Concerts are pretty epic. I think I had already established this in my rave about the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at the Cape Town Stadium in February. But there are different types of concerts – those offering timeless music (classic performers like Neil Diamond), mind-boggling performances (dance spectacles like Lady Gaga), and then there are those legendary rock concerts that awake every cell in your body and make you feel alive and oh-so-awesome. And I’d say Bon Jovi- on his Cape Town leg of the ‘Because We Can’ Tour – is definitely of the latter.
I would love to say I was pretty excited for the concert. I was – up until a few days ago when the flu hit me and I literally had to crawl out of bed and make my way to the stadium. Sick as a dog, but nothing would keep me away from a Bon Jovi concert. Luckily I had seating tickets and I could sit back and relax and sniffle and cough in the background without having to worry about a roaring crowd and jumping up and down. This was during the opening acts. But once Bon Jovi hit the stage, I wanted to be up front singing and dancing and jumping up and down. Okay, it was probably a good thing that I wasn’t and already now I sound like a croaking frog and my vocal chords are not happy with the screaming and cheering all night long. But it was so worth it.
The band performed for about two and a half hours. That’s a long time to keep an audience entertained. But they did it – track after track after track. During one of the funnier moments of the night, lead singer Jon Bon Jovi took a break from singing his epic tracks to engage with the audience, explaining that he might not be as pretty as Justin Bieber (who is set to perform at the Cape Town Stadium tonight, one night after the Bon Jovi concert – I’d be interested to find out how the two concerts compare) or have the moves of Justin Timberlake, but he’s been around longer than both of them put together and they’d have something to learn from him. Now, I’m not attending the Bieber concert and I’ve never seen Justin Timberlake live and I respect both these artists, but there was something that Bon Jovi had that made last night’s performance stand out from all the other live performances I’ve seen.
No, I’m not only talking about great music. There might be something magical about tens of thousands of fans singing the lyrics of ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ with as much vigour and passion as the band itself can master but it was more than that. It caught me right at the beginning of the concert when Jon Bon Jovi flashed his million-dollar smile – and that was it! That smile – humble, simple, unassuming, and filled with the love and passion of great music and those thousands of people who came to see him – see his band – perform. That’s magic right there.
And many would argue ‘oh no, it’s just the money, it’s all fake’ but there was truth and purity in that smile that emanated not only from Jon Bon Jovi himself but from all the band members. These men, on stage, doing what they do best for no other reason than that they love what they do. And no amount of glitz and glamour or fancy stage performances could match that. Truth, passion, magic, and great music – those seem to be the key ingredients to an epic rock concert. And Bon Jovi excels in all. A big shout out to this fantastic band and BigConcerts for bringing them back to South Africa after eighteen years. Hopefully we won’t have to wait that long to be rocked out of this world again …