Bon Jovi hit the road in support of "What About Now" weeks before the album was released, and the many thousands of fans that have already seen the "Because We Can" tour have proven both the trek and the record are winners. As the tour rolls on and the album blasts to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, go backstage with Billboard's Executive Director of Touring Ray Waddell and our cameras to see the inner workings of how Bon Jovi's epic show comes together each night (mobile users: watch here). Peer into the hidden, under-the-stage guitar vault, hear the secrets of the band's stage wardrobe and insights from guitarist Richie Sambora, and watch it all culminate in the band live on stage with video of the band playing two full songs in front of a huge arena crowd.
"It couldn't be any better," Sambora said of the tour, from backstage at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville earlier this month. "From day one, it's been selling out three-sixty. We're looking at this summer going down to South Africa and all through Europe, all stadiums for the whole run."
As Jon Bon Jovi and his cohorts rocked the Bridgestone Arena just a few days after the frontman's birthday, the tour's VIP coordinator Mike Savas revealed "one of the coolest places under the stage": Sambora's guitar room. "Richie plays 10-12 at any given show," Savas says. Some of the instruments, "are worth $100,000 to $150,000 a piece."
Production manager Jesse Sandler, meanwhile, explains the Bon Jovi stage's moving walls which act as giant screens for huge projectors and wardrobe stylist Dawn Jeronowitz shares how she "looks for certain colors and cuts" that suit the bandmembers as they perform.
"Every night, these people come. I know they can look at it on Youtube and they can get an idea of what it is before they come," Sandler says. But adds that there's nothing like the real, live thing, which is evident as soon as you see fans' reactions at the show. "Until you actually see their faces and you see the expressions when these things [during the show] happen, it's a completely different thing."
As much goes into putting on the show, Sambora still says the key to making Bon Jovi's concerts good is the band's performance itself. "I've got 22 trucks full of my stuff and lights and sound and my amplifiers and vintage guitars," he explains. "I just go out there and if somebody took any of those lights or that P.A. away, I still gotta do my job."