Last night I went to see a Bon Jovi tribute band called Slippery When Wet at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach. I wasn’t expecting too much, after all I am a slightly obsessive Bon Jovi fan. In fact, I remember the very moment I fell in love with Jon Bon Jovi.
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The year was 1984. “I want my MTV!” was the chant of our rebellious generation. The all-music channel had taken over our young lives and the introduction of the music video would change music forever.
A video called She Don’t Know Me was about to début – (the second single released from their début album Bon Jovi.) was about to be played on MTV. I was lounging on the couch and decided to get up to grab a Pepsi and some Doritos. (those were the days) As I walked into the kitchen, the video started playing and it stopped me in my tracks. I turned around to the most beautiful man I’d ever seen- with his long flowing permed hair, stone-washed jacket that beautiful teal shirt. I hit the floor- literally, I sat down on the floor to get as close as I could to our Zenith floor model TV. I will never forget that moment. Thinking back, that could have possibly been my first feeling of love at 13 years old.
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We arrived at the House of Blues, bought our tickets and went up to the balcony. My husband was content sitting in the balcony above the stage gazing down at the crowd. WHAT?! If I couldn’t see the real Bon Jovi live, then I was going to feel his music up close. I agreed to sit with him only while the opening band played and warned him that I was going down to the floor, front and center with or without him.
As I watched the opening band perform, I peered over the balcony to the crowd below. There was a good mix of fans ranging in age from 16 to 50. I thought this spoke volumes about the staying power of Bon Jovi’s music. As soon as the opening band had played their last note, I jumped up- “Come on!” I darted down the steps never looking back to see if my husband was behind me. If nothing else, I was going to hear Jon’s music performed live and tonight, that was enough for me.
I made my way through the crowd until I was standing front and center when the curtain opened. The familiar beats started and in one fluid motion, Jon Bon Jovi (aka Jason Morey) ran across the stage, grabbed the mic and with one hand pointing skyward, asked if we were ready to rock! I stood motionless for a few seconds in awe of his stage presence. I gave him a quick critique. He had the haircut, the body and the clothes but could give a worthy performance?
They started off the night with the 2009 hit- We Weren’t Born To Follow and was immediately taken back by the way the band members were all in character from Richie Sambora (Anthony Cappolino) to “Tico” Torres (Brian John Martin) to Hugh McDonald (Brian Nielson). Not only did Jason have the moves down, he sounded like JBJ too! I was impressed! He’d passed my test with flying colors! After a few verses, I started belting out the words along with the crowd.
I felt my husband standing in the usual husband place- right behind me. As I jumped up and down and danced, I had no fear because I knew he was there to catch me if I stumbled (from excitement not from all the beer… yeah that’s it.) Once in a while, I’d spin around and sing a lyric or two to my husband- “Oh oh we’re half way there, Oh OH livin’ on a prayer, take my hand and we’ll make it I swear…” then jump back around to face the band. I did notice that my husband wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic as I was but I couldn’t let his slight disconnect keep me from being the best Bon Jovi fan I could be.
Jason, Anthony, Brian M. and Brian N. rocked us all! Each song was met with more enthusiasm than the last. I saw a few lighters in the sky, which really made me nostalgic. The best part of the night was when Jon…err- Jason came over and sang to me (probably me), “You were born to be my baby and baby I was made to be your man.” I was flustered. How could this be?! My mind knew it wasn’t really JBJ but my other senses didn’t seem to know that. I was embarrassed at my giddiness and forgot the words to the song for a minute. By end of the show, I was sweating and screaming like a groupie. I didn’t want it to end. I wasn’t ready to return to 2012 just yet.
In those short hours, I felt connected to 500 total strangers, Some of whom could very well have stood next to me at a Bon Jovi concert in 1985- when hair bands ruled the world- when MTV was the only channel we wanted- when we rock-n-rolled all night and partied every day. That night we were all together again- young and free. Although nobody, and I mean NO-BOD-Y can ever make me feel like Bon Jovi, these guys are a close second to the sound, performance and passion of the band Bon Jovi.
For a diehard Bon Jovi fan or just a fan of really great rock music, Slippery When Wet, The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute is the total experience- totally. In 2007 the band was officially authorized by Bon Jovi to perform their highly entertaining show. The band’s drive, musical ability, showmanship and dedication to duplicating the Bon Jovi live experience simply cannot be outdone*