Richie Sambora - Shepherds Bush Empire 16/10/12

Yes, the most talented member of Bon Jovi was in town for a One Night Stand with 2000 people at London's Shepherds Bush Empire.  One date, one new album to promote and one hell of a queue around the block. Richie's new solo album - Aftermath of the Lowdown - is his first in fourteen years, and its great to see him looking better than his has in quite a while and unrestrained from the shackles of  the corporate rock machine that is Bon Jovi.

Those of us that have been to many - too many, frankly - Bon Jovi gigs know that These Days (see what I did there?) the show has a constant background noise of screaming women, so it was nice to see that of the 2000 squeezed into the Empire tonight, just under half of them were blokes - so there was not so much high pitched, pant wetting screaming as usual.

Backed by a very tight and capable band he tore through most of the new album (never failing to namecheck it whenever he got the chance.. good sales technique there Mr Sambora ;-) ). The new album is good, and gets better each play, but when played live some of the tracks come alive even more - Sugar Daddy for example had a whole new lease of life, and sounded brilliant. Some  of the tracks stray into Foo Fighters and even Nirvana territory, whereas others have a Hendrix vibe .. the one thing they don't sound like is Bon Jovi, so we had I'll Be There For  You, These Days, Who Says You Can't Go Home and of course Wanted Dead or Alive to do that.

He had to pause for breath a few times but explained: "Hey I ain't got no Richie Sambora alongside me to take over when I need  rest!"

We had a few covers and snippets from other people.. a bit of Bad Company here, some Springsteen there, even some Beatles but the version of Oasis' "Don't Look Back In Anger" was a bit of an odd choice, especially as he never knew the words too well - but everyone joined in the chorus all the same.

The crowd lapped it up - with all of the balconies eventually ignoring the stewards and joining the stalls -standing up, clapping along , swaying, lighters in the air.. the whole lot!

There is genuine love and affection for the guy who has been through a lot and looks like he's coming out the other side.  Some of the slower songs seemed to take on a more personal nature when he sang them live - songs like the beautiful solo encore "The Answer" and especially "You Can Only Get So High"

What I thought would be a good gig, turned out being a great gig!


(photo credits : Source: Gf/Bauer Griffin)

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