Tuesday, October 4, 2016

In defence of Richie Sambora

RSO copped some flak during their Australian tour, with Richie Sambora receiving the brunt of it (although I've also read some disgusting comments about Orianthi that I doubt she'd be getting if she were male). Their Melbourne show was thoroughly slammed by fans on Richie's own Facebook page (these comments have since been deleted). Fan reviews from the Adelaide, Sydney, and Brisbane gigs were generally more positive, but then RSO performed at the NRL Grand Final pre-game show and it kind of went downhill again.

Social media was even comparing RSO's NRL Grand Final performance to Meat Loaf's performance at the 2011 AFL Grand Final, a comparison I found to be rather hyperbolic.

Here's RSO at the NRL.

And here's Meat Loaf at the AFL.

Obviously I am biased towards RSO, but given Bat Out of Hell is one of my all-time favourite albums, I love me some Meat Loaf too. And whatever you think of Richie or Ori, it was nowhere near as bad as that.

I thought "Wanted Dead or Alive" was fine. I'd have preferred them to do one of their respective solo songs rather than "Livin' on a Prayer" -- if any song is going to expose your vocal limitations, it's "Prayer". And because it's such a recognisable song when performed electric, everyone notices when you don't do the key change, or try to alter the song to fit your voice. To be honest, Jon Bon Jovi can't really sing it anymore either, but he has the luxury of being able to point the microphone towards the crowd and have tens of thousands of people sing the chorus for him. RSO doesn't.

In all honesty, being a Richie fan can be a roller coaster ride. He's got his well-documented demons. He makes up BS excuses when he cancels shows. He's not the easiest person to love. But then I put on a track like "Father Time" and remember why I do still love him.

Anyway, I'll finish this post with a video of Richie performing "Harlem Rain" at Enmore Theatre in Sydney. More solo stuff (from both Richie and Ori) and fewer covers is what I'd like to see from an RSO show (along with whatever they've come up with together, once it's released). They skipped out on Perth this tour, but I still haven't given up hope that I'll see them someday.


  1. Hi Lee-Ann,

    Let me start by saying that I'm glad you are more active here again ;). I've been reading your 'articles' for many years now, but recently (as in the last few months) it has been pretty quiet ;).

    I haven't read any of the Melbourne comments so I can't judge based on those comments, but I remember a time (was it back in 2006?) when people said Richie was drinking again which they motivated by him chewing gum during a concert. In the end they were right: he was drinking again. But no one ever mentioned that about Orianthi.. I mean, she is always chewing gum during a gig and I have to say, it doesn't really look charming (to say the least). I always wondered why she does that. Chewing with an open mouth... That being said, she is an absolutely great guitar player! She plays with much more feeling that for example Phil X does, who until now still doesn't play the These Days and Always solo's right; I miss the (soulful) feeling Richie put into them.

    You also write the following: "but then RSO performed at the NRL Grand Final pre-game show and it kind of went downhill again". No one has mentioned it yet, but was I the only one who thought it was strange that Ori played the LOAP solo?

    I also want to ask, do you know the setlist of the gig at Eatons Hill Hotel & Function Centre, Brisbane? I can't find it anywhere. I did find some videos and those are kinda odd. It's like he introduced an acoustic request session or something like that? How did he end up doing that? There's no band to be seen anywhere...

    Right before playing The Answer he aso talks about the Melbourne gig, but I can't make out everything he is saying, the same goes for when he suddenly stops playing the song. Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bte-sNUFgBM
    He also played a part of Rosie, Made in America and All that Really Matters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej9WCIstgHA

    His voice does't sound that bad during The Answer.. We have seen it multiple times in that past. One day Richie's voice is really warm and good and the other day it's hoarsely (like it sounded during the pre-game show).

    Any way, I'm hoping you can shed some light on a couple of 'subjects' I raised ;).

    Kind regards,


    1. Hi Marco,

      Thanks for your support. Sorry for the late reply! I didn't get a notification about your comment for some reason.

      I don't think chewing gum alone was what made people think Richie was drinking again; IIRC it was accompanied by comments that he looked unhealthy and that his playing was a bit sloppy, etc. Orianthi's guitar work doesn't seem to have suffered, plus she doesn't have a documented history of substance abuse. Though I did read a comment on a forum that implied Ori was enabling Richie's problems or something like that.

      Regarding Prayer, it might be better if Richie does all lead guitar parts and Ori sings it, though I feel they should be sticking to the acoustic version. I think the NRL GF version was on playback with live vocals though.

      I couldn't make out everything he said before The Answer either (that reverb!) but here's what I heard:
      "I'm gonna try; if I mess it up, don't get mad. Some people in Melbourne, they got a little pissed off because I couldn't get back to the mic in time because I'm pushing pedals. I got such shit on social media... (I couldn't make out the next part)"

      I haven't seen an official or confirmed set list for Eatons Hill in Brisbane but I think this is what they played:

      When Love Comes to Town - U2 cover
      Livin' on a Prayer
      Heaven in This Hell
      Every Road Leads Home to You
      Lay Your Hands on Me
      Black or White - Michael Jackson cover
      Stranger in This Town
      According to You
      How Do You Sleep?
      I'll Be There For You
      I Got You Babe - Sonny & Cher cover

      The Answer
      Made in America
      All That Really Matters
      Wanted Dead or Alive


Thanks for giving me your time.