06/30/2008 7:35 PM ET
Bon Jovi to play free All-Star Week show
Legendary rockers to play for 60,000 in Central Park on July 12
By Jon Blau / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg listed from his podium the names of the great performances in Manhattan's Central Park, from Bruce Springsteen to Elton John to Dave Matthews Band to ... Simon and Garfinkel?
"Simon and Art Gar-funk-el," quipped Jon Bon Jovi, correcting the Mayor's mispronunciation. Bon Jovi can now add his name of the list of acts to play the outdoor venue.
At a press conference from City Hall on Monday, Bloomberg, along with Major League Baseball and the event's sponsor, Bank of America, announced that a free Bon Jovi concert will be held on July 12 at 8 p.m. in conjunction with the 79th All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium.
No more than 60,000 fans will be allowed to attend the event, which Bloomberg said he hoped would be the largest concert in the history of Central Park's Great Lawn.
"My kids will be particularly thrilled," Bloomberg joked. "This will be a performance by one of the biggest rock bands ever, revered by millions around the world, Bon Jovi.
"I have been a fan of Bon Jovi since I had the same haircut in the '80s."
Bloomberg then wisecracked that he expected the concert to go off in a "Blaze of Glory," referencing one of Bon Jovi's most well-known singles. Bon Jovi, the lead singer of the band that bears his name, just stood in back of Bloomberg and took in every play on words from the mayor, who said the city trusted that the band would take the festivities "out of the park."
"Getting this concert together was really a team effort," said Bon Jovi, whose group will be finishing up its top-selling "Lost Highway World Tour" with stops in his home state of New Jersey and then capping it with this pre-All-Star Game concert.
"Major League Baseball wants All-Star Summer to be the ultimate celebration for baseball fans in New York City," said Tim Brosnan, the executive vice president for business for Major League Baseball. "A free concert in Central Park featuring one of the biggest rock bands in the world will reach tens of thousands of fans and put an exclamation point on the week's many fan festivities. Bank of America has been a critical part of making this major event in New York City happen and we value our partnership."
Even though Bon Jovi is not a native New Yorker, he said he now considers himself a resident and is honored to use the same Central Park in which he takes his kids for walks. When he reminisces about what the atmosphere can be like in the Park, Bon Jovi still has vivid memories of rain showering the audience at the Diana Ross show in 1983.
Now he'll join a list of performers that includes the New York Philharmonic, Garth Brooks, Springsteen and Barbra Streisand. It's even the same ground where Pope John Paul II held mass in 1995.
And this is not the first time Bon Jovi has teamed up with MLB, as the group helped promote the league's 2007 postseason coverage on TBS by performing the song "I Love This Town" from their album, Lost Highway, in a full-length promo.
Fans will be able to register for a chance to win free tickets through MLB.com. Check back soon for details.
Tickets can also be obtained on a first-come, first-served basis, two per fan, throughout all five New York City boroughs.
Distribution begins 9 a.m. ET on Wednesday, July 2 at the following locations:
Only 7,500 tickets (with a limit of two per person) to the free Bon Jovi concert will be distributed at Yankee Stadium at the ticket windows outside Gate 4.
Tickets will also be distributed in Manhattan at various locations at dates and times to be announced.
When asked his favorite baseball team, Bon Jovi, a native of Sayreville, N.J., was also as evasive.
"I have been to a lot of baseball games, Mets and Yankees, and I love the game," said Bon Jovi, who is an avid sports fan and the a co-owner of the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul. "But the world knows I am a football guy."
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.