VANCOUVER – When Jon Bon Jovi titled his latest single “We Don’t Run,” he couldn’t have known it would take on new meaning in Vancouver.
The superstar had to scramble to re-book a show at a new venue after complications with a promoter forced the cancellation of a performance in Stanley Park.
Speaking to reporters before the concert at Rogers Arena Saturday evening, Bon Jovi said he’s never experienced anything like the mess with promoter Paper Rain Performances, but that he was determined to go ahead with the show.
“Integrity matters. If you give your word to somebody I think you should do the very best you can to follow through on that word,” he said when asked why he felt it was important that he perform.
“What started out as just an invitation to go and perform in a park that I liked, and a summertime kind of block party feel, unfortunately turned into something rather messy for a lot of folks.”
Although he said he wasn’t involved in the circumstances that led to the show’s cancellation, he apologized to fans for the “turmoil” the situation caused.
The public spat between Bon Jovi’s management and Paper Rain began when the promoter announced earlier this week that the show had been axed due to low ticket sales.
Bon Jovi’s team responded that Paper Rain hadn’t paid vendors or acquired staging equipment, and the City of Vancouver said the promoter hadn’t acquired the right permits.
The promoter announced it was filing for bankruptcy a few days later. It could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.
Bon Jovi called the snafu “a little embarrassing,” but thanked those who came together to make sure the show went on, including Tourism Vancouver and Rogers Arena.
“It took our efforts to make this happen. And there was no way I wasn’t going to make it happen,” he said.
Fans who purchased tickets to the cancelled show were to bring their tickets to Rogers Arena. No extra tickets were sold.
The show came a day after Bon Jovi released a new album, “Burning Bridges,” which he said marks the band’s final recording with Mercury Records after a 30-year relationship.
The singer spoke fondly of his memories in Vancouver, especially recording his band’s smash hit “Slippery When Wet” in 1986. Bon Jovi went on to record two more albums in Vancouver.
“From ’86 to ’92, this was absolutely home for the band,” he said. “Our roots are very deep here, at a time when Vancouver was a much more innocent, small town that was far away.”
He recalled the original art for the album that would become “Slippery When Wet,” originally titled “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” featured the band posing with bushy beards outside a closed mine in British Columbia’s mountains.
The record company balked at the art. Eventually, Bon Jovi grabbed a garbage bag, squirted water on it and wrote “Slippery When Wet” — and that simple image became the iconic album’s cover.
He said it was fitting that the band recorded the album during Vancouver’s Expo ’86.
“It seemed to me like it was Vancouver’s coming out party in 1986. Then, it turned out to be in essence Bon Jovi’s coming out party.”
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