I remember sitting in the bleachers of a home high school basketball game my friend Mary asking me and a few friends if we wanted to see a fairly new but popular band named Bon Jovi. The year was 1990 and it would be my first concert ever.
Going to a concert back in the old days and getting tickets to the Bon Jovi concert was quite different than present day. There was no click on a website and paying by credit card. If you wanted to get tickets it was a whole different experience.
I remember being picked up at an unheard of time in the early morning, probably around 4:00 a.m. to go to stand in line in the cold at Southern Illinois University (SIU) Arena in Carbondale, Illinois. You had to get to the line that was forming to get a lottery ticket for when the actual concert tickets went on sale, and then stand in that line to buy them.
Our group of seven high schoolers settled into our place in line armed with coats, blankets, a thermos of hot cocoa and money. We stood in the cold for three hours until the lottery tickets were given out. It was FREEZING and my dad had given me a heavy blanket that he was issued while he was in the Navy. Unfortunately when the girls in our group put our blankets in a pile while we used the restroom, mine was the only one that got stolen – somebody knew what kind of nice, heavy Navy blanket they were stealing out of five or so blankets (yes, you are out there and I remember!).
Anyway, we finally got our lottery ticket which placed our group in the first 100 people in line, so we didn’t have to wait long to purchase our concert tickets. If I remember right, they were around $14.00, which seemed like a lot of money back then, especially in high school!
I was a good girl in high school and hung out with other good girls and boys, so sorry – there are no wild and crazy stories of getting drunk, doing drugs, or getting arrested before or after the concert! The night of the Bon Jovi concert was exciting and I was anxious too, because I had no idea what to expect.
We arrived at the SIU Arena and the mass of people was amazing! People were in all sorts of dress, from rocked out with black leather jackets, torn jeans, chains and spiked hair to those girls like me in a cute polo shirt and jean skirt and white ankle socks in my brand new ultra-white Keds (those shoes were so ‘in’ during high school!). I had no rock-n-roll about me or how I dressed so you could say I fell into the preppy crowd. I do remember my hair being almost as big as Jon Bon Jovi’s hair and we probably used about the same amount of hairspray!
The opening band was Skid Row and they were awesome! Big hair, big loud music, and an amazing show! People were yelling the music and people were smoking (all sorts of things!) which just about choked me out having never even thought about having a cigarette ever in my life! Skid Row was a great opening band and got everybody pumped.
Then Bon Jovi took the stage and everybody went CRAZY! Everybody was singing “Living on a Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” at the top of their lungs, the light show was awesome, and girls were literally crying out their love for the band members. Being a newbie to a rock concert I watched what my friends were doing, so I screamed, sang, threw my hands around and jumped around. I probably looked a little ridiculous, but I didn’t know any better and I had a great time.
I remember filing out of the SIU Arena with the thousands of other people, my eyes burning because of how much smoke was in the air, but on a concert high. I did buy a Bon Jovi t-shirt as a souvenir and I probably have the ticket stub somewhere in my belongings. Anyway, my friends and I headed to Denny’s to get cheap, greasy food and talk about the Bon Jovi concert. Having no car and the earliest curfew, I didn’t get to stay out too late before my friends had to take me home. It was an amazing night and I remember that Bon Jovi concert vividly.
Nowadays, it is so easy to get tickets with a few clicks of a mouse, arenas are non-smoking for the most part but there is a constant out of it all – Bon Jovi! Bon Jovi has stood the test of time and is still making rock music and selling out concerts. I think it’s pretty awesome I got to see Bon Jovi when they were just starting out – that makes me how old? I’ll let you guess (grin!).