Last updateWed, 16 Sep 2020 2pm


University Student, Alumnus Open for Jon Bon Jovi at Prudential Center

University Alumnus and Current Student from Local Band Open for Jon Bon Jovi

MU Alumnus Bon Jovi 1A band whose members included a current University student Zachary Sandler and University alumnus Jonathan Chang-Soon opened for Jon Bon Jovi at the Prudential Center leg of his “This House is Not for Sale” tour on Sunday, April 8.

The band, called Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son, played a twenty-minute set, performing songs such as “.38 Special.”

The band is a New Jersey -based punk/hard-rock band that formed in December 2010. The current lineup includes: creator, guitarist, and vocalist Bobby Mahoney; drummer James McIntosh; guitarist and backing vocalist Andrew Saul; bassist and backing vocalist Chang-Soon, a music industry alumnus and co-founder and CMO of Blue Hawk Records who graduated from in 2014; and saxophonist Sandler, a sophomore music industry student.

“They were looking for a local New Jersey band to open the show,” said Chang-Soon. “We were recommended to the band’s management and someone liked us. We were officially confirmed as the opener at the beginning of the week and just had a couple of days to prepare. The amount of support we’ve received has been unbelievable.”

“I personally didn’t sleep at all since we heard about the show on Tuesday,” said Sandler.

“Imagine finding out that you’re opening for Bon Jovi at the Prudential Center just five days before the show.”

The show was a sold-out performance with over 20,000 fans filling the stands. According to Sandler, the band also briefly met with Bon Jovi prior to the show.

“I’ve had dreams of performing in an arena ever since I could remember,” said Sandler. “To be able to jump around on the same stage as my inspirations and main influences has been amazing. When we were sitting backstage in our green room, they had pictures hanging on the walls of all the other musicians who have stood on that same stage. Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato… I mean, wow. The only other time I’ve ever experienced this type of feeling was in my dreams.

MU Alumnus Bon Jovi 2“It was a surreal and incredible moment,” said Mahoney. “To get to play in front of so many people, on a stage we have all seen our heroes on, was an amazing moment and opportunity for us. [It is] by far the biggest space we have played.” 

“Playing to thousands of people at the Prudential Center was literally a dream come true,” said Chang-Soon. “About ten years ago, I was poorly covering ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ with my old high school band. Now, things have really come full circle after getting the privilege to open for Bon Jovi, and I couldn’t be more grateful.” 

According to Sandler, the band has been a hit locally and has played the New Jersey rock circuit since 2010; it also has shared bills with both national and local bands. The band’s first full-studio album was released in 2014 and was nominated several times for the “Top Young Band” at the Asbury Music Awards in 2012, 2013, and 2014. 

In 2015, the band was nominated for “Top Rock Band” at the 2015 Asbury Music Awards, and their single “Don’t Ever Love Me” was listed as #4 on DJ Rich Russo’s “New Jersey Top 15” list. 

In 2016 and 2017, the band began to tour more frequently with locations including New Orleans, LA; Toronto, CA; and Nashville, TN. They also opened for Stranger Things’ star Gaten Matarazzo at the Stone Pony in 2018, and have released four studio albums in total. 

Their upcoming schedule includes shows at the Asbury Park Yacht Club (April 13), the Bowery Electric in New York City (April 20), and the House of Independents in Asbury Park (June 14), among other appearances.

“I work very closely with Zack Sandler on high profile university and commercial events, and worked very closely with Jon Chang-Soon when he was a student here,” said Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Music and Theatre Arts Department. 

“Our students become professionals both on stage and in music industry activities while at Monmouth. They learn how to better manage their careers as artists and how to work in all aspects of the broadening business of music and entertainment media. We’re thrilled Zack and Jon got the opportunity to open up for Bon Jovi, and [we’re] not surprised they were ready for it,” Rapolla said. 

“I’d like to give a huge thanks to Monmouth University’s music department and their Chair, Joe Rapolla, for cultivating an environment of growth for all students,” said Chang-Soon. “As an alum, I’m so grateful for Monmouth’s inclusive community that continues to support me after all these years.”

PHOTOS COURTESY of Zachary Sandler

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu