After playing an arena show in Cleveland last March, Bon Jovi is returning to the city with their “Because We Can” tour for the Browns’ “Fan Kickoff Concert” at FirstEnergy Stadium on July 14.
The event is scheduled to start with a fan fest at 4 p.m., followed by local rock-and-roll legend Michael Stanley and The Resonators serving as the opening act at 6:30. Following the Browns’ pep rally at 8 p.m., Bon Jovi will take the stage for a full set of songs from the band’s more than 30 years in existence.
“It’s an exciting day for us to be in a position to announce this exciting event for what we hope is going to be a very exciting season,” said Browns chief executive officer Joe Banner. “We’re thrilled to have Bon Jovi and Michael Stanley be a part of that big event and an exciting kickoff to our season.”
“This is a unique experience, and the big thing is Bon Jovi came to visit us unrelated to having a concert,” added Browns president Alec Scheiner. “When he sat down with Joe, and met with our team, (Bon Jovi) decided he wanted to do something for the city. I’ve never seen anything like it. He essentially partnered up with us to create this event.”
Bon Jovi’s “Because We Can” tour is visiting 75 cities, and the trip to FirstEnergy Stadium is one of only six stadium concerts in the U.S. The Bon Jovi concert will mark the second consecutive year the Browns hosted a music event at the stadium, as they welcomed country music icons Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney to town last July.
“On behalf of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, downtown property owners, downtown stakeholders, and downtown businesses, I want to say how pleased we are that the Browns have taken this leadership role in putting together a fan fest of this magnitude,” said Joe Marinucci, CEO and president of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. “To have an international star like Bon Jovi joined with a legend in terms of Michael Stanley, it’s great to see the Browns partner with downtown Cleveland, and really be part of the story of downtown Cleveland.
“This is an exciting summer. This is a great time to be in downtown Cleveland.”
Stanley has not performed at the site of FirstEnergy Stadium since the 1980s, when the former Cleveland Municipal Stadium was hosting rock-and-roll concerts in addition to professional football and baseball games.
“It’s going to be a great night down here at the stadium,” Stanley said of July 14. “I’m a Browns guy through-and-through. My father was a sports announcer, and he broadcast the first Browns radio game with Bob Neal from the old Akron Rubber Bowl, and then, he took me to the ’64 championship game. I came of age with the Kardiac Kids. We all know it’s a Browns town, and my theory about the whole thing is it’s also a rock-n-roll town. If you can’t have a football game at the stadium, the next best thing is to have a rock concert. It’s going to be a good one, and it’s a pleasure to be involved with a new regime here on the lakefront.”
On behalf of the Cleveland City Council and Mayor Frank Jackson’s office, councilman Joe Cimperman said the city officials “are so thrilled” that Bon Jovi will play FirstEnergy Stadium.
“We cannot wait to see what this is going to be,” Cimperman said. “As somebody who supported this stadium when it was built and was thrilled that this organization is doing what it’s doing, this is what this piece of earth was made for: to make people around the world recognize why Cleveland is great.”