THE home of football on Wearside is currently a hive of activity as the finishing touches are put to the first of three major summer stadium music concerts.

The stage for tomorrow’s gig (Thursday, June 13) by American pop rock act Bon Jovi is still being constructed with tens of thousands of fans from across the country heading to the region.

Eighteen lorries with the remaining pieces will arrive from tonight’s gig in Cardiff in the morning and the work will continue apace so everything is ready by the time North-East support act The Futureheads take to the stage from early evening.

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Outside, the security fences are up, the portable toilets are in place and the buzz is starting to build as businesses in the city centre area get ready for the season’s first of a trio of major events.

Inside, The Stadium of Light looks cavernous; the seats empty and the Premier League pitch covered with white plastic flooring to protect it from the feet of fans of the US band, which shot to fame in the 80s, with hits such as Bad Medicine, You Give Love a Bad Name and Livin’ On A Prayer.

Event stage manager Gordon Hyndford, who is overseeing the assembly of a giant steel rig, behind the stage, in front of the South Stand said: “The lights, instruments, video wall and shiny bits come in on the day of the show.

“It is a tight schedule but it worth it. Bon Jovi can go from two-and-a-half to three hours depending on the liveliness of the crowd. He has been doing some pretty long shows because the crowds in England are really into it. He always enjoys playing and they love him.

“He puts his energy and heart and soul into it and it is good honest music.”

The Bon Jovi gig, which is part of the band’s Because We can world tour, takes around 250 people and 40 lorries full of equipment to put together and will be followed by Rihanna on Thursday, June 20, and the North-East Live music festival on Saturday, June 22.

Bon Jovi tickets, from £73, are still available at