Last month the wife of one of my colleagues died unexpected. Age 38. For a couple of years now, I have had a list in my mind of places I want to visit and things I want to do, but I never made a real bucket list. When I heard this sad news I decided that it was time to make my bucket list. I told myself that life is too short and I was going to try to do as much of the things on my list as I could and enjoy every day from now on.

It was actually a great exercise and a week or so later I had a first bucket list together. The list ranges from simple things like going on a hot air balloon trip, exotic travel destinations, to more challenging things like hiking Kilimanjaro. Also on that list is to have front row tickets to a Bon Jovi concert, one of my all time favorite bands. So when I saw the “LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE” contest on the website, right after my resolution to live life to the fullest, I thought this was too much of a coincidence and I decided that I had to take on this challenge and started writing my blog.

When I close my eyes I can picture the Chicago dream concert:

My friend Virginia is coming with me to the concert as she is also a big Bon Jovi fan. She and I were at the San Jose concert in February. We really regretted we didn’t have seats closer to the stage, so we promised ourselves that one day we would be there, in the circle. On Saturday morning we fly to Chicago and after checking into the hotel in the afternoon, we start with getting manicures and pedicures, accompanied by a glass of bubbly to celebrate. After that it’s time to change and get ready for the concert. A limo takes us to Soldier Field. Our seats are PIT3, row 1. Virginia is a big Richie fan and he is always on that side of the stage, so she is totally excited. By the time we get to our seats we are both giddy with excitement and have to pinch each other to make sure this is real and we will see them in less then 45 minutes live, right in front of us.

The lights go out, the crowd starts to cheer and there they are……. Blood on Blood, followed by We Weren’t Born To Follow and Bad Name and the whole stadium is on their feet. When Jon has just the crowd sing the chorus of Bad Name, I have goose bumps on my arms.

 
                                                                       We weren’t born to follow

It’s a warm summer night in Chicago, the air is hot and so is the music and the band. The first slower song is one of my favorites: Open All Night. We are so close that we can almost touch Jon and I am thinking that this is a dream come true. I sing along as I know all the words. Open All Night is followed by When We Were beautiful, another great song of the new album. Then they turn it up again with the next couple of songs. I love Captain Crash and always smile at “She wears a plastic crown like Cinderella and rollerskates in bed” and when Kid Rock joins for Bad Medicine, the place is rocking. Tonight’s version of Bad Medicine is a mesh up with Old Time Rock and Roll and now the party is in full swing.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjK1Jn3TYi8&w=640&h=385]

It’s time again for a couple of slower songs. The first time I heard Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah by Bon Jovi was in San Jose, but this time, being so close, it takes my breath away and almost makes me cry, it is such and amazing song and I think Jon’s version is the best ever.

                                                                      Hallelujah, San Jose February 2010

Hallelujah is followed by 2 more classics, Always and I’ll Be There For You. I know that I will never forget this night as long as I live. Some of my all time favorite songs, played right there in front of me, this is such a special experience. Always was my first Bon Jovi song. I remember when the song first came out, back home in Holland, it went straight to number 1 in the charts. I loved it from the very first time I heard it on the radio and I immediately bought my first Bon Jovi album, Crossroads. I was hooked after that. After Always, Jon leaves the stage to Richie, who does an awesome version of I’ll Be There For You.

It is hard to imagine it could get any better after this, but they turn it up a notch yet again with It’s My Life, Who Says You Can’t Go Home and Keep The Faith ending the night with In These Arms. Virginia and I smile at each other as we sing along with It’s my Life. Her 3 year old daughter recognizes it from my ring tone and every time she hears the song, she will sing along with it and after the song is over she will ask if we can play “life” again telling us she likes Jon Jovi. In These Arms is another song I absolutely love. Tonight is the normal version, my favorite is the acoustic version.

By now I almost have no voice left, but its ok, my voice will come back, a night like this probably won’t. And the night is not over yet, there is more: they come back for 2 encores: Wanted and of course Livin’ on a Prayer, the old time classic.

 

Wanted and Livin’ On a Prayer

This is bitter sweet. I know when I hear the first notes of Livin’ On a Prayer that this will be the end. Without it, the night wouldn’t be complete, but I am sad that this wonderful night is coming to an end.

Thank you, good night!

No, thank you Bon Jovi. You and your music have been my inspiration thru the years: you were there thru the good times and the bad, the laughter and the tears.

To top of the night we have backstage passes so we will be able to meet the guys that have created all these wonderful songs, maybe we will even get their autographs. Although I listen to their music all the time, after a night like this I dont think there will be any other way to get the real Bon Jovi experience, then to see them in concert, up close and personal.

I don’t expect to win the tickets, but just in case, after I finished this blog, I already booked 2 tickets from SFO to Chicago with my United miles. Just in case my bucket list wish will come thru……

My Chicago dream set list:

BLOOD ON BLOOD
WE WEREN’T BORN TO FOLLOW
BAD NAME
BORN TO BE MY BABY
SUPERMAN TONIGHT
OPEN ALL NIGHT
WHEN WE WERE BEAUTIFUL
CAPTAIN CRASH
JUST OLDER
WE GOT IT GOING ON
BAD MEDICINE PERFORMED W/ KID ROCK W/ OLD TIME ROCK N’ ROLL (BOB SEGER COVER)
LOVES THE ONLY RULE
RAISE YOUR HANDS
HALLELUJAH
ALWAYS
I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU
LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE
WHOLE LOT OF LEAVIN
IT’S MY LIFE
WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T GO HOME
KEEP THE FAITH
IN THESE ARMS
WANTED
PRAYER

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