Bon Jovi and Africa

I remember the first Bon Jovi song I heard it was ” I believe ” off the Keep the Faith album it was 1993. In 1995 Bon Jovi played 4 shows in South Africa, playing  2 shows in Johannesburg and one each in Durban and Cape Town. They had a solid fan base and since the democratic election they were one of the first group of international artists to play in S.A.

Jon Bon Jovi’s drummer in his band in 1980 was from Johannesburg, that was the band’s last personal connection to South Africa. The band agreed to come after the positive feedback from Whitney Houston also from New Jersey who had played successful shows, as Jon said in a pre-show interview with 5fm in 1995. The shows were a huge success with a 2 and a half hour set list and the Cape Town show which I attended in Green Point stadium was heard right across Table Bay and is fondly remembered to this day. Bon Jovi went on safari and Jon and his wife Dorothea had a polite cup of tea with Nelson Mandela.

Jon later in 1996 said in Metal Edge stated that South Africa reminded him of Southern California, which looking at  the geographical similarities is not an insult at all.

Drummer Tico Torres came back twice once to support then wife Eva Hertzigova on a Chloe fashion show and first on honeymoon.

Perhaps this and the financial implications of taking the whole crew and equipment to South Africa has meant that they have not been back during later tours.

Bon Jovi may not have physically been back but Africa is still on their mind. The cover of Neil Young’s “Rocking in the Free World” recorded live by Bon Jovi in Johannesburg in 1995 was included in the live album One Wild Night. The Masi Mara was included in the “Everyday” music video in 2002. In 2009 Desmond Tutu and Mandela were included in the global feel of the video “We weren’t born to follow.”

Jon Bon Jovi has recently funded the building of homes through his charity Philadelphia Soul Foundation in South Africa.

Well, there is a little country village called Philadelphia an hour’s drive outside Cape Town.

Any time he’s ready South Africa would love to see him again.


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