When most bands put together a tour it is generally to rally support for their most recent album. To showcase the music that is the latest in their library and get back in touch with fans usually after a long layoff in the studio.
Bon Jovi on the other hand has never really been a band that fits into any box. Continually pushing the envelope and trying new things. They seem to show up and keep themselves in the spotlight by being inventive and complex.
The Circle Tour is no exception. If you are thinking you will be going to a party with the boys from Jersey think again, it has become more than you can imagine. It is equal parts thank you and concert, but this time it is also a fact finding mission. I will attempt to break this down for you to give you a better idea of what all the parts look like.
First, a Thank You of sorts, back in the late 80’s Bon Jovi did something that was kind of unheard of at time. They opened up the stage to fans and cameras to film a video for “Bad Medicine” through the fans eyes. What came out of that was a cool way of letting the fans in closer and seeing the band in a different light. Fast forward some 20 years and they are at it again.
This time they ask that you get your camera out but to film yourself. SHARE THE STAGE WITH BON JOVI: FANS TO STEP INTO THE CIRCLE; they are looking for fans across the globe to share in the limelight. Bon Jovi fans worldwide can now upload a video of themselves performing the band’s smash 1986 hit “Livin’ On A Prayer.” The best performances from each city will be chosen to be featured on the local venue’s giant video screens, while the band is on stage playing the song. This special moment will spotlight videos from several different fans in each city during The Circle Tour, which includes more than 135 shows in 30 countries. In addition to seeing themselves jam on the big screen with Bon Jovi, the official single winners in each market will receive a deluxe prize package featuring an exclusive VIP messenger bag filled with limited edition tour souvenirs and other commemorative items. To learn more, visit the official “Livin’ On a Prayer” Website at http://prayer.bonjovi.com. An ultra cool opportunity for fans to say the least.
The tour is also a fact finding mission, the singer plans on visiting as many homeless shelters and programs as time allows in hopes of getting ideas and inspiration to shape his own work with the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, a Philadelphia-based charity that fights homelessness by building affordable housing, establishing community kitchens and cleaning up vacant lots in blighted neighborhoods.
“I’ve spent the last quarter of a century touring, going from arena-stadium to hotel back to arena-stadium-hotel,” he says. “This time, because of my foundation’s work over the last six years building affordable housing, on my days off and when the opportunity arises … I will go to shelters and try to learn more about the issue and how to combat it.” says Jon Bon Jovi.
Before he kicked off the tour with two shows at Seattle’s KeyArena, Bon Jovi toured one of the city’s most well-recognized homelessness programs, a building run by the Downtown Emergency Service Center that provides homeless alcoholics, many of whom have serious mental illnesses, a place to live — and drink alcohol.
The program saves taxpayers more than $4 million a year in social service and jail costs and creates a safe atmosphere where residents may be more likely to get sober, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year.
Thinking back on a quarter-century of hanging out in hotels around the world, does the 47-year-old wish he started working on the homelessness issue earlier?
“I don’t think I was ready for it,” he said. “When you’re a boy in a rock band, you want to go out and see the world and do all the great things you’re supposed to do when you join a rock band. Now there’s another aspect to it. There’s just more to be said and done, and the difference that can be felt on the trail that you’ve made.”
Finally, of course it is a concert to bring the music to the fans. First and foremost they are still a band that loves to perform live and showcase their talent. Although older and wiser, with more maturity and forethought in what they do and how they do it. It just comes with the territory, as you get older your focus kind of shifts and becomes broader.
It will be a celebration of sorts as well in the fact that the band, which is some circles was credited with the launch of the “Hair/Glam Metal” movement of the late 80’s has really found a way to stay on top and break through that mold. Gone are the long locks and flashy outfits, in their place is a stripped down straight ahead rock and roll band that has flexed its muscle and staying power in a business that is nothing if not fickle.
Bon Jovi brings The Circle tour to the BOK Center on Tuesday, April 13, 2009. Tickets are available at BOK Center box office.
About the writer:
Ernie Osborn is a California transplant that has been around the music business much of his life. He has been in bands and currently plays guitar and sings when called upon to do so. He also writes articles in the Tulsa Speaks section entitled, “Whatever Happened To…” check it out.