Bon Jovi rocks Austin sans Sambora
Bon Jovi rocks Austin sans Sambora

Bon Jovi rocks Austin sans Sambora

Following Richie Sambora’s sudden departure from the current 49-city leg of the Bon Jovi tour, the big question was whether or not longtime fans would truly miss his departure.  Amidst speculation as to what exactly happened between the two Jersey boys and regardless of the whys, Sambora leaving has had a enormous impact on the tour and fans haven’t held back on expressing their frustrations and disappointment. In his absence, Canadian guitarist “Phil X” Xenidis occupied his role and was very familiar with his surroundings as he had filled in for Sambora on more than a dozen shows in 2011 when the guitarist went into rehab.

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Bon Jovi‘s “Because We Can” tour is the American rock band’s fifteenth concert tour.  It is named after the lead single from the album which has merited them the biggest single launch in the iTunes era of the band’s storied career.  The album cover for “What About Now” has unleashed an exciting and unprecedented interactive experience for fans via the free Bon Jovi App.  This mobile app is at the heart of the new album and tour—tying together the latest content with cutting-edge augmented reality, an image recognition technology for smartphones and tablets that creates an interactive “wow” experience.  Point the Bon Jovi app at the “What About Now” artwork wherever it appears, and see it come to life in front of your eyes. This is something you have never seen before!  All five major continents will be visited during the 2013 tour, including stops in Wales, Africa, Bulgaria and Poland.

Bon Jovi appeared in Austin, Texas on Wednesday, April 10 at the Frank Erwin Center.  Despite Sambora‘s absence, the band performed to the near sold out venue.  Jon was backed by Phil X on lead guitar, hard-hitting drummer Tico Torres, keyboardist David Bryan, bass guitarist Hugh McDonald, and Bobby Bandiera on rhythm.  Bon Jovi did not have an opening act and delivered a bounteous 2.5 hour set consisting of 26 hits from both old and new albums.  The acoustics sounded superb and his voice was never outdone by the music.  Jon Bon Jovi and the band are definite crowd-pleasers and succeeded in delivering a high-powered and dynamic performance.  Phil X was rarely caught not smiling or engaging the audience and the band seemed tight and solid.

The stage modeled the band’s heart and dagger logo with ramps extending from the stage to an extended 180-degree catwalk in front.  Behind the band and during the song “It’s My Life”, hydraulic columns ascended and descended to form video screens.  The seasoned rocker climbed the columns on occasion to interact with fans seated behind the stage.

When a female fan got lucky and planted a big wet one on the singer, Jon laughed it off saying “I’m too old for you to be kissing me like that!,” before lying back down on the catwalk to let her kiss him again. It was a moment she will not soon forget!

So while many were still disappointed by Sambora‘s absence on stage, it would be iniquitous to say that Bon Jovi didn’t deliver a top-notch quality performance.  Phil X handled the unenviable task of replacing Sambora with genuine style and absolute talent.

At the end of the evening, Bon Jovi thanked Austin and proudly changed into a University of Texas Longhorn Jersey to perform his last two songs “I Love This Town” and “Twist and Shout”.  He introduced everyone and thanked everyone on behalf of his bandmates, including “those who are not here”.

Austin Setlist:

  • That’s What the Water Made Me
  • You Give Love a Bad Name
  • Born to be my Baby
  • Raise Your Hands
  • Runaway
  • Lost Highway
  • Whole Lot of Leavin’
  • It’s My Life
  • Because We Can
  • What About Now
  • We Got It Goin’ On
  • Keep the Faith
  • (You Want to) Make a Memory
  • Bed of Roses
  • I’ll Be There for You
  • We Weren’t Born to Follow
  • Blood on Blood
  • Who Says You Can’t Go Home
  • I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
  • Bad Medicine
  • Saturday Night
  • Wanted Dead or Alive
  • Have a Nice Day
  • Livin’ on a Prayer
  • I Love this Town
  • Twist and Shout

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