Bon Jovi Recorded Live at Wings Stadium 1984 [Listen]
It was Bon Jovi's first ever tour and they were opening for the Scorpions. An audience member at Wings Stadium has shared bootleg audio to YouTube.
Wings Stadium was the place to be back in the day. So many great concerts came through town as bands would book a show in Kalamazoo as they traveled between Detroit and Chicago. Sadly, we lost many of those shows as the venue aged and newer places began operations in Grand Rapids. Hard rock fans got to see Black Sabbath, Night Ranger, Judas Priest, Great White, Scorpions, Krokus, Sammy Hagar and Bon Jovi in 1984 alone.
Bon Jovi, in 1984, wasn't the sensation they became later in the '80s after Slippery When Wet and New Jersey. The band had only released their debut record at this point and were the opener for the Scorpions who were huge at the time as Love at First Sting was just released as the follow-up to Blackout. "No One Like You" and "Can't Live Without You" had been huge hits and soon, you couldn't turn on a radio without hearing "No One Like You." As an opening band, though, they seem to have gotten the enthusiastic Kalamazoo crowd's attention. Listen as, after the opening song, Jon asks, "Kalamazoo, how are you doin' tonight?" The frontman then declares, "I think we're gonna have ourselves a party" before posing two questions: "How many of you all in Michigan believe in love? How many of y'all out there believe in lust?" After the second gets a much louder response, Bon Jovi tells the crowd, "I knew I was gonna like it here" as the band launches into its next song.
This show was recorded on May 24, 1984. After this Thursday night performance, Bon Jovi and the Scorpions played Sunday at Castle Farms in Charlevoix and then at Pine Knob in Detroit on Monday night. Bon Jovi had played the previous year in Battle Creek, opening for Ted Nugent at Kellogg Arena on 4/24/1984. Nineteen eighty-five would see the band as the opening act again, this time for Ratt. That tour missed Wings, but was booked at Welsh Auditorium in Grand Rapids, Kellogg Arena, Joe Louis Arena and the Lansing Civic Center. The Keep the Faith tour in 1993 brought Bon Jovi back to Wings Stadium, this time as the headliner on March 3rd. Check out the audience bootleg of the Wings show from '84 below and watch more videos on the Bon Jovi Coleccionistas YouTube channel.