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That Time Jon Bon Jovi Unexpectedly Showed Up at the Oakdale

Jon Bon Jovi
Getty Images for SiriusXM

We were talking today about unexpected rock star sightings, and it got me thinking about a Southside Johnny show I saw back in the 90’s. Jon Bon Jovi was a surprise guest in the band that night.

This was sometime back in the mid 90’s. My brother and I are both big Southside fans, and we had great seats for a show of his at the Oakdale. This was back before they rebuilt the venue and it was still a tent in the round. As we walked around and had a beer before the show, we noticed that there were a ton of teenage girls running around giggling. We weren’t sure what was going on as Southside’s audience typically isn’t teenage girls.

Once the band came on, the reason was apparent. There among the Asbury Jukes was none other than Jon Bon Jovi, playing rhythm guitar and singing background vocals. Apparently he had nothing going on that month and was doing some shows with Southside. who’s a good friend of his. In fact, he had contributed vocals to a song on one of Johnny’s early 90’s albums, Better Days. One of the Top-40 stations in the state had heard he was going to be in the band that night, went on the air with the story, and boom, instant sellout.

As I recall, nobody in the band made a big deal of the fact that he was there. To the young girls in the audience, it was certainly a big deal. The screaming throughout the show was what I imagine it was like at a Beatles show in the 60’s. We were sort of annoyed at first, but just went with the flow and ended up having a great time.

Jon has showed up at numerous Southside shows over the years. While the concert I saw was in the pre-cell phone days and there doesn’t seem to be any video from the Oakdale, here’s one from Red Bank NJ at around the same time.

We’re giving away a trip to see Bon Jovi in San Diego. You’ll even meet him! Here are all the details.

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