Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

My Bon Jovi Concert Experience, the Best Bootleg T-Shirt Story Ever, and Why People Need to Put Down Their Phones at Live Concerts to Enjoy the Moment Instead of Trying to Record and Tweet Everything

The entire band. I missed Richie. :(

I am so happy I listened to some of you and went to the Bon Jovi concert solo last week. I had sooooo much fun. It was worth the 1-hour drive in rush hour to San Jose. They played for 3-hours straight, no break.  I rocked out to all of my favorite songs: “Runaway,” “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “It’s My Life,” songs from their new album What About Now and so on. I wish I was sitting near the front with a pack of Walmart panties that I could toss on the stage when Jon Bon Jovi was singing, “Bed of Roses.”  I love that song. And he looked so good singing it in all black and a leather jacket. I can’t believe he’s in his early 50’s. He looks great and can still move.
I took this photo then my got my dance on at the show. 

Cocoa Fly right before the show. I'm hyped! 
In regards to having moves, unfortunately I can’t say the same for everyone at the concert.  From what I saw at the concert and discovered via a thread on the Bon Jovi app (I think I have a problem), the audience ages ranged from 10 to 70. Most people I saw were in their 40’s and 50’s. Most of the people in my section didn’t dance. I know people in their 60’s and 70’s who still dance. Initially I tried not to stand up too much out of respect to the couple behind me. When I turned fully around in my seat,  I noticed they were filming the concert and taking pictures with their smartphones. Who goes to a rock concert just to film it?! We weren’t even that close to the stage to get a good shot. I guess they were filming the screen.  When I saw they were filming, I stood up and danced like I didn’t have to go work the next day. I’ve wanted to see Bon Jovi live for about 10 years now, I had on my tight jeans, cute red halter top, and I paid quite a bit for my ticket. Cocoa Fly was going to rock it out. I was the only one in my row dancing. Everyone else was either on their phone taking photos or sitting like they were at home on their couch.  Even Jon told the crowd in the beginning, “Stand up! This is not television. This is a live show!” Are we so accustomed to looking at our phones and computer screens that we don’t know how to enjoy a live show?

This car was parked near and it made my night. It's a Trans Am.
Check out the plates. I love the '80s. 
Okay I know you’re wondering what’s up with the t-shirt drama. Well, the t-shirts at the concert were $45 and up. I love Bon Jovi, but no way. I walk out of the arena after the show and brotha man/bootlegger rolls up to me and ask if I want to buy a t-shirt. Here’s what followed:

Me: I was wondering if ya’ll would be out here. How much?
Bootlegger: $20
Me: (in my E. Oakland voice): 20 dollaz?!
Bootlegger: A’ight, a’ight it’s late I’m trying to rid of these. How about $10?
Me: Okay cool. What size is this shirt?
Bootlegger: A medium
Me: You have a small?
Bootlegger: Yeah, hold up.

This t-shirt has been to dark places. 
I’m thinking he’s going to head to some car in the back of the parking lot and get a small t-shirt. Instead he reaches down his pants near his right hip, in the space between his boxers and jeans, and pulls out a size small. The lady behind me sees the whole thing and asks, “Do you have an extra Large?” He reaches around to his left hip and pulls out an XL. He had the t-shirts organized by size down his pants! You know what’s crazy? I bought the shirt. LOL!  Today the shirt it is both unworn and in my hamper because I don’t know if it touched anything or something touched it. I have spoken to New Yorkers and they’ve never heard of such a t-shirt hustle.

And that  folks is my first Bon Jovi concert experience. I looked cute. I had fun. I got my rock on. And I bought a $10 t-shirt out of someone’s pants. Not everyone can say the same. The only thing that could’ve made it better was if I had front row seats. Next time. I wish Richie Sambora was there but his fill-in did a good job. According to Jon Bon Jovi, he left the tour for “personal reasons.” The rumor is he wants more money. I’ve also heard it may be substance abuse issues. I wish him well. His absence gives me an excuse to see them again when they tour. And I will be in one of the front rows wearing a clean t-shirt.  


  1. You are too funny J! Get your rock on, girl! Glad to see us just going anywhere we are so inclined.

    1. Thanks! Nobody wanted to go w/ me so I just went on my own and a bought a t-shirt out of someone's pants. :)

  2. Sounds great! Glad you had fun.

    1. All that was missing was a fun group of friends, like the ones I kicked it with in DC. :)

  3. Awwww...... This is wonderful to hear! I am so happy that you had a great time. And LOL at buying a shirt out of someone's pants. Please wash it before you wear it.

    I know what you mean about people who attend a concert just to film it. Then then there are those who get upset when you get up to dance!!!!!!

    1. I'm so glad I listend to you Ore! And I did wash the shirt LOL. I haven't worn it yet.


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