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They're Ready to Rock the New Stadium...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jon Bon Jovi says he's ready to rock New Meadowlands Stadium

NEW YORK — Jon Bon Jovi remembers watching football games in Giants Stadium as a kid, with his uncle.

He won’t be a spectator at the first musical event held at the New Meadowlands Stadium. But thousands of his biggest fans will.

Tonight, his band plays the first concert in the New Meadowlands. Images of the group will be all over the Stadium’s touted HD video system. Marine pilots in V-22 jets will do a flyover just before the group takes the stage. A live feed of the show will be sent to soldiers in Afghanistan. The sold-out house will be ready to shake.

It’s enough to make any performer crumble. Is Jon Bon Jovi — conqueror of a thousand stages — nervous?

The confident rocker insists he’s not worried about his performance.

“No, I worry about dumb stuff, like allergies,” said Bon Jovi, speaking to reporters yesterday at the Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South. “I worry about sneezing. Can I breathe tonight? Did my mother get a good seat? Things like that.

“There’s nothing wrong with my (vocal) cords. We’re ready to go.”

Bon Jovi performs in parking lot of the new Meadowlands Stadium

The band’s close relationship with its home state has been well-chronicled. For many Jerseyans, catching a Bon Jovi show at the Meadowlands has become a summertime tradition, and part of our shared heritage. MTV recently joked that the band — which hails from Sayreville — ought to be given the naming rights to the new house.

Bon Jovi is in the middle of a stadium tour to support its latest album, “The Circle.” And tonight’s show — the first of four to be held at New Meadowlands Stadium this summer — might simply feel like “the next important one” to a group accustomed to playing shows of import.

Still, coming home presents its own peculiar challenges.

“It’s always exciting and a bit difficult to play at home,” says Bon Jovi. “Every cousin and relative and neighborhood friend is there.

“You always want to be at your best when you’re in your backyard.”

As for the historical importance of opening the new stage, the frontman is skeptical. While his memory of his first ‘89 gig at Giants Stadium is sharp (“I might not ever get back here,” he thought to himself, “so I’d better take a lot of pictures”) he reminds us that few recall who played the first concert there. He suggests that, 30 years from now, not many people will remember that Bon Jovi did the honors for New Meadowlands.

These days, the veteran performer is interested in a different kind of notability. In recent years, Jon Bon Jovi has been attempting to address the issue of homelessness through his Soul Foundation, which has now built affordable housing in seven cities. It “means the world” to him to know that David Axelrod, the president’s chief adviser and strategist, has posted the lyrics to “Work for the Working Man,” a populist stomper from “The Circle,“ in his White House office.

And while he’s preparing hard for tonight’s show, he’s plainly got his heart set on a future performance in the same venue — one that might take place during the halftime of the 2014 Super Bowl. But would Jon Bon Jovi really be willing to do a set in subzero temperatures?

He’d be delighted to.

“Our old manager used to say: ‘Bon Jovi will play anywhere, and bring their own electricity.’ I have played on a ski slope. It’s never too hot or too cold for us to play.”

Bon Jovi dismisses the notion that a cold-weather Super Bowl is intrinsically unfair.

“Football is meant to be played in the elements,” said the rocker — who was part-owner of the Philadelphia Soul arena football franchise.

Tonight, the most he’ll have to cope with is a passing thunderstorm. And a little rain isn’t likely to throw the band out of its rhythm.

“We’re not the new guys on the block,” says Bon Jovi. “Our legacy is important to us. We want to leave it timeless, and classic, and on point, and true to what we set out to do.”


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I am and always have been a Bon Jovi fan. This blog is just my obsession taken a step further, my imagination in high gear if you will. I love to read and decided to see what would happen when I took that love of the written word and ramped it up a bit.

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