Does anybody want what’s left of me?

Jon Bon Jovi in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photograph: Suki Dhanda for the Observer

The Bon Jovi album “What About Now” (March 2013, Richie Sambora left the band in April) contains a little known song that is a far cry from Bon Jovi’s trademark anthems.

It is called “(Does anybody want) What’s Left Of Me”.
And although I don’t know when he wrote it, I think it would be quite possible it was around the time of a very well-read interview for the Guardian, in 2010.

An interview where Jon Bon Jovi admits his struggles as well as how they’re ultimately built-in to who he is:

“I was that kid with the report card that said: ‘Doesn’t play well with others
I couldn’t be in a situation where someone else was controlling my destiny.
I’m probably not really a candidate to be in the army. Or working at the factory. Or…
I have to sink or swim on my own merits.
JBJ in The Guardian

Three years after that interview they’d release the album with the song What’s Left Of Me, and guitarist Richie Sambora walked out.
Which makes me wonder, having the exact age Jon had when he gave that interview:
Is today even the positive milestone I think it is?

Did I really make it through my own personal version of Hell Week, with the biggest mental health crisis in over a decade?
Or is this just the warm-up for my best friend walking out, getting vocal problems, being screwed in a business deal, my record company betraying me, and oh yes, ten years from now I will not be able to do my profession for two years because of a global pandemic?

In the light of what’s to come, do I get to celebrate today?

Or is it best to just admit that the downfall has begun and since career-wise I am NOT at the level of Jon Bon Jovi, I have basically missed my chance at life?
Just asking.

Worst case scenario, let’s assume my feeling I hacked this is short-lived, and will round off to zero some day very soon, then I believe there is all the more reason to celebrate this today.

So?
What happened?
Or maybe not what happened, but why do I feel like this could work?

That the purpose of Hell Week was not to break me, but to build me up?

Ever since I started writing under an alter-ego in 2006, I have been aware that there is a very large part of me, that I do not express nor am (as in be) in daily life.

That “she”, the alter-ego, the pure artist to whom I have frequently referred to as “the real me”, is too much for daily life. And that honestly, I don’t want it to be out there either.
I m very much okay being more neutral under my real name.
It allows me to not bring my “real” art into daily life, and it gives me a rest from that very intense part of myself.

And besides, who is to say what is real art. Maybe my best work is the more neutral one. 
But nevertheless, the situation has been unclear for years even to myself, and every now and then I need to recalibrate.

Hell Week was a perfect time for that.
And this is what came up:

All my work under my real name is fun, lighthearted, great way to make friends.
It’s about Bon Jovi!
It’s about little bear Puux! (see Twitter)
It’s about playing around on my art blog World Between Worlds.
It’s the things I do when no one is watching nor paying me, but also:

The things that do not hurt. Not myself, nor others!!

This blog and all the other things I do under my real name, stays on the surface. It doesn’t cut to the bone.
It’s the things that you’re okay with if your installation mechanic would find, if they Google you. As if they would have time for such nonsense but you catch my drift.

And then everything else, including Hell Week, goes under the alter-ego.

And that’s when I saw two things!
1. That who I am under this identity (real name) and how I write on this blog, was already very much described by me in a piece called
The Baby Koala Relationship
I already knew I was a Baby Koala when I described my part in a lasting romantic relationship. But I just didn’t know (at all!) it was more than a fairy tale story and was actually my daily functioning mode, friendship mode, daughter mode, caretaker of cats mode.
At the time of writing the piece The Baby Koala Relationship I had no idea I was already a baby koala the majority of the time.

And I also saw:
2. that Hell Week had been the result of me not knowing (1) that I was a baby koala.
I had made a huge mistake in assessing what I could do, or what I was up for. Which in hindsight had resulted in a very traumatized baby koala.

I had really made a mistake the equivalent of taking a four year old to the movie Hellraiser. I was an absolute mess.

And then my alterego stepped in, and she freed the baby koala and shut everybody out of our lives who had been within a ten mile radius of this insanely irresponsible choice being made.

What that Hell Week taught me is that I should do a full and complete audit of my life, the places and people where I am a baby koala, and where I am my alterego;
And all other places that require something in between?
Out!
Gone!
Entirely irresponsible!

You ll either get an upset (“upset” is already my mental health understatement of 2021) baby koala, or you’ll trigger the alter-ego to come out in daylight, and settle things her way.

Now that I can see why it all went wrong, I regret the mistake because of the damage it caused to myself and others.

But it feels good to understand why it happened because that means it’s preventable in the future. All I need to do, is make it clear that I m a baby koala.
(If you re reading this: hi! I am a baby koala! Don’t forget!)

But it may be too late.

That the chances that three years from now, I ll write an album (book) everybody will forget, with a song few will remember, without the loved ones around me that I lost between 2006 and June 11 2021;
Those chances might be a lot more realistic than all this panning out.

I came across a quote:

“Religion is for people who’re afraid of going to hell.
Spirituality is for those who’ve already been there.”

― Vine Deloria Jr.

Jon was there.
I was there.
And the baby koala was there too.

Let’s see how we’re doing three years from now.
What’s left of me.

~Suzanne
Rock Star Writer
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All The Things You (n)Ever Wanted To Know About Bon Jovi at Wembley first night 1995

Woah!!! We’re halfway there!
Or we will be, after I give you this premium pro shot live recording of this first night in Wembley 1995!
It s a must see for every fan and beyond, and it will make the rest of this blog post, far more interesting 😉


I reviewed it for my YouTube channel
This is my 10 minute video review ->

#21 Wembley 1 st night June 23 | 1995 Bon Jovi Concert Series (Stories)
I had so much fun with it!
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However! 
“It” does not mean a balanced, thought through, overview with historical context of this first night of the legendary three Wembley concerts.
“It” means: 
Whatever came to mind, sitting under the tree in my first outdoor video in years, and with my complicated analysis on pretty useless notes in front of me.
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So the video turned out fresh and funny, but on the information side it was a bit thin! Aware being punctual and thorough was not its forte, I already announce in the video, I would compensate by writing it out, quite possibly in a blog post.
Which is this.
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But if knowing Jon dances like Axl Rose at one point, ladies being snatched from behind the bar, and meme worthy speeches all time-stamped out for you, are all NOT need to know info for you?
You can skip the blog and just subscribe to my channel:
YouTube channel! Reviewing the 1995 Bon Jovi tour

For all your highly entertaining, yet stunningly incomplete Bon Jovi video reviews.
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I will not be (double) covering any of the anecdotes from my video review.
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And, disclaimer, even this written review is still incomplete and definitely does not do justice to the entire band, as my focus for the video review (hence: my notes) was on Jon Bon Jovi and his interaction with the audience.
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Having said all that, let’s start!
“Are you alive out there?!”
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Bon Jovi | 1st Night at Wembley Stadium | Fixed Audio! | London 1995
Wembley, London

23 June 1995

Setlist:

Classic 1995 opening, with the “two puncher” Prayer and Bad Name,
topping it off with a double layer of Wild in the Streets!

01 Livin’ On A Prayer [0:40​]
face paint & eye makeup Jon Bon Jovi:
Striking yellow or orange face paint on the cheeks, and dark eyeliner

02 You Give Love A Bad Name [5:45​]
03 Wild In The Streets [9:27​]

At [ 14:10 ] Jon jumps off the stage, shakes hands with the audience, puts a cowboy hat on, tosses it back into the audience, snatches a rose, clenches it between his teeth (in between singing his lines), providing excellent photogenic moments!

After Wild In The Streets [15:25] Jon always addresses the audience, and gets them excited for the 2 to 3 hours to come.
Jon indicates how special it is for them to be here, something that he will elaborate on later tonight.
He ends with:
“Fasten your seat belts and let me drive. Take it Hughy.”
Moving right into the bass line (from bass player Hugh McDonald)
of Keep the Faith ->

04 Keep The Faith [15:51​]

Jungle?
When I first started watching concerts with other fans, I always wondered why they were referring to “Keep the Faith” as “Jungle”.
But if you start watching at [ 19:36 ] you can hear this “Sympathy for the Devil” like intermezzo, and in fact a cover of that song was played here occasionally!, but you can clearly hear the same jungle noises Mick Jagger makes here, and Jon even sings:
“It’s a jungle out there, baby.
You ve got to watch your back, and I ve got to watch mine.
It’s a jungle out there, mama!”
And then dropping onto one knee, for a dramatic pause. And back up just in time at the microphone.
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05 Blood On Blood [23:17​]

Blood On Blood never sounded better than with these amazing acoustic openings! 

26:43
For those interested: Right here you can see there is a very large distance between crowd and stage, reminiscent of Live Aid, really.

26:55
Great showman-ship, when Jon stands tall at the mike!
Singing the legendary words:
“Bobby is an uptown layer.
And Danny is a medicine man.
But me?
I m a singer here…”

And the crowd roars: 
“In a long-haired rock n roll band!!” 

06 Always [29:16​]

Always is that moment when you realize you’ve just seen the greatest male performer of the 20th century.
And for those who are still in doubt, Jon has Dry County up the sleeve of jacket number 2, the first of the two red leather ones, which you will see later.

07 I’d Die For You [36:59​]

In Blood on Blood Jon Bon Jovi had already played the acoustic guitar;
But in I’d Die For You, Runaway, and a few more songs in this show, he plays electric.
At [ 37: 15 ] you see Jon and Richie opening the song, playing side by side.

Which brings me to the main unexplained difference between old and new Bon Jovi; Jon plays less guitar during shows.
For me, someone who rates music heavily based on the number of electric guitars and HOW HARD they’re being played!, I particularly miss what I will call “bad ass Jon” on electric guitar.
But I’d Die For You Wembley 1995?
Oh, yeah baby! 

27:27 – and up
Some jaw-dropping shots of Tico working those drums!
Few would pull this off! What an intensity.
And at 1:16:30 Tico shows he can even do this, whilst smoking a cigarette!

08 Blaze Of Glory [41:56​]
09 Runaway [47:37​]

10 Dry County [52:42​]

Okay, okay, okay! How do I say this without shouting?
I DON’T! WATCH THIS ONE! OMG! IF ONLY YOU WATCH ONE SONG FROM THIS ENTIRE SHOW LET IT BE DRY COUNTY!!!
The lyrics, the vocals, the dropping on tha knees, my friends!
The speech at 59 minutes!
I m somewhere between shouting and being speechless.

11 Lay Your Hands On Me [1:04:42​]

Lay Your Hands is when the sermon comes in! Or, as Jon puts it:
“Welcome to Jonny’s church of Rock n Roll”
It is personally my favorite Bon Jovi song live. And if you don’t get enlightened, redeemed and your soul saved watching this?
I don’t know what will!
But even then there’s still the Axl Rose-like swaying, dancing, at 1:12:44 to enjoy.
And a rerun to being saved since the next song is introduced with:
“I think your souls are about to be saved!
Tico, gimme that beat baby!”

Kick-starting their classic 90s two-puncher closer routine of “the main show”:
Sleep When I m Dead, and Bad Medicine!
Cause they re just getting warmed up, baby! 

12 I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead [1:14:28​]
“Now I gotta know; Are you still ALIVE out there?!”
That’s how Sleep When I m Dead begins, dragging the audience into a teasing game that will last for two Bon Jovi songs, three covers, 22 minutes and four giant blowup dolls! 

“Sleep” and “Bad Medicine” together, are like a small concert in and of their own right.
It’s the moment when there are the most fans on stage, two fully functional bars as far as I can see!
At 1:23:25 Jon Bon Jovi goes over to ask the female bartender for a dance, and it’s clearly not scripted, because initially she doesn’t even notice him, and he goes behind the bar, playing the chords to “Sleep” at the same time, before they wildly dance over the stage. 

With little acts of theater that involve the entire band, countless musical intermezzos, numerous forms of dancing and waves and waves of heavy ass guitars, there are really no words to describe what an incredible party these two songs are!

~ Jumpin’ Jack Flash [1:19:46​]
~ Papa Was A Rolling Stone [1:21:10​]

13 Bad Medicine [1:24:49​]

Part of their Rock Fest punchline, Bad Medicine is always where the boys take it home. But it has a hidden secret: 
If he feels like it, then all Jon’s heavy duty driving the ladies craaaazy is done RIGHT HERE!
There is an improv moment that Jon can drag out as long as he wants, and when there are no cameras there? 
No pending PG18 ratings? 
Oh, then he gives all…..

However, Wembley night one was meant for the dvd which would later become Live From London. Because of audio problems, they eventually chose night 3.

But this show was recorded to be that professional concert registration, so that explains why the sexual atmosphere is not from the level I usually encounter at audio only bootlegs!

But, Jonny would not be Jonny without making the most out of it;
And at 1:28:18
You get the whole act, about shaking your ass and becoming rich and famous!

And according to them they had to break it off because of Richie’s mom looking at them!

~ Shout [1:31:35​]

Encore 1:
14 Bed Of Roses [1:36:23​]

Now I m no fan of Bed of Roses, but it wasn’t until I started my 1995 review series, that I realized that 90’s Bed of Roses?
Oh, love that one!

Still not sure why it all makes such a difference, but Richie Sambora’s backing vocals for sure must be one reason why Bed of Roses 1995 was a killer one, to open the encore with.

15 Hey God [1:44:30​]
16 Rockin’ All Over The World (w/ Steven Van Zandt) [1:51:26​]

Encore 2:
17 Richie Acoustic Guitar Solo [1:57:41​]

Opening the second encore with a beautiful guitar song, and I have no doubt guitar playing Bon Jovi fans could tell me exactly which songs/ melodies he’s playing here;
This is the time to acknowledge both that Richie Sambora was such an important part of why 80s and 90s Bon Jovi was unprecedented.
And that my reviews, both this written one which was based on the notes I made to make a 10 minute video, as well as my video review and whatever I usually say in those videos;
Do not do him justice. Nor the other band members of Bon Jovi! 

My reviews are very Jon-dominated, and I think I can get away with it, since I only make these small videos and I emphasize I’m a normal writer and not knowledgeable on music.
But it’s this guitar solo, right before Wanted Dead or Alive, that makes me realize I really wish I had more musical background, and the right vocabulary to describe it.

Which brings me to the next song, and the only song where even I can hear Richie:

18 Wanted Dead Or Alive [2:00:17​]

In retrospect, I believe that although Richie does not sing all the time, that in essence? Wanted Dead or Alive is  a duet.
And also:
That there was something incredibly tragic and inauspicious, already written here between the lines of what may be the greatest Bon Jovi song ever.
That if paid better attention, the tragedy of Richie leaving the band in 2013, was already weaved in.

For those with ears to hear, the message was clear.

19 Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night (w/ Steven Van Zandt) [2:06:09​]

Encore 3:
20 Jon asking audience what to play [2:15:44​]
21 Good Guys Don’t Always Wear White [2:17:11​]

22 This Ain’t A Love Song [2:21:58​]

And so it ends; This Ain’t A Love Song

After three encores filled to the brim with rockers and straight forward partying, we’re dropped back into the drama filled final act of a 2,5 hour show.
Jon dances for us one more time.
Tico smokes another cigarette.
Richie looks more regal than ever; dressed fully in black, with a long coat and hat.

The fans on stage are long gone, the bar is deserted. 

And ultimately;
Jon throws the microphone stand to the side.
Drops on his knees, one final time, for the longest outro ever.
Singing, a wordless melody for minutes straight.
We hear Ritchie’s guitar, only the sound of strings and the wordless male voice singing about something that has never had vocabulary.
Yet we understood perfectly. 

This ain’t a love song.

~Suzanne
Rock Star Writer

I m reviewing the 1995 – 1996 tour:
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Hearts Healing Even – A Letter To Jon Bon Jovi And Richie Sambora

Dear Jon and Richie,

I ve gotta be honest with you; 
The mood I m currently in, is not the gentile, understanding, yet a holding-the-space-like-a-mofo mood I thought I had to offer you, at the beginning of this week.
When I tweeted that I was going to write about you on this blog.
It’s quite the opposite.

The mood I m in is an everything needs to burn and be destroyed mood. Starting with a ritualistic massacre of the last two decades of my life, because I was a yoga teacher and I have feelings about that.
Not the teaching of the classes itself, especially in recent years when my students became friends and friends will be students again, post-Covid.
No, the hate and resentment started when I took my trainings and there were expectations and things you that were expected of you as a yoga teacher, and things that were frowned upon or “not encouraged”.

In retrospect it feels like I was gaslit for two decades, into being of service, into being connected, into being Good.
And I did and was all those things because I believed I had to because that was my work. But I compensated by not practicing yoga, hating myself, overeating, resenting my work, and living under a different identity.

But mostly I compensated with hate.
If yoga taught me anything, it taught me how to hate.

If I go looking somewhere late 20th century, I should be able to find the unspoiled, honeymoon version of yoga, that brought me to life and made me fall in the love with the practice.
At first I thought she, this fun loving yoga spirit, was hiding in Bon Jovi albums;
And all the home yoga I did do the past few years, were with your music!
I was sure something as pure and good as the first 3 years of my practice, would automatically return to me if I kept listening to your records.
But no such luck mon cherie.

It was like in 1989:
My boyfriend, with whom I had been listening to Bon Jovi records, broke up with me. I felt I had no choice but to stop being a Bon Jovi fan, and switched to Guns N Roses.
Appetite for Destruction, never felt so good as then.
And Appetite for Destruction, is what is needed now.

Before me and yoga get along again, I need to listen and do yoga, or simply just listen if doing yoga is too much; I need to listen to Appetite for Destruction.
The bad yoga memories need to be expelled, purged, drawn out like poison from a wound.

But after I ve had my most destructive phase? And in case it ends well, and me and yoga hit if off?
I ll try Bounce!
Then These Days!

And then all the other Bon Jovi records.*)

So that’s where I am at! 
In this week filled with disappointments when I thought yoga would come back to me easily and effortlessly, I fell right back into the pit of hate, resentment, loathing instead. 
It’s poisoning me, at great speed. And it’s either going to kill me from the inside out, or I find a way back to my true self, starting with having Appetite for Destruction do the heavy lifting for me.

It is in that very inconvenient, raw, energy I am in, that I look at the two of you.
Jon and Richie; our two beloved front men just like Mick and Keith, just like Axl and Slash.
And from those three duos, you were and are the ones with the head start. The better cards.
Less extreme personalities.
Better people skills.
Less drug addiction.
More clarity business wise.

And you made it through!
I mean, damn it you guys!
You did not break in that hell of the late 80s, early 90s, when bands were just SMACKED around by life, by management, by the train of the music industry moving at great speed and crushing everything that could not keep up.
You coped, you made it through, only to let the whole thing fall to pieces in the 21st century.

I think I am the only fan who has never watched the full induction into the Rock N Roll hall of fame. I just can’t. There is so much unsaid. It is so uncomfortable to watch you two, clearly still not knowing how to deal with the fact you re no longer working together.
But then I thought, there is a plus side to it;
Because I think you are so close.

It will take far less effort than you could possibly imagine.
It probably would not even feel like effort at all.

You are so close to finding each other, I can feel it in my bones. Whatever it was that started to poison how you related, just like my relationship to yoga got poisoned without me recognizing it;
It’s not real.
You are still the same men, as you were in the earliest days of the band.
And you’re also still the same as when you were writing songs in Richie’s basement.

There is a Covid pandemic, which may keep you two from meeting in person. You re living on opposite sides of the country.
But otherwise I would have suggested to start in Jon’s basement;
That place he shared, or showed, to the fans on Instagram and Twitter.
Where all the memorabilia lay from all those years with the band.

Just push all the stuff aside, roll some basic equipment in, and roll out a rug on the floor. Set up two chairs for two men with guitars, and a fridge with some cold beer.
And you just see what comes up. 

Keep it simple.

And if that is too much, if it hurts you almost physically. If it’s too close to too much pain;
Then you go to Plan B.

You start with Appetite.

~Suzanne
Rock Star Writer

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*) post-script 2021 04 02:  Shortly after writing this post all the hate and resentment disappeared, and I’m doing yoga again! https://dailybonjoviyoga.com/  It’s not daily yet. That name was a bit too optimistic. But me and yoga have definitely kissed and made up and we’re rockin’ it.

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