Hard Rock Calling Review, Saturday 25th June 2011, Bon Jovi

Posted on Jul 2, 2011


The Living Legend that is Martin the Security Guard from Absolute Radio

So, after winning those four tickets with Absolute Radio I met a friend of mine in London to go and collect the gold dust that were Bon Jovi tickets for a complete sell out show.

I’ve always wanted to go to Absolute Radio and have a look around and wondered how far we’d be allowed inside. After ringing the buzzer to gain access a man came to the door with a surprised look on his face and I assumed no-one had actually heard me ring through. He was very friendly, inviting us in to reception and telling us that they were his tickets but for some reason he gave them away? Why would he do that I thought? Hell, I wasn’t complaining. So here I was in the hallowed building of Absolute Radio with the man I guess I spoke to on the phone when I won them and also a security guard who had the biggest smile on his face ever. As soon as I heard his name I knew who he was. Martin the security Guard is a famous as the station itself and I was so happy to meet him. He’s a legend and Geoff Lloyd and the Hometime Crew often have him on their show. They cheer up my afternoon’s on a weekday god love them.

So after having a picture taken of me and Martin, we head off a few doors away into a Drum shop and then a pub awaiting our other two friends to arrive. I was indeed a happy bunny that day and being in that building, all I could think of is that one day I would be a more permanent fixture there in some way or form or even a guest on a show?

After a few pubs and two friends later we eventually arrived at Hyde Park where an American woman asked to join us before we went in. We must have had friendly faces? As soon as we were in, we headed straight to the bar and caught half of Ray Davies’s set. I knew we should have got there earlier but one leads to another and we would never had met Kathy, our new found American friend. Fate is funny like that. She had a flight home at 0530 the following morning and all me and one of my mates could do was look at each other and just smile. Anyone who has ever been out with us knows that isn’t an option. You come out with us, you stay till sun up or till you drop. Three days I’ve lasted before and I don’t know how I survived it! Inhuman I suppose.

As soon as we got our food and drink we got as close to the stage as possible but to me this was where it was unfair as this year Hard Rock Calling/Live Nation had decided to put up a half moon area at the front for those paying extra or for those that get corporate hospitality. They used to have a special seating area from what I can remember last year or they would just join the rest of us reprobates. but this year they decided to push us back and treat them like royalty. I’ve been in those ‘elite circles’ before and yes it’s brilliant but that was on a first come first serve basis. You didn’t have to pay extra for it. I was disappointed yes but I was with great people and the beer kept on coming!

The time came for Bon Jovi to make their entrance. The crowd grew in anticipation and excitement. Suddenly the musicians came out to cheers followed by screams of Jon, Ritchie, Tico, David! 

The instruments came to life, the drums reverberated in our chests and then it came. Raise Your Hands was the first song they pulled out of their songbook and it blew everyone away! It was an immense start and the smiles on people’s faces made it all the better. This was going to be a three hour show and I was guessing all the songs they would do. I one of those annoying people who gets the song in the first chord played.

You Give Love A Bad Name, We Weren’t Born To Follow, In these Arms and one of my favourites from them It’s My Life Came next. It was a breathtaking first twenty minutes or so and totally blew the crowd away. Any doubters out there would have been put in their place in the first few songs.

Jon’s Solo song Blaze of Glory from the film Young Guns pleased the crowd enormously. The voices of us all rang across not only Hyde Park but London as well. They didn’t relent, firing off song after song with Lay Your Hand’s On me, Bad medicine and Pretty Woman, A Roy Orbison Cover that they did well.  Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah was also covered beautifully and there seemed to me to be an eerie quality to the way in which it was done. Or maybe that was just the alcohol that kept getting passed through to me.

The machine gun of songs rattled off from them, I’ll Be There For You, Sleep When I’m Dead, Have a Nice Day, Keep the faith, The Haunting Wanted Dead or Alive, their anthemic Livin’ on a Prayer and Always.

Blood on Blood and We Love this Town were the encores to a rapturous delight from the sold out venue and it seemed over before it even began. We all wanted more! They had come to blow us away and entertain and they did just that. Long may they continue to do so. They gained new fans that day and strengthened old ones.

The lights came on and we all walked away happy bunnies and still singing their songs. It was an end to a brilliant day and I with my friends would not have been there if not for Absolute Radio so thank you to them again.

The night was over at Hard Rock Calling, but for some of us it was just beginning, but that’s another story…

Listen to select tracks at http://www.absoluteradio.co.uk/player/Bon-Jovi/8937/Live-music.html

Posted in: Music