Bon Jovi @ Amsterdam Arena

\r\nFriday 13th 2008. Thank god we are nothing but superstitious but then again, who gives a deamn when it comes to going to a BON JOVI show?
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\r\nIt had to take 20 years since the release of the legendary «Slippery When Wet» which shook our entire adolescence and almost 15 years since the release of «Keep the Faith», which meant to be the one to close a chapter in their career (with Αlec John Such on the base). It had to be 8 months since we purchased our e-ticket for the show, 3 and a half hours of air flight from El. Venizelos to a city where sun goes down at midnight and rises 4 a.m., and 2.914chilometers till we meet in Amsterdam Arena!\r\n

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\r\nWhen we arrived we bumped into more wait! Wait outside the Arena after buying the necessary merchandise, we stood in line from 16.00 pm till 18.30 pm. And inside the Arena still waiting for the support local band – but who cares anyway- who came on stage at 20.00pm. After that, surprise. 90 full minutes of the match between Holland and France. Yes the Arena’s huge screens were broadcasting live the football match within the EURO Cup competition. Everywhere you looked there was orange colour. Tshirts, hats, horns whatever you can think of. Come on already, when is Johny gonna come on stage god deamn it? Impatience is reaching its peak!! \r\n

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\r\nIt’s now 22.30 and the amazing match ends with the score 4 to 1 in favor of the Dutch and the adrenaline is flooding the Arena. The speakers are blowing lights shut down and the guitars burst out «Rockin’ all over the World». Sambora is already on stage and Jon comes on stage with the tshirt of the Dutch national team! The Arena shakes on its ground!
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\r\nThe crowd sings along even from the first notes. All senses captured in sight of the most indefinable rock performer of the last decades. You can’t even conceive you are sharing this moment with more than 50.000 people. Your whole body is under a sweet shore feeling. «Lost Highway» introducing their latest lp and we’re still trying to perceive the show has started, and you’re there, in front of them. And it hits you right between the eyes «Born to be my baby»… and you realize you wasted so much time waiting for some promoter to finally be able to bring them in Greece.
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\r\nAnd then the storm breaks and the memories come crushing in «You give love a bad name», «Raise your hands» with extra hard guitars, το «Runaway» with Dave’s keys ringing in your head… you can hardly keep your tears from falling. What takes place is amazing while Bon Jovi among with their session musicians give all they’ve got on stage!
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\r\n1,2,3,4 and an extended «Sleep when I ‘m dead» in a medley of «Gimme some lovin’» floods the Arena. Back to the future with «Whole lot of leavin’». And then it’s time to slow down. Dave takes the spotlight for the intro of «Ιn these arms» fills the air. The excellent violinist unfolds the melody and the crowd becomes one. After that «Diamond Ring» (Jon and Richie in an extremely emotional duet), and then a promise , to «Always» remember this amazing night. No one in the Arena, inlove or not stays indifferent to this captivating melody… \r\n

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\r\nBeat picks up again with «Captain Crash & the Beauty Queen From Mars», «Just Older» and an amazing lift off to the promise «Someday I ‘ll be Saturday night». John talks in a low voice, only light on stage is on his face – the camera of the screen looks him straight in the eyes- talking about picking up the dice of luck in your hands and rolling them, taking charge of your luck. Yes «We got it goin’ on», cause «Ιt ‘s my life».\r\n

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\r\nAfter all these years «Κeep the Faith». The wait takes your breath away and they give it to you, extended, with ups and downs, with jungle sounds leading to a passing through to give some «Sympathy For The Devil», feverish, inescapable, merciless… John is in a delirium, Sambora is torturing his strings, Tico is blowing up his drums reminding us what it means to be rock and how we grew up. Tears built up and this time we can’t help it! \r\n

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\r\nThe trill has no end. The next 40 minutes are leading us up to prominence. Johny goes backstage and Sambora sings «Ι’ ll be there for you» (I try not to refer to him as ¨Richie¨ out of respect to this great musician) giving a shiver down our spine. Going down in a …«Blaze of glory» blowing us up in the air like back then in 1990 when the blond released his first solo album and led everyone into believing the band is hstory. Within the history of Bon Jovi there are 10 albums but this indescribable rock star John Frank Bongiovi has also released two solo albums Blaze of Glory, 1990 - Destination Anywhere, 1997.
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\r\nAnd nothing comes between us when its «Blood on blood» that wakens memories from Μοscow Peace festival ’89 …but we were so young, so young… «Have a nice day» with dozens of little red faces with their frowned eyebrows and the devious smiles, a fully symbolic track. And then the nostalgic, sweet and melancholic «Who says you can’ t go home». In closure, after thanking Amsterdam for singing along with them for more than a dozen times, the keys from the introduction of «Living on a prayer» fill the air…that’s it! A massive prayer of 50.000 people. After all «Living on a prayer» isn’t just a song, but a hymn. A hymn of rock. But the show isn’t over yet… \r\n

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\r\nIn the encore lied a surprise for all of us! Both on stage and also in the crowd. The front row of the crowd asks for a particular song. They have written down all the lyrics word for word! Sambora laughs; John thinks about it but seems to agree, even though he doesn’t remember the lyrics! «ok, let’s do it» and after the negotiations are through acoustic guitars lead us into the path of … Unbelievable it is «Stick to your guns»!\r\n

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\r\nI can only say one thing for this song. Two months ago in their official site, I found a poll with the topic with your favorite Bon Jovi song. Without any hesitation I voted for «Stick to your guns», having no hope in my mind I could ever listen to it live. But on June 13th in the Amsterdam Arena, with my fist raised high in the air I was sucking in every single note from that unrepeatable moment the collective from New Jersey offered us. Last song of the night was «Wanted dead or alive» somewhere around one a.m. and life makes dreams come true like in a fiarytale…once upon a time, not so loooooong ago…\r\n

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\r\nkeep on rockin’ guys!
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\r\nMatina Kountourogiani
\r\nTranslation (with some personal notes): Elena Mihailidou
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