Phil X -- guitarist for The Drills and highly sought-after session musician -- filled in for Richie Sambora for the first time in New Orleans on April 30, 2011. It was strange to watch but he did a good job. Unfortunately, some Bon Jovi fans have been taking their anger out on Phil on his Facebook page. All I can say to that is that Phil isn't the one who needed to check into rehab, nor is he the one who made the decision to continue the tour.
Bobby Bandiera played the solos for You Give Love a Bad Name, Lost Highway (which was minus the instrumental section they added on The Circle Tour), The More Things Change, and Have a Nice Day. Also, serpephone filmed most of the show and deserves our gratitude for sharing it on YouTube. Here is a selection of videos.
It's My Life
Phil's first chance to show off his talkbox skills in front of the Jovi faithful. Jon prefaces this with: "So what's been goin' on in your life, anything exciting? Any piece of press out there?" At least I think that's what he said. Someone correct me if I misheard the Jerseymumble. ;)
Bad Medicine / Oh Pretty Woman
All fun and games with Jon and Bobby practically flirting... apart from the bit where Tico Torres makes a mistake and Jon flies off the handle, kicking an amp (about 6:45 into the video). Most of us have seen Jon have a bit of a sulk and give someone the stink-eye when something doesn't quite go right, but I think this reaction had a little extra stress behind it.
Lay Your Hands on Me
Jon on lead vocals again. David Bryan, Bobby and Phil X share out the instrumental that was added at the end of February.
Have a Nice Day
Bobby's best solo of the day.
Keep the Faith
Ripping solo from Phil X!
Wanted Dead or Alive
By no means is this terrible, but if I had to pick one song where the Sambora touch is missed the most, it'd probably be Wanted.
Livin' on a Prayer
"I send this out to our brother Richie."
Whether the band should have continued to tour without Richie is still a polarising issue, but given the decision has been made to keep playing, I'm relieved they got such a capable guitarist. We could certainly be doing a lot worse than Phil X...