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Once upon a time, not so long ago…
It’s no secret that I lived under a rock for a long time when it came to non Star Wars related pop culture, especially when it came to music. Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet pulled me out from under that rock and helped me see the light. Whenever my friends, Matt and Aaron came over, we’d pop the album in my cassette player. We subsequently turned my room into a stage in the center of a packed arena, pretending to perform Bon Jovi’s jams in front of thousands of screaming fans.
We needed another member to complete the group. Fortunately, Kevin was always a willing participant. So the four of us would jump up and down on my bed, shouting the lyrics at the top of our lungs and shredding the air guitar with each rockin’ solo.
See? There’s more to having a younger brother than just having someone to sneak attack with a pillow at Grandma’s house.
But that’s pretty fun, too.
There’s a very soft spot in my heart for all things Bon Jovi. I loved the guitar riffs. I loved singing about Tommy and Gina. And there was something about the lyrics that just spoke to me. I know what you’re thinking. How could a song like Never Say Goodbye speak to me? I confess that I wasn’t old enough to get into a fight with my girlfriend at prom, but I knew what it was like to say goodbye to an old friend who moved away. It made sense in my fourth grade mind. You know?
Now, don’t ask me about how I connected with Social Disease on that album. Because I didn’t. Mom wouldn’t let me listen to it. I had to fast forward through the song whenever it came on. And I must admit, I still feel a little uncomfortable when I hear that song.
But I digress…
I remember standing in Grandmama’s driveway, just a few blocks away from Roberts Stadium. Bon Jovi was there. In concert. I think they were on tour promoting their New Jersey album. And I stood in the driveway just to see if I could hear just a little bit of their performance.
I couldn’t hear anything, of course. But I tried. Oh, I tried.
On that day, I knew I had to see Bon Jovi in concert.
That was March 22, 1989. The term “Bucket List” didn’t exist yet. But if I did happen to have a Bucket List back in 1989, this would probably have been at the top of my list. Well, OK, figuring out how to get a girlfriend would have probably been the top of my list. But attending a Bon Jovi concert would have been in the top three, for sure.
Unfortunately, an opportunity never came. Whenever Bon Jovi was anywhere near me, either the timing was horrible or the tickets were unaffordable (or both). So I kind of gave up hope.
That doesn’t mean I gave up on Bon Jovi, though. I kept rocking out to their music. I still do. Especially in the car. Seriously, what kind of monster doesn’t crank up the volume when You Give Love a Bad Name, Wanted Dead or Alive, or Livin’ on a Prayer comes on over the radio?
I tried to do my job as a parent. I tried to pass on the torch. Of course, I never encouraged them to jump on their beds and sing like they’re in a concert. Maybe I should have. Because the road got pretty bumpy for a while.
Yeah, you read that facebook post correctly. Aiden equated the Jonas Brothers with classic rock. I’m not gonna lie. My world might have fallen apart that day.
All hope was not lost
Fortunately, that’s not the end of my torch-passing story. The road was bumpy. And it was long. But it was worth it in the end.
When your kids turn up “Livin on a Prayer” and sing along with you at the top of their lungs. That’s a Parenting Win right there, folks.
— Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) January 30, 2017
Aiden and Aly came through in the end. And all was right with the world.
That was a good thing. Because that meant they understood why I received one of the greatest Christmas presents a brother could give his brother. We’ve given each other some pretty fun presents over the years, but this one might top them all. When I opened my gift at my parents’ house, I saw two tickets to the Bon Jovi concert in March!
It was One Wild Night. We might’ve even been Wild in the Streets
Even though I knew I wouldn’t know some of their newer stuff, I was still pretty excited. We all were. We might have been a little bit goofy, too, by the time the concert started..
But by the time the lights went down and the band took the stage, we were ready to ROCK.
I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to have thousands of people scream when you walk on stage. If that’s what gets you going and gets you energized, I would think it would be hard for that to ever get old. And after you walk on stage, start a song, and the crowd sings the song back to you?
Man, could it get any better than that as a performer? I’m not sure it could.
We had a great time. And Bon Jovi played hit after hit after hit. While I was more than satisfied with the show by the end of the night, they did what every performer should strive to do: They left me wanting more.
Oh, and this concert that my brother and I attended with our wives in Indianapolis? It was on March 22, 2017. That’s 28 years to the day after I stood in Grandmama’s driveway, trying to listen to the Bon Jovi concert just down the street. To.the.day.
How cool is that?