Richie Sambora – Henry Fonda Theatre – November 13th, 2012
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
Bon Jovi’s lead guitarist and solo artist Richie Sambora is currently on tour in support of “Aftermath of the Lowdown,” his 3rd solo release to date. Since the disastrous Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora have teamed up with the Red Cross in an effort to raise money to help those in need. In addition to Bon Jovi’s performance November 2nd at the Hurricane Sandy Benefit, proceeds from all ticket sales for Richie Sambora’s Los Angeles performance were donated to the Red Cross, as well as the proceeds from autographed Richie Sambora items sold that night.
When they first announced that Richie Sambora would be playing Henry Fonda, I could hardly believe it! I’ve been a Bon Jovi fan for 25 years, and seen them play over 30 times throughout the United States, but I’ve never seen Richie Sambora play solo. Richie didn’t play St. Louis (Where I was living at the time) during his first solo tour in 1991 for “Stranger in This Town,” and on the “Undiscovered Soul” tour in 1998, Sambora stopped in St. Louis for a radio interview, but he didn’t play. I was lucky enough to meet him that day, but it wasn’t until 14 years later that I actually got to see Richie Sambora perform solo.
Richie Sambora’s set primarily focused on songs from “Aftermath,” which is admirable, knowing that fans are always ecstatic to hear ANYTHING Bon Jovi, or even the singles from his first two CD’s. The first three songs were “Burn That Candle Down,” “Every Road Leads Home to You,” and “Nowadays.” I was pleasantly surprised when I looked around the packed house, and noticed how much everyone was enjoying his new music, and even singing along.
Next was the title track from “Stranger in this Town.” Sambora hardy missed a beat before jumping right back into his new material. He dedicated “Weathering the Storm” to the victims of “Hurricane Sandy,” saying that he wrote the song about a storm within, but would like to dedicate it to all the victims on the East Coast.
“Sugar Daddy” was the first real sing-along of the night. Richie would bring the chorus down to a sexy whisper, and then we would all sing it back in return. This went back and forth for a bit before Richie moved into “Broken Wings,” another new song from “Aftermath.” Jon Bon Jovi is always known as the ‘sexy one,’ primarily because he’s the one in front of the stage for most of the (Bon Jovi) shows, moving, dancing, shaking, and of course, singing. But Richie definitely has some moves, and some sex appeal, of his own.
It’s funny that I’ve actually grown accustomed to Richie Sambora singing “I’ll Be There For You” since he often takes over vocals for Jon Bon Jovi during their live shows. What was amazing to me, though, was that his keyboard player “Luke Ebbin” nailed Richie’s backing vocals 100%. It sounded just like Richie #2!
From there it was time for a song from “Undiscovered Soul” called “Seven Years Gone.” Richie said that fans have been asking him to play this song live during their European tour, and on Twitter. And tonight, they gave us the honor of playing it live for the first time. The song was so heartfelt and so real. Watching Richie, and listening to his words, I just thought about everything that Riche has been through recently. His divorce, the death of his father, his struggle with drugs and alcohol… Just the fact he was standing in front of us, singing with a smile, was absolutely amazing to me.
It was cool to hear Richie perform “Who’s Says You Can’t Go Home.” However, I missed the appeal of the original duet between Jon Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles from the 2005 “Have a Nice Day” release (and tour). Richie took a break during the song to introduce the ‘boys in the band’ from his hometown. He even broke to sing a few lines from Bryan Adams’ song “Wild Night” before finishing up the song in true Bon Jovi fashion, with all kinds of alternate vocal endings.
Of course, we all knew that the night wouldn’t be complete without the Bon Jovi ‘National Anthem. ‘After a few short moments, the band returned to the stage to give us their all. Again, I’ve heard Richie do this in the past, and was very impressed with Ebbin’s vocal abilities.
Some fans yelled out “Rosie,” which is one of my favorite Sambora songs of all time. When I heard the first note, I ran to the front of the stage in excitement. However, Richie didn’t remember the words, and stopped after a few lines, to continue on to the 1994 version of “Livin’ On a Prayer.” I have to admit I was disappointed. (I would have gladly jumped onstage and sang for him.)
However, the last song was a surprise, and definitely one of my favorite Bon Jovi moments of the night. Richie closed out the set with the moody and introspective “These Days,” which is the title track from their 1995 release. Overall, it was an absolutely amazing and intimate experience, with a killer and varied set. I am so glad to have had this opportunity. Although it was a first, I sure hope it is not a last.
The Set List Included:
- Burn That Candle Down
- Every Road Leads Home to You
- Stranger in This Town
- Taking a Chance on the Wind
- Weathering the Storm
- Sugar Daddy
- I’ll Be There for You
- Hard Times Come Easy
- Seven Years Gone
- You Can Only Get So High
- Who Says You Can’t Go Home
- Wanted Dead or Alive
- Livin’ on a Prayer
- These Days