November 22, 2009

Getting In Touch With My Inner Sixth Grader

I've had plenty of chances to see Bon Jovi in a big arena concert since moving to New York twelve years ago. But I never have. I'm sure I had every excuse: I couldn't afford the tickets, as a low-paid assistant in the music industry, or a post-9/11 layoff in the music industry. I was daunted by arranging car-less transportation to Giants Stadium or the Meadowlands.

Or maybe I just didn't want to shatter the image I had of Jon Bon Jovi from 1986.

When I heard American Express was going to be announcing a link to buy tickets to an exclusive acoustic concert starring Jon Bon Jovi on their Twitter feed, I didn't question it. I bought two $50 tickets (despite my current freelance fixed income) and invited Michelle to join me at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall for an intimate evening with the band's frontman and namesake, as cute as ever, as beloved as ever, promoting a new album and his charitable work.

What could be better?

Unfortunately, my inner sixth grader, who never really grew up, disagreed. She thought Jon was kind of a jerk. And she wished that she'd never shattered the perfect picture of the guy hanging inside her school locker door.

Let me clarify: Jon still looked hot. He sounded good. He sat on a barstool and answered questions honestly.

The problem?

Maybe he was too honest.

I didn't want to hear him talk about how he's the CEO of a worldwide brand, and take credit for all their success. I didn't want to hear about how his songwriting is right up there with John Lennon and Leonard Cohen (whose "Hallelujah" was performed by Jon in his best American Idol contestant impression).

I wanted him to be humble and modest. To be thankful for the fans. Not to bitch about those of us that just want to hear the hits.

And I missed Richie.

I've waited nearly a week to write about this because I wanted to feel something more about the evening than the exclusivity of "I was there and you weren't." My own tweets showed my disaffection in the moment, and those feelings haven't changed as I have reflected on the night.

Do I regret going? I don't know. I still love "Never Say Goodbye" and "Bad Medicine" and even "You Want to Make a Memory" from their Lost Highway country album. But when you see things as they really are, and your dreams are no longer deferred but faced head-on, sometimes you have to give the dream up. Maybe it was the wrong dream to have from the beginning. Maybe it's better to focus on a better dream, rather than the unreasonable fantasies of a sixth grader.

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