Bon Jovi Tour Begins In Shadow Of Shootings

Bon Jovi's U.S. tour was kicked off last night (Feb. 18) in Omaha, Neb., without any full production rehearsals, due to last Thursday's shootings on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKal

Bon Jovi's U.S. tour was kicked off last night (Feb. 18) in Omaha, Neb., without any full production rehearsals, due to last Thursday's shootings on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

Bon Jovi and the rest of the band were en route to DeKalb on Thursday, where they were due to rehearse at NIU's Convocation Center because Omaha's Qwest Center was unavailable. The Convocation Center was near Cole Hall, where Steve Kazmierczak fatally shot five people and wounded more than a dozen others before taking his own life.

"Your thoughts and prayers go out to them. It's a shocker, just devastating," Jon Bon Jovi tells Billboard.com. "We were in the air at the time, so we didn't get any further than the airport. When we landed we were just told to get back on the plane and go home. But our crew and the stage and everything was there. Once things settled down they just packed everything up and headed to Nebraska. What else can you do?"

Bon Jovi will be on the road in the U.S. until the beginning of May and begins a European tour on May 22 in Gelsinkirchen, Germany. The group plans be out through July but isn't sure where the tour will finish. "I've got two choices," Bon Jovi says. "We've got the Giants, Soldiers, Fenways (stadiums) on hold or we stay in Europe because of the state of the economy. All these (arena) shows are sold out, but the July dates, I'm not sure where the economy's going to be, so I don't know yet."

As previously reported, the group is being accompanied on tour by Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple and a film crew for a documentary about Bon Jovi's first 25 years. Bon Jovi reveals that the project is an outgrowth from a biography that group was working on with author David Ritz. "We were limiting ourselves in what we'd say," Bon Jovi notes, "so when you're having reservations you're not telling the truth. And if you're not telling the truth, what's the point? So we gave 'em their money back and called it a day."

The marching orders for the documentary, he says, are "it's either gonna tell the truth or it's not coming out. There's been a lot of accomplishments in 25 years. There's a story there. There's a reason why. I'm not sure what (the film) is going to be like; I think that's probably the beauty of it, and it's also the fear that's driving it."