Rodeo’s Drive-Thru Hollywood News: Kid Reviewer goes behind-scenes at Bon Jovi Concert

Rodeo Marie Hanson, 12, Fleetwood, holds her media credential in the photographer’s pit at the Bon Jovi concert in Allentown.
Rodeo Marie Hanson, 12, Fleetwood, holds her media credential in the photographer’s pit at the Bon Jovi concert in Allentown. Submitted photo
Rodeo, 12, left, holds her media credential from Bon Jovi concert with Katie Nork, right, director of marketing PPL Center & Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Rodeo, 12, left, holds her media credential from Bon Jovi concert with Katie Nork, right, director of marketing PPL Center & Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Submitted photo

My first concert ever was Elton John a few years ago and I was lucky enough to sit close to the stage. I noticed the video cameras filming the show and photographers rushing to the stage to take pictures.

A few years and concerts have gone by since then but the questions I had about the people who take pictures at the shows were answered when Bon Jovi brought his “This House Is Not For Sale Tour” to the PPL Center in Allentown on May 2.

I first started listening to Bon Jovi’s music this past summer and played his “Cross Road” greatest hits CD a lot. When I found out a few months ago that he was on tour and would be very close to where I live I started to wonder if I could write about the concert for my column.

First, I had to send an email to the people in charge of the show to ask for permission to take pictures. A couple days later, they said I could take pictures and even gave me two review tickets so I could watch the show! That was super-awesome and cool!!

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The day of the show came fast, and I was very excited because up until now I was never in a photographer’s pit before.

I needed a camera, notebook and pen to take notes about the show so I could write down which songs Bon Jovi played for his fans.

When I arrived at the venue, I had to meet someone who would sort of be like a guide for me and the other photographers and reporters. There was an envelope waiting for me with my name on it. Inside were two tickets for the show and a “media credential”. That’s a sticky label you put on your shirt. It gives you permission to take pictures of the show, go places not everyone can go, and lets you get very close to the stage.

With a group of other photographers and reporters I went down to the very front of the stage.

The first band was called Eighteenth Hour, and they were what is called the opening act, meaning they perform first.

Now, I was in the photographer’s pit with other photographers and I had to try to get pictures of the band with my camera. I was the only kid in the pit, but the grown-ups were nice, as they were rushing around trying to take pictures, too.

It’s not as easy as it looks because it is very busy and loud. However, it is way fun to do!

Did I mention there were two robot-like cameras hat went back and forth filming while I was taking my pictures? And people in the audience are looking at me wondering who I am and what I’m doing.

After taking my pictures, I walked to the side of the stage to wait with the other people like me who were reviewing the show. We all walked away from where the music was being played and the crowd.

After a little bit of a break, and waiting in a special area, the other photographers and I went back, this time to take pictures of Bon Jovi.

As we were waiting, I noticed a set list, a piece of paper that has all the songs that are going to be played during the concert.

I told an audio engineer at the mixing board, (that’s someone who knows about sound who pushes buttons to make the concert sound loud and good), that I was reviewing the show, and asked for the set list. His name was Dave, and he was super nice and gave it to me.

A few minutes before the show, the photographers were told that there would be special effects as part of the concert. We were all trying to find the best spot to take pictures.

I like music from the 1970s and 80s, and recognized Van Halen’s “Jump” was playing and it got really loud, and then everything went dark. The next thing I knew everybody there was clapping and cheering.

Where did I put my mom’s camera? Oh, it’s right there.

Photographers could only take pictures during the first two songs so you have to take as many pictures as fast as you can. After the first two songs, we were all led away from the concert and back to that special area.

Some of the photographers went home, but I stayed for the show so I could review it, plus I like Bon Jovi’s music and wanted to hear those songs!

Here is my review:

Awesome!! Bon Jovi did almost every song I wanted to hear and he made them sound just like the way they are on the CD. Just like some of my other favorite bands, Bon Jovi is also in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

This was my first time seeing him and I stood for almost the whole concert. I sat down for a few seconds toward the end, but got right back up again when “Livin’ On A Prayer” started.

At one point, Jon Bon Jovi disappeared, and everyone was wondering where he went. Then everybody starts screaming and pointing, he mysteriously got all the way in the back of the venue to sing “Bed Of Roses”, and everything was totally red from the lights to match the song, just like real roses.

Even though the band was on stage, everybody turned to watch Jon. I was sitting a few rows from the stage so I was happy that the other people at the concert who were in the back had a chance to see him up close just like I did.

If you get a chance to see Bon Jovi, go and you will have a great time just like I did. I knew all the songs, and it’s fun when everybody around you knows the words, and sings along with you.

One of my favorite Bon Jovi songs is “Wanted Dead Or Alive”, and he did it and asked people in the audience to help him sing it. I threw my hands up in the air when he sang “It’s My Life.”

Next time, I hope to hear “Blaze Of Glory”!

I would like to give a very special thank you to the following for being super awesome cool: Katie Nork, Director of Marketing PPL Center & Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and Live Nation Entertainment.

For future concert events at The PPL Center, visit www.pplcenter.com.

To find out more about Bon Jovi “This House Is Not For Sale” Tour visit www.livenation.com or ticketmaster.com.

Kid Movie Reviewer Rodeo Marie Hanson, 12, Fleetwood, has been rubbing elbows with celebrities on the red carpet since she was age 4.