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What happened when we took a Bon Jovi superfan to their intimate London show

Live Review

Venue: London Palladium

When the New Jersey veterans showcased their new album at an intimate London show, Classic Rock brought along superfan Angela Singh to get the ultimate fan's perspective

It’s May 1985, and Bon Jovi are on stage at London’s Dominion Theatre, halfway through the UK leg of their 7800° Fahrenheit tour. Tickets are £3.50, and the mostly male audience are confronted by a singer who doesn’t look like other singers. His clothes appear to be accessorised with female underwear. He has chiselled cheekbones, a radiant smile born of uncommonly perfect teeth, precisely tousled hair, and a glittering blue cloak that fans out in an arc from his body as he spins across the stage. To his right is an equally lithe guitarist, leather-clad and bare of chest. They’re clearly on to something. It’s a good show, but it’s a traditional rock crowd, and there’s a degree of suspicion about this duo’s very apparent prettiness. For an audience who’ve only recently staggered out of the NWOBHM’s patchouli and sweat-scented trenches, Bon Jovi are a confounding prospect. But not everyone’s thrown: dotted throughout the crowd are women, and they’re going nuts.

Today, some 31 years later, Bon Jovi are on stage again at a similar London venue. That guitarist is gone, those women dominate the audience, and Classic Rock is sitting next to one. Angela is a charity worker from Preston who fell in love with the band as a seven-year-old on a family trip to New Jersey.

“I remember the bandana, and all the hair,” she says. “It was a nice look, but it was more about the music. It was so powerful. When you listen to it, your heart surges like it’s about to burst out of your chest. It makes me feel euphoric.”

She first saw the band on the These Days tour at Wembley Arena. “It was everything I hoped it would be,” she says. “It was ten times better. The only thing I can compare it to is when you touch down in New York for the first time and you feel a sensation that anything is possible. That’s how their music makes me feel.

“I also feel that Bon Jovi helps people build bridges. If you ever feel awkward in a situation, or you’re not sure how to connect with people, a good way to start a conversation is to talk about Bon Jovi. It’s helped me get established on a work level, and it’s helped me make friends.”

How would you feel if you met Jon? “I might die,” she jokes. “I’ve thought about this a lot. I’ve even role-played it with a friend.”

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