So on Wednesday last we realized that my sister’s out-of-town Saturday performance conflicted with the Bon Jovi concert and that meant it was nearly impossible for Mom to go to Deirdre’s show and then babysit, and after a bit of discussion, agreed that the thing to do was for me to ask Kate to come up and go to the concert with me, and then next week Ted would go down to Cork and go to the ZZ Top concert with her while I held down the (newly moved, by then) fort.
Kate, effectively, said, “Squee!” and came up Saturday morning so we could catch a 1pm bus out to Slane Castle, where Bon Jovi was playing. I had our Diamond Circle upgrade printout tickets and all was well.
Nobody told us it was a 3 mile walk from the bus stop to the venue. Seriously, 3 miles. (On our way back after the concert, Kate, solemnly, said, “Well, I’m glad to have gotten my 10,000 steps in for the year,” which kept me laughing for the rest of the walk to the buses. :)) It was very pretty, though!
Anyway, we got dropped off at about 1:30 and got up to what appeared to be the castle gates:
at about 10 to 2. There, I said to the security people, “We have Diamond tickets! Where should we go?” “Here is fine,” they said, and since the gates weren’t going to open until 3, we sat down and ate grapes:
and chatted and had a great time. At 3ish, where ish lands after, not before, the hour, we were let through and walked and walked and walked and WALKED and walked until we got to the venue. Which was pretty darn impressive, actually:
We concluded the smart thing to do was eat some of the awful food right away, because we were hungry and didn’t want to have to walk back up the hill for awful food, so we got burgers and hot dogs and sat down and ate. While sitting, we saw an information booth down below us and said, “Grand! They’ll be able to tell us where to go to get our actual Diamond Circle tickets and wristbands and loot!”
You can see where that’s going, can’t you.
“Gosh,” they said, “you should be able to go right in from anywhere.” So we went down to the closer entrance, where the lowest-level security guys stared at our pieces of paper and our bandless wrists and after a minute yelled for Tony, who was wearing a Yellow Security Jacket of Slightly More Importance.
Tony, who was charming, examined our tickets, said, “I could let you in with these, but you couldn’t get back in again if you had to go out to use the loo. Let me go see where you need to go,” and walked off with our tickets. The first opening band came on.
Twenty minutes or so later he returned, said he’d found somebody, and escorted us through the circle to the other side, where a group of 12 or 15 others in more or less our situation were also hanging out. A harried-looking security guy of Lesser Importance was trying to figure out what to do with all of us, and finally said he’d go find somebody. While he did that, the first opening band finished and we all compared notes. Some of us were like me and Kate, who had upgraded from Gold to Diamond circle tickets. Some were fan club members who had no tickets at *all*. There was a guy who actually *had* tickets but they wouldn’t let him in because he had no wristband. Etc.
After a while a woman in a Security Jacket of Greater Importance came out and started looking at our tickets. She looked at three sets and then stared at us and said, “How did you even *get* this far? I have to go find someone to deal with this,” and went away again.
Eventually an American came out and identified herself as the fan club liason. She looked at everybody’s tickets, wondered how we’d all gotten this far, and went away again. By this time we were sitting over on the hillside, having resigned ourselves to a long wait. I was getting a sunburn. We exchanged life stories with those around us. Everybody but me was pretty goddamned agitated, but I was entirely confident it would get sorted out and that I was then going to by God request an escort up to the front of the stage, since we had been there since 2 o’clock and had obviously been sent to the wrong place in the first place. Everyone admired this plan and the American audacity which permitted me to actually implement it, as they were all British and Irish and not that rude. :)
The second opening band came on. The fan club woman came back. She left again. She came back. She left again. She came back with about four passes. We all leapt up and she looked alarmed (she knew there were fifteen of us) and went away again. During all this we gleaned that Somewhere Out There, there was a VIP/Fan Club/Diamond Circle tent that we should have come in through. It was apparently the Long Way Around from where the buses dropped us off (which must have been a good 5 miles from the dropoff point, given how far we’d already walked), and there had been no indication at all of where we should go from the buses. Everyone around me was grumpy and agitated and glowering at the sky, which periodically threatened rain. Kate looked dubiously at me when I assured her seventy times that it would in fact remain utterly beautiful all evening. It always has when I’ve gone to an outdoors concert in Ireland.
“Yeah,” she said dourly, “but you’ve never gone with an Irish person before.”
At a quarter to six, a man we’d never seen before arrived with wristbands, bags of loot, and a list to check our names off on. We were duly checked, banded, and bagged. I said that we’d all been there since 2pm and that since we had been misdirected continuously by the staff, could we get an escort in to the front of the circle. They said they couldn’t do that. I said, “I see,” and believe me, this will be going into my letter to Slane, Bon Jovi, and Ticketmaster, but I didn’t argue about it because it was clearly not going to be worth the irritation.
As it happened, we ended up 3 people from the front, because it was surprisingly uncrowded when we went in, and indeed, we could have wormed our way farther forward but chose not to because of the height of the stage. So our placement was just fine, and by 10:45 that night we were really very glad we hadn’t been standing there since 3pm anyway, OMG.
And after all that, you know what?
The concert was freaking awesome.
I was just getting ready to get snarky at 7:43 when they hadn’t come on, because dammit, the show should start on time. But before I worked up to full snark, they were on stage–by 7:45, so yeah, not enough time for real snark. :) And they played for three hours pretty much straight; I checked my clock as it ended and it was 10:48. “He works hard for his money,” Kate said afterward, and indeed, he (and they) had.
They opened with a song from Because We Can, the newest album. I’ve only listened to it about three times, and that with the assistance of a 3 year old, so I haven’t heard it nearly as well as I’d like to, but it was a fine opener before launching into classic stuff. Kate, who is not as much of a Bon Jovi fan as I am, was surprised at how much of the set she knew (entire set list here, I won’t give you the play-by-play), and then she said she knew all the encore except one song.
Which happened to be my favorite-ever Bon Jovi song, Dry County from Keep the Faith. I’d never heard them do it in concert before and was just thrilled to bits. They ALSO did Captain Crash, which I adore. Now all I need them to do in concert is Something For The Pain and they’ll have done all my favorites. :) (And, well, okay, Bed of Roses.)
I didn’t miss Richie Sambora at all (he’s in rehab/they’re having a spat again), although usually he sings I’ll Be There For You in concert and I wondered if they’d do it. They did. :) It seemed to me that the second guitar, whose name I don’t know (he’s not an Official Member of Bon Jovi), was much more playful/got a lot more spotlight without Richie there, so I actually kind of enjoyed that. Kate made eye contact and got a nod or a grin from him a couple times, which is cool. :) :) :)
Somewhere around sunset they did What About Now, which Jon got everybody’s hands in the air for, and as it ended he was grinning like a fool and just kind of shaking his head, and after a moment he said, “You guys, this crowd, your hands in the air, this place, with the sunset and the castle…this is an image I’m never going to forget.” So I turned around and took a picture of what he was seeing. It woulda been kinda like this:
Except with about 40,000 more people in it:
There was headbanging, there was jumping up and down, there were hideously achy feet *laughs*, there was a bit of swooning, there were some jackasses who were shoving us around, and at one point when one of them had forced her way to the front and then was going back to where she belonged, Something Happened–I don’t know if it was an accident or deliberate, but she apparently scratched another woman on the arm, and the woman turned around and slapped her. People instantly pulled them off one another, but my goodness! That was exciting! And, um, well, my sympathies lay with the slapper, not the slappee. That was during the encore, and the pushy jackasses were gone before the end of the concert. I wasn’t sad about that either.
For the encore he–well, took requests, which may mean he found the person in the audience who was holding a placard for the song he intended to do, but hey, there’s a blonde girl out there for whom he called the cameraman over and said, “Here, this girl here, no, no, her, yes, her!” until she was on the big screens, and then said, “This is for you,” and sang These Days to her. To the envy of every other female (and no doubt some men) in the house. :)
This is Jon Bon Jovi not looking or pointing straight at me, even though it rather looks like it in the picture:
I think they’re getting better in concert. The RDS concert I went to a couple years ago was noticeably better than the Croke Park one from a few years before that, although I didn’t think *that* one was significantly better than the first time I saw them in, um, 1989. O.O :) Oh, but I did notice this time–and this is not the kind of thing I notice–that I’m prrrrrrrreeeeeeeetty sure Jon changed the key on a few of the earlier songs, so that it wasn’t quite as high as originally written. He did say (either in an interview or in a concert I was at) that he kinda wanted to kick his younger self’s ass for writing everything so high, and I think he has bowed to age in that small regard. So if I’m right about that (and I’m pretty sure I am), it helped quite a lot.
We had a perfectly wonderful time. It was a brilliant weekend, and I’m still tired, but wow, it was just so fun. Kate is a good person to go to a concert with!