though it was so hot and humid that super-blond Gui almost passed out a couple of times. And I loved introducing them to my Japanese life, and I hated having to say goodbye to them again at the airport.
It was a busy year and time flew by. I made new friends, sang hours and hours of karaoke, posed for dozens of purikura pictures, ate lots of Japanese food (duh), and did an enormous amount of sightseeing this year: cities, shrines, cherry blossoms, temples, tall buildings, castles, autumn leaves, boat rides, amusement parks and even museums. You can read all about that on this blog, just travel back in time! And now I’m back home to enjoy this holiday with my family before I fly back to Japan for another busy year. Happy 2009, everybody!

Bon Jovi karaoke

I like Bon Jovi… surprise. I like karaoke…surprise. I love Bon Jovi karaoke… surprise! But I haven’t done that for a while, all my fellow Bon Jovi karaokans live in and around Inuyama. But after dinner tonight, 4 leftovers of the Outback party went to karaoke (at the very expensive Big Echo) for one hour. I know way too short, but we still had our last train home to catch and it was already 23:00.
To my very pleasant surprise they only sang Bon Jovi, not to do me a favor, but because they all love Bon Jovi themselves. Shoko even goes to concerts. I am not alone in Osaka… Still, I can’t wait to attend another Bon Jovi karaoke marathon in Komaki someday soon!

Bon Jovi in Frankfurt ~ Commerzbank Arena

2.5 hours of Bon Jovi in Frankfurt starting at the decent rockin’ hour of 8 PM, instead of those matinee performances in Tokyo. It was good, it was wholesome, it was awesome, it was rock and it was addicting, but they didn’t play ‘Always’… Not sure if I’ll ever be able to forgive the band for that. Especially, since they played it several times before today and they’ll do it again during some of the upcoming European concerts (I have a magic eye into the future ;)), including the Amsterdam gig. Don’t they read my blog, didn’t they know I was only able to attend one concert in Europe this year, and that it wasn’t even in my own country… Couldn’t they just have played ‘Always’ in Frankfurt? So, I still desperately want to hear ‘Always’ performed live by Bon Jovi, well I guess it’s good to have a goal in life ;).

Minke had a bad experience pit-wise in Gelsenkirchen last week: the pit in front of the stage was way too full making it very hard for her to enjoy the show. So unfortunately, Minke really felt the need to protect some spot in the back of the pit during the many hours leading up to the concert. I on the other hand just wanted to enjoy the freedom of walking around the concert venue, and still being able to return to the Golden Circle with my wristband. This was my only concert in Europe and I wasn’t going to waste it sitting on a spot which I knew I wasn’t going to be occupying during the concert anyway. Disappointed Minke wasn’t joining me to do some highly entertaining ‘monkey-looking’ and chilling in all the corners of the stadium, I headed out by myself. I spent my time looking at the interesting people, the expensive merchandise, the huge beers and bratwursten, and the exciting things that go on behind the stage and generally absorbing the whole concert feel that I so dearly missed during the Japanese tour.

The support act was some Italian rock band which is popular in Europe now. I don’t know the band and I don’t understand Italian so their show wasn’t very entertaining to me, but the Germans sure seemed to enjoy it. A little while after their performance Bon Jovi appeared and made everybody happy. Although the sound in the stadium was truly horrific, with a loud echo that even made Jon Bon Jovi tell us how shitty the sound quality was… they won’t be back here, that’s for sure. The stage in Japan was basically non-existent (it was embarrassing), but luckily Bon Jovi did go all out for the European tour and brought an awesome stage with fancy lights and moving screens. The TV screens kept moving everywhere: sometimes together, sometimes individually and at other times the bigger screens split up into thinner slices of screens to create cool visual effects. At some point in the show part of the floor moves upwards which turns out to be a big video screen too, which is mostly for the benefit of the people in the back of the stadium because it’s hard to see when you’re up close. But luckily this time the pit was half-empty due to good wristband management by the security, so I could leisurely stroll to the back of the Golden Circle to take pictures of the amazing stage.

A Bon Jovi show is commonly great to listen to, but not always enjoyable to watch if you’re far from the stage and can’t really see what’s going on. Especially when they use a non-stage like in Japan, but I’m sure that even the fans in the far back of the stadium had something very esthetically pleasing to look at in Europe. They had lots of special effects with the movable video screens, the lights, the stage screen that came up from the floor over the band and of course the footage on the screens itself. I especially liked what they did during ‘We Got It Going On’:

Then the memory card of my camera told me it was full, so I had to change it and caught the last part of the song:

I loved the ambiance, the set list (not too many Lost Highway songs although I did miss the beautiful ‘Make A Memory’), I loved the chairless pit and all the space to dance, jump around and run in (the running mainly occurred when I wanted to take a picture from a different angle or closer up) and especially the freedom to take pictures and movies without being afraid of an escort out of the venue. Not that I managed to take many decent pictures as those damned spotlights ruined almost all my photographic opportunities. Or maybe I’m just a crappy photographer, but I used to take beautiful concert pictures… but that was with an old-fashioned camera, not a digital one… Luckily, Minke discovered some kind of take-spotlight-out function on her new camera, which seemed to work. Maybe I should finally read that user manual I downloaded (the original was in Japanese) for my camera, and discover my camera can probably do that too. Ah, well… at least my camera captured some videos which will serve as a great memory, or perhaps even better than pictures ever could.

So, as passionately mentioned earlier Bon Jovi didn’t play ‘Always’ for me, but they were nice enough to treat me to some special and tasty snacks like ‘Bed Of Roses’, ‘Blaze Of Glory’ (awesome with the light effects), ‘Damned’ (a song we requested in 2003, and now finally got to hear live), and ‘Blood Money’ (which is one of my favorites in the karaoke box, and very rarely heard live and therefore the biggest treasure of this show). I kept hoping for ‘Always’ or at least ‘Hallelujah’, but after ‘Bed Of Roses’, I knew I was pretty much shit out of luck on the ‘Always’ front. Maybe next time?

Blood Money

Bed Of Roses

Damned

All in all it was a great concert and the atmosphere was outstanding. The whole European tour they’ve been playing songs they rarely play live, every city gets something unique. The first European tour without me and they do this, maybe I shouldn’t have moved to Japan? Well, at least I was here for one of those special concerts and it was awesome. Now, how am I going to persuade the Japanese to do concerts European style (without the annoying chairs and during the evening) from now on, because I mean come on, it’s just way more fun this way! Yeah, I know: keep dreaming… Well then, let’s just hope next time, Bon Jovi rocks Japan like they did Europe this tour.
SETLIST
01. Lost Highway 02. Born To Be My Baby 03. You Give Love A Bad Name 04. We Will Rock You / Summertime 05. Just Older 06. Captain Crash And The Beauty Queen From Mars 07. Sleep When I’m Dead / Jumpin’ Jack Flash / Mercy 08. Blood Money 09. Blaze Of Glory 10. Whole Lot Of Leavin’ 11. Bed Of Roses 12. In These Arms 13. We Got It Going On 14. It’s My Life 15. Keep The Faith / Sympathy For The Devil 16. I’ll Be There For You (Richie) 17. Lay Your Hands On Me 18. Have A Nice Day 19. Who Says You Can’t Go Home 20. Bad Medicine / Shout 21. Livin’ On A Prayer 22. Any Other Day 23. Damned 24. These Days 25. Wanted Dead Or Alive

Being home is nice

Just a quick post to let you guys know, I’m really enjoying my relaxing stay at home:

It’s been a great week and now I’m off to Frankfurt, to see my last Bon Jovi concert this year. I’m really excited and hoping they will play ‘Always’ tomorrow night (we’re sleeping in the car tonight). But even if they don’t, I’m sure it’ll be awesome!