Sambora Rocktober: my dream set list


Let’s get one thing straight right from the beginning.

I do NOT ‘dream’ about Bon Jovi guitarist and Tall Slim Duke Richie Sambora. 

At least not in the way the Lil Richie Sambo Hoes do, and they know who they are.

Mine are confined to his supreme musical sensitivity, his raw guitar power and grace, and yes though I’m completely hetero, I’m a sucker for the chocolate brown puppy dog eyes that are at once mischievous and vulnerable.

Since I came late in my Bon Jovi fandom to an appreciation of Richie Sambora, I can safely say that I dared not ever write a piece about him until I ‘got him’. 

That involved immersing myself into his music, watching him onstage, solo and at Bon Jovi shows, and just being knocked out cold by his humbleness and humility.

Consider he has been a famous rock God for thirty years and he’s not a prick, like a certain lion-like band-mate who never met a mirror or a dollar bill he didn’t like.

But I digress.  I’m supposed to be sharing my Richie Sambora dream…


So without any further adieu:dream4

Hard Times Come Easy:  this straightforward rocker from Undiscovered Soul features crisp and cool Sambora with layered guitar chords and that exquisitely versatile growling tenor voice. 

Nowadays: a barn-burner from his third solo disc Aftermath of the Lowdown, Sambora adopts a Lennon-like vocal with rapid-fire diction that mimics hyperactive thought processes that typify our wired up broadband global universe where we have more means of communicating with each other than ever yet say less of any import or significance.

Ballad of Youth:  this over-looked gem from his first solo effort, Sambora steps easily front and center after being the reliable chops of Bon Jovi’s biggest records, Slippery When Wet and New Jersey.  A celebration of freedom as much as it is a statement about living in the now and not obsessing on the past. 

Sambora biatches have enjoyed the video for years, with slender Richie at his long-haired finest in a sleeveless t-shirt playing guitar with the slender fingers ladies have dreamed about since they first saw Sambora on MTV.

dream2Fallen From Graceland:  “There’s a burning light in this town, for every heart’s that broken down tonight”. 

Showcasing a sparse arrangement and the silken vocals that have enabled him to sing the higher melody lines that Bon Jovi struggles with, this song is like a warm arm around the listener, telling us that we all hurt, we all have pain, we all fall short or crumple to the ground, but we can get back up.

Downside of Love:  You want a scorching blues line and vulnerable Richie vocals? 

“On the downside of love when you’re misunderstood, because when it hurts ya it hurts ya so good”. 

Love is bliss and pain, careening from the pearly heights to the reality of lows borne of being taken for granted or not appreciating someone.

One of the best guitar arrangements on his early work.

Mr. Bluesman:  how many times have the uninitiated Bon Jovi fans said with a deer-trapped-in-the-headlights look on their face, “Why do they call Richie Mr Bluesman?  Bon Jovi doesn’t play any blues”. 


The blues are in the core of every rock guitarist.  They course through their veins and  manifest and in a vocal growl that showcases the highs and lows of a musicians life lived on the road; a life well-worn and celebrated with music whether knocked down, kicked around or just plain disrespected. 

“I play the blues, I guess the blues must be just what I am”.

dreamThe Answer:  the most beautiful song Richie Sambora has ever written and recorded on his own. 

A true show-stopper “There’s a world in every drop of rain, embracing oceans sweep us home again, come along with me, come along with me, see the truth you shall not find another light”. 

With exquisite vocal range and sensitivity, he ponders existence, fate, reincarnation, and the ebb and flow of life from youth to maturity.

Stranger In This Town:  another blues influenced song and first single from the album of the same name.

He’s a lone ax slinger going from town to town singing the blues no matter the weather life throws in his way.

“ I walk alone in the darkness of the city, got no place to call home, my life is dying but you can’t hear a sound…the midnight train is coming down…im just a stranger in this town”.

And for the blues-ignorant, Richie provides another stellar blues solo that takes away any doubt that the man has the blues.

Undiscovered Soul:   a beauty of a piece that talks about trying to leave behind a past best forgotten while trusting oneself enough to go forward eternally hoping for better. 

Yet no matter where we go we take ourselves with us, and to that end “when your only hope is to find a home just an undiscovered soul in the great unknown”.  Life is like an onion peel: there are gonna be moments when we cry, and more will be revealed.173390_et-richie-sambora_RRD_

You Can Only Get So High: two decades after Undiscovered Soul, this song is a shockingly truthful and honest revelation that Sambora has indeed discovered who he is after he didn’t recognize himself and was faced with doing something about it, or dying.

“An empty bottle preached the gospel, another shot ain’t comin’ close to savin’ me”. 

Father Time:  his second most beautiful song next to The Answer this stands as ode to a lost love, taken for granted that is now gone. 

Sambora begs for extra innings, overtime, to try to repair his mistakes and correct things, if only he could. 

Knowing she isn’t coming back, he then yearns for time to get him through another day and heal with each passing minute.


I’ll Be There For You: anyone who saw Sambora perform this song live and solo on tour in 2009 or on the Madison Square Garden DVD can agree he made this Bon Jovi song his own, and it is nothing short of a love-note to the fans that have stood by his side during the heady rise to fame and all the speed-bumps in between yet have refused to love him—and he them—any less.

Encore:  Seven Years Gone: a powerful ballad expressing a mid-life re-awakening. 

The whirlwind life on the road, the blurred nights of after-parties and befuddled morning after’s all start to run together and one day, ‘you wake up, move on; times of change happen way too fast tearing moments from the past; while today’s singing yesterday’s song, you grow up, move on , you’re seven years gone”.

The song ends with the best guitar solo Sambora has done with or without Bon Jovi.

Be sure to find and follow Glenn Osrin on Facebook and on twitter @wizardofosrin



2 Responses to “Sambora Rocktober: my dream set list”

  1. Dina Kaster Says:

    Glenn, you’ve done it once again! Just finished your piece and I love it! “Lion like band mate” LOL You’re the best!

  2. Patricia Miner Says:

    I love your set list, but you forgot one of his best songs. One Light Burning! It is a beautiful song!

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