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Looking back at the Bon Jovi Tour

January 30, 2012 by David Bergman

If you haven’t followed Bon Jovi in a long time, you might be surprised to know that they were the #1 grossing tour in 2008 and 2010. They continue to put out new music, tour constantly, and sell out shows—including 80,000 seat stadiums in the US and overseas.

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When I started working with the band in early 2010, they booked me to do Gigapans at a few of their concerts. I would fly into a city, do my thing, and get out. I was still working for other clients like Sports Illustrated and was on the road all summer as the official tour photographer for Sarah McLachlan Lilith Fair. But somehow I was able to make the timing work.

While the Gigapans were successful, Jon Bon Jovi really liked the traditional still photography I was doing. So the band put me on a tour bus and I shot many of their concerts and appearances through the end of the year.

I covered so many events because we were offering prints and custom photo books for sale from each show through my company, TourPhotographer.com. I created it six years ago so that fans could get high-end photos of their favorite artists without having to worry about taking bad photos with their cell phones.

My goal is to bring the artistry back to tour photography by making photos that fans want to frame and hang on their walls. It also allows me to do the kind of work I love, and the artists make money too.

Since I was doing a lot of backstage photography, Jon asked me to travel with the band, instead of their crew, in 2011. That meant I would spend the rest of the tour flying on the private jet and staying at fancy hotels all around the world.

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No complaints from me.

The European summer tour leg was an amazing experience. It started in Croatia and ended 17 countries and 8 weeks later in Portugal. By this point, I went everywhere with Jon. I photographed him on stage, backstage, at dinner, and in his hotel room.

Some of the more personal photos may not be published for a while. For example, during this rainy show in Helsinki, Jon tore the meniscus in his left knee.

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He somehow performed for another two hours and finished the show. Afterwards, he was in obvious pain as his knee was examined. This photo has not been shown until now.

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In the car back to the hotel, we didn’t know how serious the injury was, or how it might affect the remaining shows on the tour.

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Amazingly, Jon didn’t cancel any shows. He wore a brace on his knee so he didn’t damage it any further, and even showed off his temporary cane at a concert in Denmark. The crew made it for him with a shaker on the end.

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A few weeks later, he had surgery in Ireland to remove the torn meniscus. I was in the operating room with him as he was put under for the procedure. I’m holding on to those images for now.

Here are a few more photographic highlights.

I went up in the rafters at the Air Canada Center in Toronto to get a different perspective.

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Jon and Richie Sambora shared a moment outside our hotel before dinner in Istanbul.

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I had a unique view of the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest. The building was designed by the Ceausescu regime, but he was overthrown and executed before he could move in.

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In Oslo, there was still some light in the sky just before midnight as the show came to an end.

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At the end of tour in Lisbon, I asked Jon to turn everyone around so I could document the occasion.

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Since the tour ended, I’ve photographed some personal events for Jon. For example, he visited the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor with his family.

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Jon Bon Jovi is one of the subjects that photographers dream about. He appreciates the value of documenting this crazy life that he and the band get to experience.

I’m so happy to be along for the ride.

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  • By Rosanna Malecki on January 30, 2012

    David these are really beautiful! I really love the black and whites. Thanks for sharing smile

  • By Marco Denzer on January 30, 2012

    Your talent and professionalism have earned you the opportunity to be there. Excellent work… thanks for sharing and inspiring.

    Marco

  • By Kristine Ramsay on January 30, 2012

    Amazing photo’s… so glad Jon and the band have allowed you to follow them and share these with the fans.

  • By Cathy Hervoso on January 30, 2012

    It’s wonderful for us like fans of the biggest band around the world!!!!! Thank you for the post. Congratulations!!!! Kisses from Brazil. Catherine Hervoso.

  • By Kathleen pereira on January 30, 2012

    Jon is the most amazing man on the planet ur a very lucky guy to have gotten to spend so much time with him and with all my heart I hope u tell Jon thank you for sharing these moments with his fans like me who wish they could spend even five minutes with him that new pic of Jon showing that guy trying to help fix his leg breaks my heart cuz Jon obviously looks like he was in pain I’m just glad he’s all better! smile anyways they are amazing pictures lucky guy

  • By Maxine on January 30, 2012

    Love this blog David!  And love the B&W’s and the ones we havn’t seen before!  Amazing!

  • By Debbie Smith on January 30, 2012

    David~ These are AWESOME!! Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  • By Rick Lewis on January 30, 2012

    What a wonderful experience!!  The images are just awesome!  You are lucky you found each other.

  • By elizabeth on January 30, 2012

    One word…...fabulous!! Amazing pictures thank you for sharing with all of us who wish could be in your pocket watching. What an experience for you to be able to travel with one of the top music bands. Jon is a very smart man and could spot talent when he sees it. Can’t wait to see more as you release ones we haven’t seen yet. Keep them coming.

  • By Lisa Connaughton on January 30, 2012

    You tell such a story with your portraits, David. I love your sports stuff. But you are so talented at so much more. I love Bon Jovi, but have followed your work for a number of years. The work you have done with this band is nothing short of spectacular. I wish I could see all you shot of the band during tour. Please keep trying new things and sharing!

  • By Cheryl Mander on January 30, 2012

    David, without you on this tour my walls would be empty…at work and at home!!! Both places have your work all over the walls and for that I am thankful as I am able to enjoy and relive these amazing concerts. Your finest for me is of course the shot you got of Jon wearing my Canucks Jersey in Vancouver night 2.  Thank you , thank you, thank you!!! You are an amazing photographer and you better be back on that jet again for the next tour!

  • By Misty Curtis on January 30, 2012

    Beautiful experience for you David - and us. Great memories and gorgeous pictures. Thank you!!

  • By Wendy Tylich on January 30, 2012

    David, I’m so glad I met you and was able to attend so many concerts throughout 2010-2011. You know that I decorated my office wall with the photos I bought from your collection. As much as Jon and the band are artists in each of their own ways, so are you with your talent and vision for photography. If only everyone who has a dream could take the right steps to make it come true, they could fulfill their life as you have from being an essential part of this experience. Your photos speak for themselves and prove what dedication and love of a profession can do for anyone who believes in themselves and works hard to achieve their goals. Thanks for being an inspiration to so many out there who need it.

  • By Amina Crane on January 30, 2012

    Thanks for sharing these amazing photos of my favorite front man and band of all time! I have also appreciated all your incredible sports photos and facebook posts! Would love to meet you If you’re ever in the Seattle area! ROCK ON!

  • By Erik Muñoz on January 30, 2012

    What an incredible experience.. Thanks for sharing your art with us Dave. Your photos are inspiring! I want to be a photographer now hehe smile Greetings from Argentina!

  • By Teri Starbuck on January 30, 2012

    Oh David, thank you so much for sharing these fabulous photos! I love them. You are such an amazing photographer, and of course, OMG to be able to travel with and photograph Jon, whom I’ve loved since 1984! The older he gets the better he gets/looks and you capture that magnificently! Thank you!

  • By Miaka on January 31, 2012

    THANK YOU for sharing your great experience and your amazing work with us!!!!! I admire your talent so much!!!!^^ kisses from Argentina!!!!

  • By Karen on January 31, 2012

    Great blog David & as always great pics, you are a welcome addition to the Jovi family!

  • By Renate on January 31, 2012

    Dear David,
    thank you so much for your recent blog and for the great new pictures of Jon and the guys. It’s hard to see him so in pain and I also want to thank you for being such a good friend to him in the times when he had his surgery. It’s so good to hear that you were with him in the operating room. That’s real friendship and something that’s worth more then all money in the world.
    Thank you for taking us fans with you on this ride and share these pics with us. And thanks also to Jon that he allowed us a glimpse into his backstage life. That’s really appreciated by us fans.
    I love the black and whites and I’m really a big fan of your photographies. You’re a real photograph rockstar. wink
    So thanks again for sharing all this with us.
    Renate (Schuerfi on twitter)

  • By sheila chamberlain on January 31, 2012

    I loved reading this & seeing all your amazing photos from the tour . Thank for giving me the most incredible & stunning memories of all the 60 shows I went to around the world .
    I took some pics of you in Dublin ( through the bars outside RDS ) when you stopped to chat with us .
    Thank you David Bergman grin

  • By Paola on January 31, 2012

    Thanks David!

  • By Kate on January 31, 2012

    If u get the chance, Australia is calling

  • By Heike on January 31, 2012

    David, I LOVE your pictures - four of them are hanging on my wall, each full of amazing memories which I can relive every day…. I hope you will get the chance to tour again with the band!

  • By cristina cs on January 31, 2012

    Congratulations ,david,for your incredible job about the tour. Its amazing. Thanks so much.

  • By Ewa on January 31, 2012

    David,your pictures are always amazing,thank you so much for sharing them with us.It means a lot to the fans to see Jon not on stage,not as a “rockstar”,but being sad,tired or sick,those personal moments are the best. I hope for more stories and photos from you.

  • By Lana Velevska on January 31, 2012

    Wow David,somehow,for whatever reason, even though I have seen many of these before, your actual individual comments behind each is touching.  In particular the few newies, has made me appreciate you and the work you have brought to many of us crazy, yet dedicated fans, even more. David, expressing your thoughts, real feelings about your experiences truly defines the reality of the entire business.  Thanks so much for sharing some private shots, yet still respecting the many you may still have - I know alot of this could be a matter of good timing, if there ever is one.

    Keep up the awesome work Davo, you are truly respected & have many of your work on my BJ walls grin  Hey… remember, I have taken some freaky shots too, so if you ever need a buddy, hello… here I am!

  • By Kathi Gonzalez on January 31, 2012

    You take the greatest pictures.

  • By Lorena Beatriz Critelli on January 31, 2012

    beautiful photos!!!!

  • By stella on January 31, 2012

    The pictures are just stunning!Thank you for sharing!you are a great photographer and of course Bon Jovi are just amazing,too!

  • By rosa on January 31, 2012

    Great fort you David!..your pics just show the “real live” ofthe band…can I go with you for the next tour!kss from Argentina!

  • By Fernanda on January 31, 2012

    Thank you so much for sharing these fantastic photos David. I really admire your ability to capture these special moments. Your pictures are fabulous: the Oslo one is just breathtaking!!!
    Good bless you!!

  • By Bruna on January 31, 2012

    David, thank you for sharing your experience with Jon. He is a wonderful human being. smile

  • By chris lapointe on January 31, 2012

    The pictures are amazing David!  I am also so glad that Jon has had all of this captured by you on film.  I am so looking forward to seeing more unreleased pictures and also the one that have been seen before.  Thanks!

  • By Mari on January 31, 2012

    forever lasting memories

  • By Kellene on January 31, 2012

    Thanks David!  We have loved seeing your pictures all along But, now to get the story behind some of the pictures just brings it all full circle!  I hope you continue the Blog and bring us back thru the tour with your pics and memories while we wait for the next album and tour!

  • By Karen Auffrey on January 31, 2012

    David, these pictures are amazing as usual. Thanks for sharing.

  • By Lucy on January 31, 2012

    I’m so happy for you David.  You are such a talented person, a true artist. Some of the compositions are just outstanding. I admire you very much. Your work speaks for itself. Congratulations for this amazing experience!  And thank you for sharing it with us wink

  • By pamela on January 31, 2012

    wonderful pictures, extraordinary talent thanks for sharing your work worldwide APRA me as I admired a fan of jon greetings from Argentina

  • By rosa.s on January 31, 2012

    i love this pic,all- congrats. great photograph.by. love BJ.

  • By Jovination on January 31, 2012

    Thank you for these wonderful pictures & stories. I love the Helsinki shot - it’s the wallpaper on my desktop as well as on my cell phone. And knowing the story behind with that injury.. incredible. We’d love to see more! Especially from your day off in Vienna where you obviously had a wonderful photo lesson at the palace of Belvedere and where you found an interesting pink car grin It seems you adore the man just like we do!

  • By Cheri Brady on January 31, 2012

    What a great experience!  Thank you for sharing with us.

  • By Sabrina Storms on January 31, 2012

    LOVE LOVE LOVE !!!!! THANK YOU DAVID !!!!!!

  • By Vickie Zimmerman on January 31, 2012

    Really wonderful article and pictures! I have loved all of them and your artistry! I hope there will be lots more to come in the future! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • By Rita on January 31, 2012

    Wow, amazing pics!!! And what a privilege to be around such an amazing and unique person as Jon!
    Thank you for sharing the photos and your thoughts about being around Jon and the rest of the band with the rest of us!

  • By Ana Aixa Bastias Melendez on February 01, 2012

    David is an excellent photographer, I love the pictures of the world’s best band Bon Jovi. Thanks for sharing, affection from Chile .......... affections. Aixa Bastias.

  • By Amanda Duguid on February 01, 2012

    Brill photo’s!!!!
    I was at the show in Bucharest!!! It was amazing!!!!
    Your photo’s give everyone just a little bit of how great the shows are!!!!
    Thanx!!!!!😍😍

  • By Eva on February 01, 2012

    Really grest pictures! You catch the moment and it speaks for itself! The cain was a support in times of need! : ) Horsens was fab! Really THANK YOU for sharing!!! Love your work always!

  • By Andrea valentine on February 01, 2012

    David, wonderful wonderful piece!!!! Thanks for once again taking us with you. Glad you are enjoying the ride

  • By Betty Gherman on February 01, 2012

    AWESOME!! Thank you so much David for sharing with us!

  • By marianna on February 02, 2012

    yes David you are so lucky to be along for the BJ ride. I was at BJ concert in Athens. BJ came here in Greece for the first time and I hope this won’t be the last one.
    your photos are amazing!!! and thank you for sharing these with us.

  • By Mike Corrado on February 02, 2012

    These are awesome David. Incredible work!

  • By diana on February 03, 2012

    Thanks for sharing these great photos! With lots of love from Romania!

  • By Lauren Miklos on February 05, 2012

    These are amazing pictures and what an experience you had traveling around the world ! Thank you so much for sharing, please share more of your work

  • By Steve on February 06, 2012

    David these images and the story that goes with them is incredible. You not only capture the moments with amazing images but show the personal side of the band and especially JBJ.

    You already know but you are one extremely talented man!

  • By Kim on February 07, 2012

    Amazing photographer. Amazing subject

  • By tour on February 11, 2012

    Thanks for Sharing!!

    Really Amazing tour is it…......

  • By Michelle on March 08, 2012

    To spend one day doing what you do…. Ah!!!!!!!!!!!

  • By Nancy Obermiller on March 11, 2012

    What a fantastic job David.. We fans really appreciate following the band through these pictures.  I have seen the show many times in different venues and always enjoy the music and the crowds.. Keep up the good work JBJ and Band..Thanks for sharing..  Nancy O (originaly from Jersey)

  • By paty garizurieta on March 13, 2012

    I love your photos, someday would like to take photos like yours

  • By Nancy Nowak on March 29, 2012

    You took my breath away with your incredible photographs…the description behind each of them was just wonderful.

    thank you so much for sharing the intimacy with us

  • By Jutta Olli on May 27, 2012

    These shots are just amazing! Some of them so personal in nature, that I feel almost sharing the intimacy with larger-than-life JBJ. David your pics are closest thing “getting to know him”, even a tiniest little bit, that we have. Thank you & keep on keeping on grin

  • By Marjorie Fitzgerald Farley on May 30, 2012

    Remarkable photographs!  You have managed to show Jon at his best.

    I tried to sign up for the app but ended up w/a long list of songs….no photos. 

    Already have many CDs and Vidios of their performances so this was a $18.
    Disappointment .  Any way to cancel it? 

    Still a long time fan.  Really long time….I met Jon and group about 25 years ago in N.J.  Just celebrated my 80rh birthday…I just might be his oldest fan….Hmmm, dubious distinction.  Marjorie

  • By Gary on June 24, 2012

    I grew up in the 60’s, you can imagine all the one hit wonders that came and went. The Beatles were the rage then with Jimi Hendrix, came a completely different sound. I’m wondering if Jimi were alive today, what kind of person would he be. “Jon Bon Jovi”, the band, is lucky they all have been healthy. I got to see him twice, in Chicago and in St. Louis. Injuring his knee was a big enough problem, I hope they have a healthy success.



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