Interview & Show Preview: Bon Jovi Comes to Seattle

Bon Jovi is back. Well, they really haven’t ever gone anywhere and have stayed a consistently popular and solid band – but there’s an especially huge buzz about their upcoming tour. The tour, which is in part an introduction to their newest CD, The Circle, is also sure to bring out the more familiar Bon Jovi hits. Upon its release in 2009 The Circle hit number one on Billboard and this must have led to their very first appearance at the Grammy Awards. The first single off The Circle, We Weren’t Born to Follow, also earned them a Grammy nomination this year for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.

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We Weren’t Born to Follow already has a unique place in history. The band chose to perform this song when they were asked to play at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin upon the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora says, “We were very, very honored to be asked to do that. We were the only rock band that was there at the Brandenburg Gate. It was really pretty cool because we were standing there in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

It was beautifully lit and there was a ton of people there. And all the world leaders from Gorbachev and Sarkozy and Gordon Brown and Hillary [Clinton] was there. So we had some friends there, but actually we were invited by the ambassador to Germany from the United States. Actually Jon [Bon Jovi] had known him and he had asked the German chancellor if it would be suitable for us to play. And we had been such a big band in Germany. Germany’s a country, obviously a little bigger than the size of Ohio, let’s say. And when we play there, we do like eight stadiums just in that one country, so we’ve been quite a big band, always triple platinum and stuff like that in Germany. We’ve been quite a big band in Germany, so it was a good fit. And honestly, the song We Weren’t Born to Follow fit the occasion. The lyrical content fit the occasion and the whole thing just kind of came together. And it was a wonderful moment. It was great, it didn’t translate so much here in America. It didn’t come over here, you know, as it did there. But it was a really big moment for the Germans and Europe, and it was a lovely thing and an honor for them to ask us to do it.”

The band was also at the Berlin Wall in 1989 when it began to fall, “We were there, like we were there picking away at it . . . What happened was that we had played Moscow. We headlined a Moscow Music Peace Festival. And the wall was still up back then. And that was the first kind of sign that the thing was going to come down. The fact that we were actually there playing, you know, we did two nights in Moscow to like 140,000 people an evening in Lenin Stadium.

And that was the first sign that the wall was cracking, you know what I mean. And that the Cold War was about to end and we were there before it was done. And then we went to Berlin right when it fell, so we were there.”

Phil Griffin also made a documentary made about them called When We Were Beautiful. Tico Torres (Bon Jovi drummer) talked about how they decided on this venture, “We tried some writers and we tried to do a book. And I don’t know, things just didn’t turn out to be what we wanted. And it wasn’t really coming out. The nice thing of working with (Phil Griffin), he was out with us long enough that it became a conversation.

And therefore a lot of things came out by doing that conversation. And then the way it took form was a little more natural and you got more in depth about we’re about, so that really made it a lot easier to do. Again, you don’t know what you have until you view it at the end of the day. And we were quite surprised and happy the way it turned out.”

Bon Jovi starts leg one of their North American Circle Tour with two shows at KeyArena in Seattle on February 19th and February 20th.

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