Give your best work today | 10 January | Bon Jovi 2 January 1990, Wembley 1st night, 33 y.o. recording released

Tuesday 10 January
The soundtrack for today is:

Bon Jovi
2 January 1990
Wembley, first night
London, England
🏟️ New Jersey Syndicate Tour

Omg, omg….
I mean, I’ll be damned if everybody attending the live premiere of this recording last night, did not pinch themselves every other song, barely believing what it was they were actually listening to!
In Bon Jovi fandom this was the type of excitement I imagine archeologists have when they open up a new pyramid, biologists when they find a new species, and astronomers when they find a new star.
That’s how big this was.

Because first of all; The entire streak of Wembley concerts, early 1990, is a bit of a myth. Hardly anyone knows about them.
Bon Jovi’s Wembley is synonymous with the 1995 tour, and NOT with early 1990.
So there was that; This concert already belonging to one of the more obscure parts of the neverending New Jersey Syndicate Tour.

But the recording did not exist!
I mean, it did exist within fandom. But it was so absolutely horrendous, that bar one song which could be extracted by niche channel Fighter BJ (Tokyo Road) fandom had agreed this one was beyond saving.

For decades the recording of the first night in Wembley was dusting away in drawers of bootleg traders all over the world, and in a cut up version.
The recording had been cut to pieces and put together in the wrong order.

Until one day, 33 years later, master restorer hAnD90 suddenly found himself having all the pieces to the puzzle;
He had access to a 5 year old upload of the full show, but he now also realized he knew what was wrong with it.
Why, this recording sounded so horrendous. And what to do about it.

Which was how, 33 years after the date, we got to hear Bon Jovi’s very first night at the Wembley Arena.


Give your best work today

👩🏼‍💻 the story 10 january


To give you some idea of the time capsule this recording opened up;
Blood on Blood is introduced commemorating the footage they saw on CNN from their hotel room, from New Year’s Eve on Times Square. With a big ball hitting the sign 1990.
He mentions the fall of the Berlin Wall, the unison of East and West and Gorbatsjov. He foreshadows the year 2000 when the people in the crowd  (“you grew up listening to Aerosmith”) will be the new leaders, saving the Universe.

To have this recording unlocked after more than three decades is a literal blast from the past, because from the three Wembley shows they gave, this one is by far the strongest.
The band was worn out at this point, because the Jersey Tour had been going on non-stop since August 1988.
They were exhausted.

Yet here they were, for their 200-ish show of the tour, giving ALL they got.
Only to have it getting lost in time, because until last night, there was no one, who would have been able to tell you, coherently, what the show was like.
They gave it all for a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the fans, knowing perfectly well that arena would be filled the next night. And the next night.
Not knowing, how they’d cope.

But here we are, 33 years later.
And now we can all hear what it was like that second day of a whole new decade.
January 2, 1990.

Two minutes after kicking off Lay Your Hands, there is already a shout out that I have never heard at this point in the show. General gist of it is to fasten your seatbelts!
Just so no one starts unprepared 😉

It’s followed by a smashing I’d Die For You and Wild In The Streets, only to have another intro, this time to You Give Love A Bad Name, that I never heard before!

“Bootleggers roll your tapes, critics sharpen your pencils.
And people? 

Check your heartbeat!

*You Give Love A Bad Name starts*

We move to Tokyo Road, with a creative interpretation of the bridge lyrics, that is not known for being the place to play around.
Then a stunning Pink Flamingos, the keyboard intro to Let It Rock, that both rock so hard they could probably hear it in Miami.

For the connoisseurs;
This is the moment the recording gets a different source, so from Living in Sin and upwards it has an old school cassette feel to it.

But I’m guessing most of us will be too enchanted by the military style staccato drums, psychedelic keyboard, and improvised lyrics to Living In Sin wondering how on earth the band knows when Jon is done with the improvisation.
I heard it’s a fist next to his head, calling out for the official start to Living In Sin as on the record.

After Living In Sin – which takes 10 minutes just to give you an idea songs were played for real!- we go to the aforementioned intro to Blood On Blood.
It’s time to kick off the new decade, with this anthem of friendship.
Including Richie Sambora singing as well as improvising a guitar riff I never heard there either.

This is the point where it becomes obvious the best Bon Jovi concert of the decade, was probably given on January 2nd 1990, and then we forgot about it for 33 years.

After Runaway, it is time for the first encore, and this is when David, Tico and Alec could enjoy a break, because for 20 minutes we get the Jon & Richie Show!
Opening with an acoustic Livin’ On A Prayer, as we first heard on MTV late 1989.
Moving into a guitar and harmonica jam session, where the real fan can hear Homebound Train being teased but No!
We go to Love for Sale, a song that has only ever come acoustic, so this is not as controversial as playing your biggest hit (Livin’ on a Prayer) without half the band present.

Then we move to the other acoustic song on the New Jersey album; Ride Cowboy Ride.
And into the guitar song, where Richie Sambora plays on his guitar.
It’s always different, but there is one very catchy melody which I know he has weaved in on numerous occasions, and I don’t know what it is;
But he does that here 😉 

The guitar song leads into Wanted Dead or Alive, and the rest of the band is back!

After Wanted, we get a second encore pulling out all the stops with the cover The Boys Are Back In Town, and then Bad Medicine.

Wrapping up what was probably the best concert of the entire decade.

The moral of the story is that we don’t know what happens with our best work. Maybe it gets lost in time, until someone retrieves it decades from now.
Maybe never.
But also, that we should never save ourselves for tomorrow, just like Bon Jovi did not save themselves for 3 or 4 January either.
They didn’t save themselves at all.

They made bold choices that challenged the audience, in particular the long acoustic set including their biggest hit Livin’ on a Prayer.
They took chances.

But what matters in the end is not how it works out. It’s not how your work is received, or judged;
It’s not about how well someone documents it, nor how sharp the pencil was that criticized it.

In the end, the only thing that matters when you do your work, is if it was the fullest expression of whatever it was you had to give.

In the end what matters, is if it had a heartbeat.


2 January 1990, London, England🇬🇧
is the soundtrack for today

The show has been added to the playlist 
“Part II: Bon Jovi concerts on this day 6 Dec- and up (before 1997)”

on January 2nd.

Rock Star Writer
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