WOW! What a show last night. Incredible doesn’t even begin to describe it. But that doesn’t even tell half the story. Here’s the rest:
I bought a single ticket to the show. I knew that most of my friends usually purchased tickets from the Fan Club and since I no longer belonged, I wouldn’t have that option and stupidly forgot to ask a couple other non-Fan Club people if they wanted to go. I should have, but then I wouldn’t have had the evening I did.
Day of the show, one friend proposed that I meet her and another friend at Westshore Mall and ride together. Sounded good to me, I wouldn’t have to drive over and back alone. Best laid plans…..I got off work at 4, which would have normally gotten me home by 4:30 or so. Not yesterday. Traffic. Good God what was it with traffic??? Anyway, I walked in the door at 4:55, which meant there was no way I could meet them at 5:15 at the mall, especially when there was an accident on the Howard Frankland Bridge. So I figured, go the Gandy, take the Crosstown Expressway, easy, fast and I’d be there by 6 at the latest. Again, what was it with traffic??? The Gandy bridge was backed up. Gandy Blvd was backed up. The Crosstown was backed up. I arrived at 6:30ish. Parked at a parking garage in Channelside across from the Hooters we all were going to meet at after the show.
Packed up my sign, camera, ID, money and ticket and headed for the Tampa Bay Times Forum about six blocks away. Halfway there I checked my pockets for everything and NO TICKET!!! I began to freak out. I knew I had it when I left the car. KNEW IT. So I started retracing my steps and mentioned to the cop directing traffic that my ticket was gone. Got back the parking garage and entered the elevator to the second floor even though my car was on the third. Again, retracing my steps exactly. The couple on the elevator with me and I chatted and when we got off, they asked where I was parked and I said the third floor but I’d lost my ticket to the Bon Jovi show and I was trying to find it. The man ran back to the elevator and came back to where we were standing with MY TICKET!!! Apparently, I’d dropped it at the elevator getting on and someone tucked it into the smoke box (where you have to put out your cigarettes before entering the elevator)! So I hugged him and started back to the show.
As I passed the aforementioned policewoman, I told her and she said that someone didn’t want to spend the night in jail. When I asked, she continued that if someone had been sitting in my seat that they could be arrested for stealing it! Never had even thought of going to the Forum and telling them the ticket was lost!!!
So the Jovi gods and my guardian angel (thank you Corky) were watching out for me….and that’s not all!
I go sit at my seat, alone, after having chatted with friends inside the Forum. Thinking to myself that it was going to be weird not sharing this with anyone. There were four empty seats next to me and I wondered who would miss this show that bought tickets. I got my answer very quickly. I went up to use the restroom and when I got back four people had just arrived and sat. I saw the patch on the man’s jeans that announced he was a guest of the band. So I asked, “which band member are you with”, without looking at the man’s face. When I did I got the BIGGEST surprise. The guy looked at me and said “are you Diane?” My eyes flew open and I realized who it was, Van and his wife, Kimmy!!! To say that I was shocked is an understatement and a half.
Back about eight years ago or so there was this unique little shop on Gandy Blvd. that I loved visiting, both for the cool stuff he sold and to chat about Bon Jovi. The owner of the shop, Van, was a friend of David Bryan’s and we got to be friends. Two tours ago he got me my ticket to the show in Tampa.
Now, I not only had a great seat right next to the stage, I had friends to sit with and enjoy the experience. Throughout the THREE HOUR show, we chatted and caught up, and did so some more after the show was over.
Then it was off to Hooters and ultimately Splitsville for food, chatting and drinks with the Florida Jovi girls.
As for the show itself? What can I say? Jon was freakin’ on FIRE. Richie scorched it on guitar and holy shit, the solos he produced were fan-fuckin-tastic!!! A show like none I’ve experience and this was my twentieth show! One I will never forget and apparently neither will my poor, sore, aching feet. A pain that was well worth the experience.