When Richie Sambora announced a last minute charity gig at the Espy I was so excited because a mere forty minutes of him at Soundwave wouldn’t be enough.
The set consisted mostly of Bon Jovi songs and tracks off his latest album Aftermath of the Lowdown. Thankfully his new record is pretty damn good. He also played the title track of his first solo record, Stranger in this Town, and a handful of covers, one of which being the INXS classic ‘Don’t Change’. Playing with Sambora was Orianthi, and she sang lead on a couple of songs, including one of her own.
Opening with the raw and nasty ‘Burn That Candle Down’ almost brought the house down with its earth shattering opening chords and we got some guitar shredding and solos. It was so great. Next was the single from Aftermath, ‘Every Road Leads Home to You’. His vocal delivery was powerful and the song benefited from the small enclosed space of the Espy. One of my favourite moments was the performance of new song ‘Seven Years Gone’, which is my favourite song of 2012. It was very emotional yet had a rock edge that’s missing from latter day Bon Jovi stuff.
Richie singing ‘I’ll Be There For You’ at Bon Jovi shows may actually be the highlight, and I think that holds true here too. Richie fans didn’t forget where he came from, singing almost every word.
After the almost punk rock ‘Nowadays’, it was Orianthi’s time to shine with ‘You Don’t Wanna Know’ from her latest album Heaven in this Hell. Her voice is amazing, just like her guitar playing. She also took lead vocals on the Jimi Hendrix classic ‘Voodoo Child’. The first verse of ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ was sung by her whilst Richie was playing on the talkbox. ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’ and ‘These Days’ were also crowd favourites. It turns out Richie performed a second encore and I didn’t even know about it! He performed ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince. Darn, I bet that would have been amazing.
All the Bon Jovi songs sung by Richie sounded amazing. Jon Bon Jovi takes up so much of the spotlight, but Mr Bluesman’s got a great voice too. However, he was doing a bit of a Vince Neil occasionally when he would skip words. Maybe it’s an aging thing? It’s certainly noticeable, and I wasn’t just talking about when he was focusing so much on his guitar. Of course, guitar is what he does and there were plenty of jams for the guitar lovers out there.
If you are truly a Bon Jovi fan you should be a Richie fan too, and he delivered! I give his show 4/5!
I saw Richie’s set at Soundwave too, and I actually enjoyed it more because the sound was better and I was much closer to the stage. Nothing new in the setlist, but I’m glad I saw him again!
ESPY SET – FAVOURITE PARTS IN BOLD
BURN THAT CANDLE DOWN
EVERY ROAD LEADS HOME TO YOU
TAKING A CHANCE ON THE WIND
I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU
YOU DON’T WANNA KNOW (from @Orianthi’s album “Heaven In This Hell)
WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE
STRANGER IN THIS TOWN
LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME
SEVEN YEARS GONE
LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER
IT’S MY LIFE