Jon Bon Jovi (center) personally chose one-time San Diego band Daring Greatly to open his 12,000-seat Las Vegas show.
“We had to arrive at the arena at 1 p.m. and we were playing at 8 p.m.,” says guitarist Dail Croome of Daring Greatly, who won a contest to open for Bon Jovi at Las Vegas’s 12,000-seat T-Mobile Arena on February 25. “We were all in moderate awe of everything but remained calm, like a duck [laughs].
“At 7:40, someone came to get us and led us underneath the stage. The view was incredible — you could see the far end of the arena stands, and the whole upper tier. It was ominous, and beautiful.” Originally from Canada before relocating to San Diego in August 2015, Daring Greatly features 49-year-old Croome alongside his sons Patrick and Liam.
...by Daring Greatly
“We had about 50 people come from Canada, and 50 people come from California. Some of them spotted us underneath the stage and started screaming and cheering. It made us feel like we weren’t alone.”
The group has been touring with auxiliary guitarist Greg Douglass, best known for playing on and co-penning radio hits with classic-rock acts Elvin Bishop and the Steve Miller Band. (“The royalties from ‘Jungle Love’ alone paid for our house.”)
“We met Greg at ‘Revival of the Singer/Songwriter’ at the Belly Up,” says Croome. “We weren’t familiar with Greg or his work.” The band and Douglass began playing Steve Miller tribute shows as the Pompatous of Love, though they were soon minus guitarist Brandon Haddow, stuck back in their Canadian homeland due to immigration issues.
In fact, the United States’ new immigration policies are forcing all the Canadian transplants to depart San Diego in favor of life on the road, for an ongoing world tour. Croome says the fact that their Las Vegas headliner personally chose them to open indicates they made the right decision. “We were told we were going to meet Jon Bon Jovi before the show, but plans changed. We met the band and Jon, and got a picture with Jon after our show, just before Jon went onstage.”
Douglass, long accustomed to playing big rooms with big stars, concurs that their rock-star host was gracious backstage. “Then I piled all my stuff onto my trusty mini-dolly, headed out the back door, and caught a cab to my room at the MGM Grand,” says Douglass. “I missed Bon Jovi’s set, but the television in our room was first rate.”