Bon Jovi fans at drive-in theaters may not have made this one huge mistake at the Encore Drive-In Nights show on Saturday night, but I bet some indoor theater fans did. Oops.

The Bon Jovi concert was pre-recorded and shown at drive-in theaters around the country on Saturday night, including the drive-in theaters in Ennis and Granbury.  It seems that fans who see a show at a drive-in usually show up on time or early because, well, they have to drive in and that takes time to get inside, park, and get settled and if you're not punctual you'll be way in the back and only see half of the show. Drive-in fans are usually ready to go at the start time if not thirty minutes early.

I saw the Bon Jovi show at an indoor theater and treated it like a regular movie, and I was five minutes late.  Whoops!  Since I was seeing the show at a movie theater I semi-mindlessly assumed there would be twenty minutes of previews like there is with every movie, but there were zero minutes of preview with Bon Jovi's Encore Nights.  Because it wasn't a movie!  It was a special, one-night-only concert Jenny, think.  Movie theaters in Dallas, Houston, and Shreveport had the show and you weren't late if you were in the right mindset.

4 Surprising Observations About The Bon Jovi Show

1.  The structure of the show.  I was surprised there were no previews, but then again, it was a concert and not a movie and I should have known better.  It was actually refreshing to be at a movie theater and have the start time be the start time.  The opening act (Dean Lewis) kicked off the show exactly at the start time listed on the ticket, and Bon Jovi took the stage about fifteen minutes later.  The encore did happen after the show, with a short countdown clock to let us know it was coming.  There was no lagging or dilly-dallying.  It was almost immediate.

2.  Clapping.  It felt awkward at first, but eventually, the crowd warmed up and started interacting with the screen as if it were a live concert.  There was clapping and hootin' and hollerin' even though it took a while to work up to it.  There was even some singing along (off-key), and that would have been drowned out had we been part of a live audience.  Sometimes loud crowds are helpful.

Jen Austin - Townsquare Media
Jen Austin - Townsquare Media

3.  Other band members got more attention.  Phil X was completely amazing.  He's played lead guitar with Bon Jovi since 2011 and officially replaced Richie Sambora in 2016.  He played the "talk box" with his mouth on two songs (Livin' on a Prayer and It's My Life) and it was fascinating.  The high-tech talk box had wires and tubes coming out of it and sort of made Phil X look like an alien while he was singing into it, but also made the crowd realize how incredibly talented he is.  At a live show, we might have been half-listening to the concert while chatting with friends and drinking cocktails, but in a movie theater setting, we got an up-close view of everything.

4.  Jon Bon Jovi's face was a lesson from a vocal coach.  Jon Bon Jovi's facial expressions and eyes were something to marvel at while he was singing, showing us how to really concentrate to get the notes out.  At some points, it almost looked like he was having zero fun because he was working so hard to hit the notes and strike the perfect rhythms and inflections.  It made me wonder if the notes had to be pulled from the tips of his toes, or somewhere down low -- at least the kneecap range.  He was really working hard to enunciate, and on some songs, the vocal registers were lower than on the original recorded versions.  We might have noticed the range, but we probably wouldn't have seen the facial contortions at a live show because the screens would have been further away. and we wouldn't have seen every detail.  In a movie theater setting, it was all there and nothing was overlooked.

I doubt that concerts in a movie theater or at a drive-in will ever replace live shows and the sea of live music fans, but if you're not a huge fan of crowded parking lots and long bathroom lines, a movie theater provides a pretty great way to take in a concert.  In a recliner for goodness sakes.

For so many reasons, concerts at movie theaters may be at least part of the future of music.

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