Friday, February 25, 2011

MSG1: No Apologies

The Big Apple. The Greatest City in the Universe.
And at the Center of it All ... Madison Square Garden.

There's nothing like getting excited about your hometown show. Those are the ones you wait for ... the ones you work for. So my friend K and I decided to do the VIP packages for these first two nights (which is why I have taught 3 zillion classes over the past six months. LOL)

I always love shows in NYC because so many people travel here to see them. Some of you know that even two of my crazy Gs (aka "the crazy Germans") decided to fly over at the last minute. Friends from all over the U.S. are in town so every show here is like a family reunion. :-)

So, K and I met at the venue and headed up to the VIP dinner. There was Jovi on the sound system and the video screens and the room was decorated with pictures of the band (most we recognized) as well as some of Tico's artwork ...

and two of the infamous Jovi slot machines. Of course, I HAD to try those out.

Dinner itself was nice. And the never-ending supply of wine always makes BAJG a happy girl. Seems that due to union rules, the raffle they usually have for memorabilia had to be replaced by the staff just randomly giving stuff away. I haven't actually seen the merchandise that comes with the package yet -- but from what we heard it includes a bag, blanket, scarf, hat, leather journal, water bottle and tour program amongst other things. I did get one of my sets of the lithographs ... which are GORGEOUS! ... seriously, my mom is gonna try to steal the one of Tico. LOL

After dinner, we went down to the arena for the show. I was so happy they opened with Last Man Standing. I absolutely LOVE that song and it brings me back to that legendary MSG show during the HAND tour. I took advantage of Jon being at the back to get some pictures of Richie up at the front... :-)

I must say that Jon must have really hauled tush to get back to the stage so quickly because before I knew it, he was up there and they launched into Bad Name ...

Overall, I thought the set list was just fine. The more I listen to The More Things Change, the more I continue to laugh ... the lyrics are just so incredibly spot-on.

"...It’s the same damn song with a different melody

The market keeps on crashin’
Tattered jeans are back in fashion
‘Stead of records, now it’s MP3s

If you hang in long enough they say you’re comin’ back
Just take a look, we’re living proof and baby that’s a fact..."

Seriously! Between Last Man Standing and The More Things Change, we've got some great commentary on the music industry. LOL Anyhoo, I always love hearing In These Arms (encore) and Jon Bon Jovi's vocals on WWWB continue to astound me. Beautiful song ... beautiful lighting!


And certainly one of the absolute highlights of the night was this performance:

No Apologies just works SO WELL live and it seemed to energize Jon even more. As an aside: I must admit, the crowd in Montreal was much more alive (sorry fellow NYC-ites ... tis true.) But Jon was engaging as always, commenting about the Knicks' recent acquisition, the band's history in MSG and (my favorite moment) when he introduced Richie as "Joan's baby boy" ... that was sweet. I didn't see her, but you KNOW Mrs. Sambora was somewhere in the crowd ... singing and dancing, like always.

In terms of the band, I actually felt they played much better in Pittsburgh. There were some strange moments musically throughout that made me think Jon was a bit distracted (totally feasible given the venue and probably being pulled in different directions with family, friends, etc. there) There were transitions that just didn't flow quite right. I have a feeling tonight will be a bit tighter ensemble-wise. As those who read this blog know, I never pull any punches when it comes to writing about music ... #NoApologies. :-)

Overall, it was a great night. I can't wait to see what they have in store for us in round 2!

But, while we wait for this evening to come 'round, here are some pictures ...

...probably my favorite action shot of the night...

I'm a JonGirl thru-and-thru, but ohhh Richie ...

...and I just love this one... :-)

Okay, well that's all for now. I should try to get some work done before, as Yogi Berra said "DejaVu all over again!"

Til later.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh Canada!

Bonjour Jovinuts! Hope this finds you all well ... and for those in the U.S., enjoying this Presidents Day holiday. I'm certainly grateful for it after the whirlwind 36 hours I subjected myself to this weekend.

Yes, as many of you know, I decided at the last minute to take a trip up to Montreal for Bon Jovi night 2. So, there I was on the midnight bus from Port Authority ... very much like that scene out of Harry Potter. Luckily, I arrived in one piece as the sun came up in freezing cold, snowy Canada ... hey! they don't call it The Great White North for nothing. LOL

I got a killer rate on a hotel one BLOCK from the venue so I spent the day just relaxing, catching up with friends and watching a bit of tv. By the way, you know you’re in Canada when:

1. Curling is one of the streaming scores on TSN (the Canadian ESPN)
2. You turn on the TV and a classic BON JOVI video is playing ... in this case, “These Days” ... wow, what a treat! They continued featuring the band all day, including the NMS dvd right as I was getting ready to go to the arena. Canada always has great media coverage of Jovi.

Anyhoo, after meeting up with my friend L and her husband for a relaxing pre-concert drink, we headed over to the Bell Centre. With no opening act, we expected 'the boys' to go on around 8ish. Adding to my excitement of the show (for the tales of the Montreal crowds are legendary) was that I was going to meet my friend Juliedreamon in person. She and I have known eachother online for YEARS but always seemed to miss eachother at shows. Not this time!

Well, I thought I was prepared for the cheer from the crowd ... but I wasn't. Holy moly! Those Québécois definitely LOVE their Jovi and that was apparent from the minute the screen started and the roar engulfed the venue. Wow!

Because it was so last-minute, I was happy to get whatever seat I could ... which ended up being a few rows off the circle on Richie's side. Not bad ... but I was grateful for the 26x zoom on the new camera. LOL

Speaking of which, here are a few shots ... (I posted some of these on Twitter that night as well)

...Jon was pumped by the crowd...

...and Richie Sambora was ON FIRE (including a super-bluesy fun LYHOM)...

...probably my favorite shot of the night...

...Living in Sin/Chapel of Love was a great treat...

...I liked this shot as well...

...and it's always a rare thing to get some good shots of Tico Torres...

...there was this great moment with Richie and Hugh rockin' out...

...and I almost missed being close enough to make David do the hand motions during Who Says ...

...Jon DID sing his heart out...

...but the star of the night was the crowd in Montreal which brought Jon Bon Jovi to his knees ...

I have been to a lot of shows. I have experienced some great crowds ... but this one definitely ranked up there in the top 2 or 3 all-time. Absolutely amazing.

After the show, I was back at the hotel in like 10 minutes. LOL I'm DEFINITELY staying there again ... I was uploading pictures while the venue was still clearing out! (Thanks to all who stayed up and joined the post-concert Twitter picture party.)

The next morning, after making the mandatory stop at Tim Horton's for coffee and some donuts for the bus, I headed back to New York. No major drama this time in terms of travel ... though, it was an interesting moment when we stopped at the border and the security dog went BONKERS over the joint that some college kid forgot he had in his pocket. Luckily, the pooch didn't get the munchies too badly ... he would have had to fight me for those donuts! Haha.

So, what's up next? The absolute CHAOS that is the next two weeks ... wanna see the calendar?

Tuesday - Lorenza Ponce at The Living Room
Wednesday - two of my crazy Germans arrive for ...
Thursday - Bon Jovi at MSG
Friday - Bon Jovi at MSG
Saturday - Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes in Montclair, NJ
Sunday - Bon Jovi at Verizon Center

Wednesday - NYC Hit Squad (with Jeff Kazee, Jukes horns, Christine Ohlman) at Iridium (I am missing the Philly Jovishow for the first time in like SIX tours!)
Friday - Lorenza Ponce and Bon Jovi at Mohegan
Saturday - Bon Jovi at MSG
Sunday/Monday - BAJG sleeps for two days straight ROFL

...and the wheels keep on turning... :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

This is Love...This is LIFE

Well, Happy Monday morning y'all! *said with totally fake enthusiasm*

It's definitely going to be a slow, lazy Monday for me as I'm still recovering -- mentally and physically -- from the extraordinary show "that damn band" put on in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

I have done some pretty crazy travel things over the years in the name of good music -- so this past weekend wasn't really so out of the norm I guess. Still, it's a lot of time sitting on your tush. Strangely reminiscent of that 18-hour round-trip train ride to Niagara Falls for the Asbury Jukes, my trip to see Bon Jovi in Pittsburgh made me appreciate my iPod and Blackberry even more...the iPod for obvious reasons and the Blackberry so that I could follow Jeff Kazee's play-by-play of the Grammys last night. (If you've never followed one of his "award show evenings in front of the TV" you really should ... some seriously witty stuff. You can find him on Twitter at ... well ... @jeffkazee ... LOL)

Now, on to the show on Saturday. I'm bummed I missed Friday, but after not being at work on Wednesday and Thursday for "the Lorenza show", I figured I should probably put an appearance in at the office before they FIRE me! LOL ...

My friend S and I were blessed with great pit tickets on David's side. I swear that everybody and their brother was there - friends from ALL over the place -- Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Cincinnati, DC, Philly, Jersey and more! And I was incredibly relieved that both my girls who missed the Starland show due to the snow were there to enjoy this incredible night.

From the moment the screen went up and they launched into "Just Older", you just knew it was going to be one of those nights. Oh, and it was! Any lingering worries I'd had after Wednesday's State College show (yay Lorenza!) about J&R being sick were obliterated by Richie Sambora's wailing guitar and Jon Bon Jovi's unbelievable energy and super-strong vocals. I want some of whatever was in their chicken soup!!

To all those who were disappointed that I didn't do the pbp (awww...thanks!), sorry, but there was just no way to do that and try out my new camera and still actually ENJOY the show at the same time. But, I think my random "Holy Crap!" and "This is insane!" tweets pretty much summed up the evening.

What a treat to hear two of the new songs from the Greatest Hits album - The More Things Change and (my personal fave) This Is Love, This is Life. I have to say that I hope they add This is Love to the regular set list. It worked VERY well live. That was one song where I just put down the camera and sang my heart out. Somehow I feel very connected to the song. *sigh*

Speaking of "the camera" ... a number of you asked last night on Twitter what I got. Well, it's the Nikon P100. And so far, so good. A big THANK YOU to my friend CY who fixed all the settings (since I had just bought the darn thing less than 24 hours before the show. LOL)

So, let's get down to business ...

...this ad for your local dentist brought to you by JBJ...

...those dance lessons are really paying off, my friend!...

Jon: "Damn that Sambora is good! ...

... but, HA! I have a better butt!"

... seriously, folks...the show was great. Jon sounded fantastic on Hallelujah...

...and NOBODY hits like Tico -- and y'all know my mom will be happy I got some decent pics of him! :-) ...

Heck, I even got a good shot of Hugh on the other side of the stage in the dark!

Richie was so funny during LYHOM ... very flirty and bluesy ...

...this was one of my favorite shots of the night...

...and oh, yes, almost forgot David (who sang along and did the hand motions with me on Who Says ... #DefinitelyMadeThatSongMoreBearable LOL) ...

I still have about 300 shots to go thru, so I may post some more later. But, for now, I will leave you with just a few more ...

Ok...I have to get some ACTUAL work done now. Will be back later.

Until then, be safe, be strong, be yourself because ...



Friday, February 11, 2011

Another Opening, Another Show...

Greetings from the Frozen Apple! Ya know...last year around this time I was in Hawaii, hanging with friends and seeing Jovi shows. Well, as Meatloaf would sing "two out of three ain't bad." Haha.

So...State College, Pennsylvania (... umm definitely NOT Honolulu.)

My attending this show came VERY last-minute. But, I truly believe it was meant to be ... for the sole reason that this was Lorenza Ponce's big solo debut with her band. Thanks to everyone who kept the #TeamLorenza hashtag going. *smile* (And I really appreciate everyone who followed the play-by-play on Twitter and tweeted/texted when they saw me during the live stream.)

As many of you know by now, I don't drive. Haven't had a license since I was maybe 17 or 18. Living in NYC you really don't need one. The only problem is I tend to travel outside of NYC ... A LOT. So I ended up taking the Chinatown bus to State College for the show. The term "Chinatown bus" is actually a general name for several different privately-owned bus companies whose "buses" depart from ... well ... Chinatown. Duh. Please note that the word buses is in quotes ...

After stocking up on roast pork and sweet corn sticky buns (yay, I LOVE food in NYC), my buddy @hugsy2k and I headed for the pick-up point. After several false sightings -- including the bus for the County Jail and what turned out to be a large green sanitation truck -- an old 18-seat Mercedes van-type thing pulled up. L and I said a quick prayer and climbed in. The journey wasn't too bad ... much shorter than "that other trip." There WAS an awkward moment, however, when they purposely left some guy in a McDonald's parking lot somewhere in the middle of Pennsylvania claiming he never paid for his ticket. Ayyy!

Anyhoo, we arrive in State College, meet up with our friend Ryan and head over to the venue. All three of us are fervent supporters of Lorenza and jumping out of our skin with excitement to see her on her big night. Inside the venue, the stage set-up is basically the same as the last leg, though the pit is MUCH smaller ... only six rows this time. Enjoyed talking with old friends--Jovishows are always mini-reunions--until the lights went out.

And then out came Lorenza ... totally rockin' in her leather pants and GORGEOUS White Trash Beautiful top. And she's singing and playing and moving around the stage, working the audience and having a great time. It's amazing to think that just a year ago, she kicked off her first pre-album-release shows at The Living Room. This ride is going FAST so hang on! She did a good selection of songs from her current CD and I happily sang along to every track. LOL

After her set, we went backstage to congratulate her - smiling, hugs, laughter all around. Trying to stay out of the way as the crew got ready for the band to enter, I ended up watching the Bon Jovi boys take their places behind the screen, finally running back to my seat after Jon had gone up the stairs to the stage. A slightly surreal experience.

I know many of you watched the UStream of the show ... how nice that they extended it to over an hour! The set list was as expected for the first show back after the break. And yes, I was happy Lorenza came back on stage for Who Says ... and yes, she totally made me laugh during the whole thing knowing EXACTLY how I feel about that song. (Sorry Jonny...didn't mean to distract her. And for the record, I did raise my hands ... a little. LOL)

Overall, it was a fun "let's get back into it" show complete with some more ... let's just say 'flavorful' chords here and there. I felt for Richie who was fighting a head cold and Jon who seemed on the verge of being the next in his family to get sick. Hope they take care of themselves ... a lot of big shows in a short period of time over the next few weeks. The thing is ... those two guys sick can STILL can kick butt.

I'm not sure if there is a curfew there at Penn State (nice of Jon to throw on a jersey for the final song by the way) because it seemed on the short-ish side. That is, short for a Jovishow ... which is still considerably longer than just about any other touring artist out there. #justsaying

AND, after 15+ shows already on The Circle/Greatest Hits tour, I FINALLY got a frickin' chair. Several times I've been like 1 seat away from "the chair" or ended up in the first row at a venue that wasn't offering "the chair", so getting an extremely expensive metal folding chair (at ticket-only price!) was just the perfect ending to a great night! Though, as I said on Twitter yesterday, at some point during my journey up to my fourth floor walk-up apartment, it went from "the chair!" to "the DAMN chair" LOL Nonetheless, it is proudly sitting in the corner. :-)

So, what's next?

Well, the bus to Pittsburgh leaves at 6:50am tomorrow morning. #IntravenousCoffeePlease

p.s. and good news! I'm getting a new camera today, so hopefully pictures will be MUCH better going forward. #NoGuarantees ;-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Greetings Jovifriends! Just wanted to give you the heads up that I will be doing a play-by-play on Twitter (@bigapplejovi) from the first night of the next leg of Bon Jovi's The Circle Tour (are we still calling it that? or is it just BJ Live 2011 now? hmmm....)

Wednesday, February 9th
State College, PA

A public thank you to Jon Bon Jovi because the super-fabulous Lorenza Ponce and her band will be taking to the stage to kick off the night. I CAN'T FRICKIN' WAIT! I'm so excited for her! I'll be using the hashtag #TeamLorenza throughout the set (or at least as much as I can while texting and still singing, smiling and dancing my way thru the show.)

Don't forget that there will also be a live UStream of the first half-hour of the show. Look for me! I'll be front row (yes I get "the chair" LOL) on Richie's side ... maybe I should wear the infamous green shirt? Haha.

Enjoy! See you on the road!