Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi > My show reviews > FEBRUARY 21, 2003 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada

My show reviews

FEBRUARY 21, 2003 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada

120 months of passion celebrated with excitement

Venue: Bell Centre
Ticket: Floor, Row G, Seat 15
Pictures: Not available
Videos: Not available

Oh yes, yesterday night, I celebrated exactly 10 years of fierce passion for my favorite rock band, Bon Jovi. On February 21, 1993, I fell in love with Jon with Bed Of Roses and on February 21, 2003, I was in the thick of the action, very very close to my wildest dream.

I was afraid of being disappointed with my tickets in the seventh row, I had imagined all kinds of scenarios telling myself that I would not be that close. When we got to the Bell Centre and after passing through "security" who didn't check the ladies' bags, we ran into about 4 ushers who asked to see our tickets and the third one told us that we had great seats. I quickly learned why: rows A, B and C (the first 3 ones) were made of only a few seats on the left and right of the stage, all of that because of the stage setup. So, the first row in the center was D and Martin and I had seats in row G, so the fourth row!!! The view was so extraordinary; near the center of the stage, on the left side (where Richie was) and we had to lift our head to see the band well. When I saw where our seats were, I freaked out, I took Martin by the neck and I cried for a few moments, of joy of course! The Bell Centre's security guards seemed to wonder what was happening to me. So many years hoping to be THAT close to Jon and on the day of my tenth anniversary, the dream was about to come true. I was also a little afraid to not being able to hold it together when I thought about the band who was coming on stage soon. We went to the drinks stand when we arrived, because bottles of water were part of a survival kit to be so close to the stage! When we got back to our seats, I looked in row U to see if a friend from Toronto had arrived. This girl is very nice on the internet and I was dying to meet her, even more because she was at the show alone, coming directly from the show in Toronto the night before (she was in the second row on February 20). I didn't see anyone matching the description I had received from her.

After sitting for a few moments, I told myself that I had to meet her, so I partially gathered my courage and I went to row U once again. There was a woman about her age with resembling traits, but I could see that she was looking at me and she wasn't doing anything, even if I had told her that I would come to see her. In short, when I returned to my seat, Martin laughed at me and told me to go talk to this girl. At worst, she was a girl I would never see again if it wasn't her! So, I fully gathered my courage this time and I couldn't quite decide to go in again while I was at the edge of her row and I finally made my decision; I went into row V which was empty and I repeated to her: "Hi, hello, excuse me..." without her turning around, so I took drastic measures and I tapped her gently on the shoulder. I told her: "Hi, are you Scully?" and she said yes, so I introduced myself under the name of Squish, my name on the internet. She is very nice in person, we chatted for about 10 minutes. I found myself very good at finding questions spontaneously.

I noticed another thing when I wandered through the rows. Several girls had their cellular phones open and some of them were even talking in them by putting their finger in the ear that wasn't used and by screaming so the other person would hear them. They knew people in the bleachers and they were trying to see where each of them was. It was funny seeing them when they were screaming and then, they were waving towards the person they were trying to locate.

When I got back to my seat, the Goo Goo Dolls came on stage. They played their biggest hits for 45 minutes. The girls in front of us were really into it, they seemed to like them, because they knew the lyrics. In their set list, Iris, Slide and Name caught my attention the most. At the end of the first act, the roadies tore down the Goo Goo Dolls set lists and they gave them to the people who wanted them. It was weird being so close, because from far away, we don't have the chance to see all these details.

I told myself that if I wanted to go to the restroom, it was the time, so I went by myself. Imagine that: 8 toilets for all the girls on the floor! There was a huge waiting line so long that I decided to go get myself another bottle of water while waiting for all the girls to be done. I waited for 10 minutes in line; the guys' restroom was just beside and several girls were taking the chance. It was very tempting indeed, because there was no line! Anyway, I stayed in line after seeing a dozen of girls go in the guys' restroom. Let's say that you don't care as much about hygiene when 20 girls are waiting for the same toilet! (But the hand washing was very popular!) Anyway, when I came back to my seat, I saw beside whom we would spend the evening. Let's simply say that we were very packed in the row! Let's say that I had to take as little space as possible! I thought that there were only girls in top shape in the first rows... In short, the girls were very nice nonetheless! :) And they had at least one thing in common with me! :)

I also saw Marilyn, another fan met through a chatroom a few years ago already. She was in the row beside us, on the other side. She saw me at the same time I saw her and we waved at each other from a distance. I thought it was cool, because several women seemed to know each other in the first rows and were fraternizing very much. I really felt at ease, even if they weren't talking to me. When I was with Scully, Martin heard that the three girls in front of us saw them in New Jersey and they seemed like Americans as well, so it is possible that they were from there. It was a funny feeling to be under the impression that I had already seen these women... Similarity among Bon Jovi fans or simply because I had seen them in a magazine; no matter what, everyone was enjoying themselves.

At some point, 10 minutes before Bon Jovi took the stage, I heard plenty of girls scream and I quite knew that there was a famous person near us. I immediately recognized Stéphanie Cloutier, Véronique Cloutier's sister, who was there, in the aisle beside us (we were in the fifth and sixth seats of the row). I quickly realized that the guy who was with her was José Théodore, the Montreal Canadiens' goaltender. He is the same guy as on TV so much, he doesn't seem complicated at all. Several girls had their picture taken with him, even if his girlfriend didn't seem very pleased. Martin and I almost went to talk to him, but we stopped ourselves. The girl beside me asked me in English who was drawing the attention like that. When I told her that it was José, she said: "Oh ok!" and she eagerly looked on her right as well. Since she was speaking in English, I told myself that she could come from elsewhere, so I continued explaining to her that it was the Canadiens' goaltender. She seemed to know who he was though.

The girls in row D (the first row in the center of the stage) received carton bracelets to prove that they had the right to come closer to the stage since they were not hiding anyone and they were in the first row anyway. Lucky girls!! They were where the barricade that separates the stage from the spectators and where the bodyguards and the Bell Centre's security guards were.

The waiting was not too long after that, barely 25 minutes before the lights went off! People were doing the wave in the bleachers, it was quite unbelievable. Usually, the band keeps us waiting a little longer than that, mostly when the crowd is into it. Anyway, it was extraordinary to look up and see 16 000 people impatient to see their idols, just like me.

The show began at 8h45 pm and it ended at 11h15 pm. Big antennas (3) were revealed when the band was still not on stage and they were turning towards us slowly. These antennas did their part at being giant screens throughout the whole show, except at the end when the roadies made them turn on each side. The whole band arrived, one by one, on a dark stage. I saw Richie come on our side, almost just in front of us and Jon came on stage hurtling in with the lights that turned on suddenly! The ecstatic audience welcomed Bon Jovi while the band was trying to start playing Bounce despite the noise that everyone was making. We had a hard time figuring out that the song had started!

The list of songs that they played is:


For the first time, I didn't write the names of the songs down, so I relied on the Bon Jovi official website. I was into it too much, my pen and my piece of paper stayed in my pockets! :)

I took a lot of pictures (two complete rolls!), mostly at the beginning. It was unbelievable how close the band was to us!!!! Even David, who was on the other side of the stage at his keyboards, was close. We spent the whole show singing really loudly (mostly the first rows on the floor which are really into it!) and by raising our head to see the band. Jon was so close, we could see the hair on his chest growing back slowly (he was "waxing" it before), the fingerprints on his guitar and Richie's guitar as well as the blue of his eyes. I couldn't believe yet how my dream was coming true beautifully. Obviously, during Bounce, Jon went around the stage and he came to our side. I jumped so much to make him see me, I don't know if he were doing it on purpose, but he didn't seem to notice it. It was funny, because when Jon was going away from the center of the stage, all the girls were jingling by raising their arms and by screaming to make Jon notice them. Obviously, I wasn't an exception to the rule! A girl with a flag from Great Britain who was not far away from us caught Jon's attention first. Jon then waved at her and told her to join them on stage in the pits.

I would like to clarify something before continuing. Bon Jovi is a band who is very close to their public and the public gives back a lot to them. The members then decided, a few years ago, to put two "pits", on each side of the stage, so the fans who wanted to be "on stage" with them for two, three or four songs were able to. These people get a special bracelet allowing them to go in these pits a little elevated from the stage with the band's bodyguards' approval. When girls are there, Jon goes from time to time to greet them and take their hand, one by one, to spoil them a little. However, nobody is with them playing and singing. So, don't believe everything you see at Star Académie. The girl got a stage pass like they call them and that gave her the opportunity to be in one of these pits for two or three songs. She didn't sing with them and I don't think it's possible until you are a VERY good friend of the band or an international star!!!

For that matter, I remember that there were security guards who were asking for tickets to the first few people at the end of the rows (ours included) and they were the ones choosing the lucky ones who were going on stage in the pits. I don't know if they use the same system everywhere else, but I was also surprised that they were choosing them like that, that they did as they pleased. Two girls in the row in front of us went once, and the girl at the end of the row went again a second time afterwards. There is always a risk for the singer when people are so close to him and he steps forward to greet them. A girl even tried to grab his butt and also the part in front! Hahaha He quickly stepped back before it got worse!!!

There were two extensions (catwalks) to the stage on each side that allowed Jon to go shake hands with at least the people in the first 5 rows of the red seats (in the bleachers) who were just well positioned with the end of the catwalk; they were separated by a barricade that prevented Jon from falling off the stage! The girls were all excited when he was going on either one of these ends, they reminded me of my memories of the time I was so close also in July 2001. For that matter, there was a girl in the first rows on the left side of the stage who was alone in front of the stage, and she received preferential treatments (long looks) from Jon when he went on the left catwalk!

Another mystery was solved. I had told Scully that I would be careful when taking pictures to avoid being seen by the guards. She told me that nobody looks for cameras... I saw this very well also. There were women who were selling disposable cameras before the show so the people could have memories. During the show, a girl in a row further back from us came forward and the guard let her go after she showed her camera. She stood just in front of the guard and right before his eyes, she took a beautiful picture of Jon in action. One person out of two in the rows in front of us had cameras! And nobody ever complained. The guards had told us that they could take them from us if they saw flashes, but everyone used flashes and nobody ever took a camera from anybody. I found it very courteous from the people in the first rows who would lean over or step aside when another person wanted to take a picture of the band. Everyone was aware that each of us wanted to immortalize this magical moment. There were even girls who couldn't get closer to the stage (because they were expelled from there by guards as soon as they got closer to the tenth row) who gave their cameras to some girls in the first rows and these latter were taking a lot of pictures of Jon and then, they were giving back the cameras to their owners...

All these little things ensure that we are never bored on the floor during a Bon Jovi show. I looked at the crowd behind us often and it captivated me how the people, even the ones at the other side of the Bell Centre and in the blue seats, were into it and were raising their arms during the classics. It is very special to see this kind of enthusiasm. Moreover, so many things happen near us and the stage that we get a little distracted by the action. We are really with the band and we are part of the privileged ones who see the whole show, from the little wink aimed at a beautiful girl to the finger pointed by Jon at the crowd to make a girl happy. Also, we were too close to be able to concentrate on what was happening on the giant screens. When the stage camera showed the crowd, it showed us a few times, but it was hard to see clearly because of the small distance that separated us from the band! However we could see everything in action that the stage camera caught which was shown on the giant screens. We were very close to see that! Several people probably saw us a few times. Just like Jon.

Oh yes, during It's My Life, Jon came right in front of me and by the beauty of his eyes and the accuracy with which he could stare at me, I know he looked at me. During 1 minute or 2 seconds, I have no idea. All I know, it's the feeling of being so happy that he took the time to look at a girl who has been crazy about him for 120 months exactly, without knowing it directly for that matter. I could see Jon looking at people and recognizing them by pointing at them or making a big smile. I had the privilege of a little smile. I understand that he didn't point at me, he doesn't know me... not yet at least.

I showed the banner I had made that read: "I'm all about loving you since 10 years today" only once, by respect for the others behind me! I put it enough time up in the air (I got help from Martin obviously) during You Give Love A Bad Name that if Richie and/or Jon didn't see it, they are blind! Also, just before I had my view of the stage blocked by the banner, both were looking in our direction. In short, I think that I was satisfied by the look my idol gave me afterwards that I don't care about having spent so many hours making it. The other signs that I saw were: one with a heart shape on which the number 20 was written (I imagine that the girl loves them since they started), a fabric sign made by the Americans in front of us that had a message that I couldn't see, a sign that read: "Stay just a little longer" that was shown to the band during the encores, one that read: "We love you" and another, in the red seats this time, that read: "We'll always be there for you".

Speaking of I'll Be There For You, Richie sang during this song, allowing Jon to change his clothes. I must admit that Richie had the song pretty well and he even looked at me. I couldn't be mistaken again, unless he cannot see straight! The look of these two is sharp, communicating directly with the fans who are hungry for them. In short, during this only song where Richie could show his singer's talents, he made us sing softly the classic "oh oh oh, oh oh oh ou oh" of this song during a big 5 minutes at the end. When the song was over, he looked at us and then looked at the rest of the band and he indicated to his colleagues to continue playing, the moment was too beautiful to let it fade away. So, he played and played the melody again to allow us to prove to him that we were there, at 100% and we were enjoying ourselves.

Everything seemed so unreal, that at some point, I asked myself if I were dreaming or if I were in the middle of realizing a 10-year-old dream. It seemed like we were in a room and that a giant screen larger than life was showing images of the band. I think that until I touch one of the band members, I will not believe it!

Another girl in row F seemed to share the same opinion, because at some point, I saw her take off her cowboy hat, she buried her face in her hands and she started crying. A girl in row E saw her and she patted her on the shoulder to try to comfort her joy. Her friend, who was just beside her, took her in her arms. The girl pulled herself together and she was finally able to control her emotions. I must admit that emotion and sobbing waves came up quickly inside me a few times; I almost did the same thing as this fan, too happy to see her idols.

I saw several signs in the crowd in the red seats and Jon must have seen them, because I was able to read them very easily and we were so close that we had the same lights on us as the band members had... So, I solved another mystery once again; Jon can see the signs addressed to him. Also, when Jon was going on the stage catwalks, I could see the faces of the girls who were jumping to catch his attention and I realized that Jon could not not see them.

The people who had floor seats were very diversified. From the teenage bimbo wearing clothes I would not even wear to the mothers in their fifties who were singing as loudly as those who were 20 years old are the emotional fruit which Bon Jovi songs can bring out. Some girls were just happy to be there, others wanted to see the band very closely! In effect, despite the bodyguards, a chubby girl went on stage without warning and she ran towards Jon and Richie who were playing. When she got close to them, she panicked, she slowed down and she got closer to Jon very softly, without him knowing it. She just had the time to touch Jon's sides and touch Richie lightly before a big bodyguard ran on stage, taking her firmly by the arm and bringing her down the stage with violence. The poor girl had her moment of glory, but couldn't do anything against the mastodon who came in front of her; her being 5 feet tall, she couldn't last long! I admire Jon's calmness who looked at the girl stepping down from the stage by shrugging, feeling almost guilty of not keeping her beside him longer.

During Wanted Dead Or Alive, Richie usually changes his guitar before the electric guitar solo. He starts the song with a double neck acoustic guitar and someone brings him his electric guitar when Jon plays the last notes before the solo. I saw a kind of big guy come on Richie's side and he had a long cape with a hood on his head; he looked like an executioner who beheads people! Hahaha And also, it seemed like he was trying to fool around, Richie was almost late to start the solo!

At some point, Jon sat down on the edge of the stage in the middle and he seemed to enjoy himself there. It seemed like he wanted to be closer to his audience and mostly, to his fans who were in the first rows. It gave a more intimate look to the concert while he was talking to the crowd.

Jon didn't seem to get over the welcome that was given to his band during You Give Love A Bad Name when everybody sang. He looked at the other band members flabbergasted. At the end of a song, he even said: "You're an AMAZING crowd, man!" He couldn't believe it himself and I must admit that me neither, I had never seen this. Bon Jovi loves Montreal and it shows. The guys were very relaxed, always with a smile on their lips and they seemed to enjoy themselves like when they were 20 years old. It's true that in our area, everyone was singing on the known airs and even on the songs from Bounce. If the crowd didn't seem to get started in the bleachers (I have no idea!), on the floor, nothing could beat the singing of the fans crazy about Bon Jovi. During Wanted Dead Or Alive, several people including me started singing the lyrics when the time came without Jon and Richie starting singing themselves. I know that they wanted us to sing as one. Unfortunately, the others and I didn't sing loud enough to get the crowd started, the crowd being probably less used to this part of the show to sing the first verse of this song without the band. So, Jon had to say: "Come on, you know this one" and then, everyone sang at the top of their lungs. Jon and Richie were looking at each other and they didn't seem to believe that we were singing so loudly! It was unbelievable, I think that the 16 000 people were singing and we were almost burying the music played! Jon seemed to enjoy this warm breeze that was thrown at him, he even closed his eyes to savor the moment.

At some point, I felt a little guilty to always follow Jon with my eyes, everywhere he went on stage, while Richie was just in my field of view, so I tried to make him notice me even more by waving at him to make him understand that I loved him also.

I also noticed right in the middle of the show that the edge of our row had naturally shifted to the right, I was now in front of Martin's seat and the girl on my left was now in front of my seat! Hahahahaha By the way, yes there are chairs on the floor! And unlike what the girls behind us had said, everyone stood up until their legs couldn't hold them up anymore! Relatively to the Bell Centre ice and according to Martin, we were in one of the two team zones, that is between the blue line and the goaltender's goal. It gives an idea of how close the crowd is to the band.

During the super song Undivided, the one dedicated to the victims of 9/11, images of firefighters in New York and city buildings were shown on both giant screens on the sides of the stage. Little preferential treatment for the "numerous" guys in the room, during Bad Medicine, a nurse and her stripper club pole were shown on the screen in the middle. The nurse was half naked and let's say that she was dancing in a really explicit way. During Right Side Of Wrong, there was a mini-movie being shown on the giant screen in the middle of the stage and the movie followed the lyrics which were being sung! Unlike what I had thought, I quite loved this song live, I took Martin by the shoulders and I sang as if it were a love song (even if it is not the case at all). Before the song, David was alone on stage and he played a magnificent piano solo that sounded like a song from his solo album... Maybe it was that or maybe it was just his version of the beginning of the song.

Jon got a rose on stage at some point. He then quickly gave it back to someone in the crowd, showing in turn the love he feels for his fans. He also knows how to please women during the show! A few times, when he saw that we were all into it, he started swaying his hips and showing his butt. Girls were screaming like in the Beatles era! I couldn't resist, I even took a picture of Jon at the beginning of Shout when he had bent over and we could only see his butt! Hahaha

We almost witnessed a total control loss from the Bell Centre's security guards. Indeed, 5 or 6 guards (the ones who prevented girls from coming closer to the stage) went to calm down a troublemaker who had done something. I didn't see the event, but I clearly saw that in 5 seconds, all the girls got closer to the stage as if the guards had told them: "GO!" The number of girls in the crowd around us doubled in the main aisle, all trying to take a picture of Jon from very close! The calmness came back a few moments later when the guards did the cleanup of the girls who weren't supposed to be there.

Time flew by so quickly, the encores came faster than I thought. When 16 000 rapturous people were screaming to see the band again for the encores, the sound was so deafening that all we did was scream even louder while putting our fingers in our ears so the eardrums would hold on. This wave of screams lasted for almost 5 minutes and nobody lowered the tone. Pure craziness.

I was also rapturous, because after that, I really wonder how I could have hopped, jumped and raised my arms in the air for about the entire duration of the show, me who is not able to not be out of breath when climbing up stairs! Fortunately, I had my bottle of water that allowed me to hydrate myself a little. There were people smoking around us, it was not very good for the throat, it is still hurting for that matter (and my calves hurt because of this so pleasant exercise)! Sometimes, towards the end of the show, my voice couldn't come out anymore when I was trying to scream. I was singing at the top of my lungs as well, so my voice was not the same when I left, just like my ears! However, nothing prevented me from screaming: "I love you" and "I love you Jon" during Just Older and Right Side Of Wrong when the sound level was a little less high. When I was finishing the sentence, girls beside me were starting to scream as well in approval for loving the band and mostly Jon.

Also, during a few songs, I was anticipating the moves that Jon was doing, because I often watched the videotapes of live Bon Jovi shows and I'm now familiar with the moves he makes like raising his left arm in some manner to point at the crowd during such lyrics, etc. I don't know if it was anticipation or only telepathy (????), but it was a weird feeling to be doing the same thing he was doing, 4 rows in front of me, not even 30 feet away.

I had worked out to be able to hold my arms in the air a little. However, I almost always had my arms above my head (poor girls behind me!) and my hands got numb towards the end of the show. It was probably because of a lack of blood circulation. It was weird to feel that, it was the first time it was happening to me.

When the band played Misunderstood, Jon said: "This is the new single off of Bounce." I immediately thought: "That's it, they will play All About Lovin' You", but no, it was Misunderstood. My heart skipped a beat when I thought about it because of my banner and its message!

Richie, at the end of the last song, threw his guitar pick in our direction, but I have no idea where it landed. The band then took a bow in front of the crowd and with the number of screams that were going around in the room, the band laughed warmly, while knowing that we didn't want them to leave. Richie pretended to throw himself on the drums to tell us that we had done something similar to blowing a very strong wind, blasting him towards the drums behind him. Tico gesticulated towards the crowd like he meant: "Go back home, you don't want to see us anymore... Come on, stop applauding us, we only played in front of you the songs that we wrote!" Jon took his face in his hands, and when he removed them, he was red in the face; maybe had he been caught by a huge emotional wave and he wanted to cry in turn. The whole band simply couldn't believe it at all. Jon was tapping softly on his heart with his hands to let us know how much he was touched by our reaction.

During one of the last songs of the encores, Jon told the crowd: "We'll be back here in Montreal in..." Personally, I understood in "December", but the news reporters on TVA all understood "July". Only time will tell who was right. Maybe what he said was: "We'll be back here in Montreal in July this summer" and that's why I heard a sound that looked like "December". However, I cannot forget how the crowd reacted: a sudden flow of hand claps and high-pitched screams that almost made the whole band startle, mostly Jon. He had a big smile on his face and he had just made 16 000 people very very happy. The sound level was unbearable for the eardrums!

The woman who had the aisle seat in our row didn't stop showing a CD of a band. I wonder if it were the band called Runaway who was doing an after-hours concert downtown Montreal. She was a little irritating with this CD, because she held it in her hands almost the entire second half of the concert and she even asked the girl in front of her who had gone on stage twice if she wanted to give it to Jon when she would be in the pits... Anyway, another unsolved mystery.

I also learned, while seeing the set lists that the roadies gave to fans after the band left, that the last two songs played, Rock & Roll Music and Twist And Shout, were not planned for the show. The band then gave us two bonuses for the same price, thanking us their way for the enthusiasm that was addressed to them.

When the band left for good, a video of bloopers and funny moments of the band was shown on the giant screens. I had my picture taken in the main aisle during that time, but I had the time to see that Jon and the band had funny moments during the shooting of Everyday (the video) and that Jon tried to drink a soft drink by the nose; he was wearing an "Orange Crush" orange shirt... It was funny. I also saw Scully who had come closer to the stage after the show. When she saw me, she told me: "There you are!" and she asked me how I had enjoyed it all. I told her that I had taken 2 rolls of pictures and she gave me a thumb up while telling me that it was excellent!

My whole body was hurting so much when we got out, and my feet were killing me more particularly. I feel empty since this time, my ribs, arms, legs and feet hurt since the concert. What a nice way to spend our tenth anniversary of devotion for the best band there is!

When I went to get my first roll of pictures from the show developed at Walmart, I heard one of the clerks talking about a girl who had come the same morning with 3 rolls from the Bon Jovi show and she had asked 7 copies of each roll! The girl must feel confident towards the pictures to immediately ask for 7 copies! About 200$ in development, it is not cheap! I was waiting for my roll which a panoramic picture that I took of Jon was on and I saw that the picture was out. One of the clerks told the other one: "Look, come see this!" And they both fell in love with the picture. The youngest clerk then told me: "You went to the Bon Jovi show last night? Wow, you were close, you must have spent a night waiting in line to get so great tickets!" I told her that I was in the fourth row and that I had not waited at all with their new album. She seemed really intrigued by that... I think that after her shift, she went to buy Bounce! Hahaha She simply added: "Anyway, you got an eyeful, this is what matters!" It's fun to know that several people met anywhere share the same opinion. :)

Copyright © February 22, 2003 Marie-Hélène Cyr

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