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Bon Jovi are gods. Well, more or less. Michelle, Jac, Nick and I ventured into London’s Hyde Park yesterday for a Bon Jovi gig, and we couldn’t have picked a better day. Michelle and I were up first, booking into our hotel by 11.30am and taking a long walk through Kensington Gardens, to the Hyde Park venue. And you’ll be amazed to hear I’ve found the first bit of London I like. The Royal Parks, as they’re called, are very nice indeed, and you forget you’re ever in London for a while. Which, I suppose, is probably why it’s so nice.
It was about this time that Jac, nursing an almighty hangover, managed to catch a train from Watford. He’d woken up, as ever on a Saturday or Sunday morning, fully clothed, unable to remember much of the night, and feeling really rather rough. After stumbling out of his flat, a swift haircut ensued, after which he hauled himself to mile or so to the train station, onto the train carriage, and headed for London, on a line that went in completely the other direction, straight past his flat.
Michelle and I had, by this point, managed to find the place, and marked our position in the growing queue. It was 1pm, the sun was beating down, slowly grilling us, and without shade we decided we may as well get a tan. We didn’t reckon, of course, on sunburn. 1 hour later, we were hurting and thirsty, and radioed ahead to Jac for drinks. He arrived at 2, and we set about the mind-numbingly slow queueing process. Ahead of us, we could see the stage, and at the top we could see a scrolling messageboard, inviting us to text our messages so they could be scrolled along the large screen. So, seizing a good opportunity and a waste of 25p, I texted “Let Us In”. In the boredom of the queue, the point when the message scrolled across in huge letters was far and away the most amusing thing we had done, and we whooped loudly for joy, shouting, “oh, oh, oh, THERE IT IS”. Everyone, including Michelle, stared at us, quite possibly hoping they would stand nowhere near us when were were eventually let in. You’ll be pleased to know that I also advertised wibbler.com to the 92,000 people sitting there…
We burst into the ground at 4pm, and managed a very decent spot near the front of the crowd. Very quickly, we were surrounded by the rest of the queue, and from that moment on, we realised we would not be able to move until the end. No drink-getting, no food-buying, not even a visit to the little boys room. We were stuck.
We were still stuck an hour and a half later. And still waiting for the band to start up. Legs gave way, and the sun burned the living daylights out of any available skin.
You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned Nick yet. That’s more or less because he was incredibly late. His, and his friend Mel’s, plan was to come up at 2.30pm, find Hyde Park, find us, and start queueing. The plan, sadly, went a little pear-shaped. He managed to turn up 15 minutes before the support band started, and gave up fighting through the crowd about twenty minutes later. We never saw him.
And then Bon Jovi came on. All was forgiven as song after song rained down on us – Living on a Prayer, Bad Medicine, Lay Your Hands On Me, You Give Love A Bad Name, One Wild Night, Bounce, they were all there. So we didn’t get too bogged down in their sheer brilliance, towards the end they played classic tracks from other bands – Lola and Twist And Shout, amongst others. They also played Status Quo’s Rockin’ All Over The World – Jac was in pure ecstacy, in contrast to the many foreigners in the audience around us, who merely looked at each other, shrugging their shoulders repeatedly.
It was a perfect gig, and as the sun set with hardly a cloud in the sky, it dawned on us that this was a very special place to be on that Saturday night. Even Jon Bon Jovi couldn’t get enough – 3 hours and 3 encores later, he was still going, strumming away in front of 92,000 in the Royal Park, ignoring the supposed finish time by at least half an hour.
We all left feeling exhausted and burnt; but also in the knowledge that, for those 3 hours, we were the biggest Bon Jovi fans in the world. We’d come for entertainment, and by golly we’d got it. Roll on next year. And Nick – I think a little earlier would be good…