Together and with The Power of We, we can start a revolution. One Soul at a time... ~Jon Bon Jovi *** There's a Story on every street corner, my friend. All you have to do is open your eyes... ~Richie Sambora

Review: Richie Sambora at the Fonda Theater 11/13/12

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How does one transform a small intimate venue like the Fonda Theatre into an arena like rock show? Few people can accomplish such a task. Richie Sambora easily managed to pull off this feat while touring in support of his new solo album Aftermath of the Lowdown.

Primarily known for his fiery fretwork and slick songwriting in Bon Jovi, Sambora seamlessly made the transition to engaging frontman as his years of playing arenas has given him invaluable experience. A line of female fans hugged the front barricade in anticipation of watching Sambora much closer compared to the vastly high and distant arena stage.

It didn't take long for Sambora to heat up as he cranked up his boutique Friedman amplifier and battered Fender Stratocaster for "Burn That Candle Down". Flanked with a highly capable backing band, Sambora sounded superb as a vocalist. It became apparent how vital his background vocals hold together some of Bon Jovi's greatest hits.

"Every Road Leads to Home" was another anthemic rocker that was well deserving of its lead single status from the album. I shouldn't have been surprised but Sambora's guitar tone was outstanding. It could be indexed as the quintessential sound of rock and roll guitar with its perfect blend of overdrive, distortion and sustain.

A perfect example of his hot-rodded guitar sound was during "Nowadays" with its blazing hot riffs that could have been a Foo Fighters song. Throughout the evening fans were shouting out song requests to which Sambora quipped that he could be hired for weddings but was "VERY expensive."

Hailing from New Jersey, it was fitting that Sambora donated all the proceeds of the show to the America Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Fund. Although Sambora had mentioned that "Weathering The Storm" was more about personal problems it was eerily prescient in relation to the damage that Sandy had wrought.

One interesting turn of the evening was the interjection of The Black Keys song "Howlin' For You" into the song "Sugar Daddy." A boost in the energy of the room occurred when he played the Bon Jovi song "I'll Be There For You". A moment of guitar envy swept across me when I saw a stunning double neck acoustic guitar for the jangle of "You Can Only Get So High".

Cell phones were quickly set to record during the opening chords of "Wanted Dead Or Alive" as the crowd ended singing half the song to Sambora. A slowed down version of "Livin' On A Prayer" followed by "These Days" capped out the evening which made me think that Sambora would have been successful even if he hadn't joined Bon Jovi.

Critical Bias: I'm a sucker for good guitar sound and Sambora had it in spades.

The Crowd: '80s arena rock fanatics. Didn't see any big hair though.

Overheard: "I want some "Bad Medicine!" Wasn't sure if they were referring to the song or scoring some drugs.

Random Notebook Dump: Sambora's album was released on indie stalwart Silverlake label Dangerbird records.

"Burn That Candle Down"
"Every Road Leads Home To You"
"Stranger In This Town"
"Taking A Chance On The Wind"
"Weathering The Storm"
"Sugar Daddy"
"I'll Be There For You"
"Hard Times Come Easy"
"Seven Years Gons"
"You Can Only Get So High"
"Who Says You Can't Go Home"
"Wanted Dead Or Alive"
"Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End"
"Livin' On A Prayer"
"These Days"



JonBon Ground-Breaking...

N. Broad corridor gains new low-income rental development


Breaking ground are (from left) developer Craig A. Spencer, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, HUD official Jane C.W. Vincent, philanthropists John and Leigh Middleton, Joan Dawson McConnon of Project HOME, Jon Bon Jovi, state housing official Brian Hudson, Sister Mary Scullion, and Frank Robinson of Greater Exodus Baptist Church. 
The revival of the North Broad Street corridor got a major boost Tuesday with the official launch of a $16 million, 55-unit rental housing development.
But unlike most of the high-end projects in the fast-changing Francisville neighborhood, JBJ Soul Homes will cater to low-income families and individuals trying to escape homelessness.
The project is a collaboration, led by Project HOME and the Greater Exodus Baptist Church and funded, in part, by a foundation run by the rock musician Jon Bon Jovi.

Bon Jovi provided star power at the launch, attended by more than 200 people under a tent pitched on Fairmount Avenue.

"We live in a time when we can't rely on just the government or the private sector alone," Bon Jovi said. "But these collaborations are so important, especially when the country is so polarized."

The Rev. Herbert H. Lusk II said Project HOME approached his church three years ago about developing the triangular property where Ridge and Fairmount Avenues cross Broad Street.
Over a decade, he said, church members spent about $600,000 acquiring all the derelict houses on the block, which were then demolished to create 1.8 acres of open space.

He said the members of his congregation had thought about following the real estate trade winds in the neighborhood and building high-end condominiums.

In recent years, developers have been converting old factories and offices on North Broad into loft apartments. Most recently, the eyesore Divine Lorraine Hotel was sold and slated for renovation into apartments.

But the cofounders of Project HOME - Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon - persuaded Lusk and his congregation to join their effort.

"I had to make a decision to make more money or to serve the people who need it most," Lusk said. Of the decision, he said, "We have to provide for ourselves. No one else will do it."

Project HOME will set aside 40 of the 55 affordable rental units in the four-story building for housing homeless individuals. A nonprofit affiliate of Greater Exodus will operate 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retailing in the building.

Funding for the project came from a broad number of public sources and private donations, most notably Bon Jovi's foundation and the Middleton family of Philadelphia.

Leigh and John Middleton, who run a charitable housing initiative called the Middleton Partnership, have committed a total of $15 million to Project HOME to use for eliminating street homelessness in Philadelphia.

As part of that pledge, the family last year made an undisclosed contribution to Project HOME to renovate an empty apartment house at 21st and Venango Streets into the James Widener Ray Homes.

With the JBJ Soul Homes under way, the Middletons also plan to back Project HOME on a 94-unit rental project at 810 Arch St. that will be developed in conjunction with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp.

Mayor Nutter has vowed to make Philadelphia the first major city in the country to end homelessness. Project HOME is building credibility that the goal is within reach, said John Middleton, a limited partner in the Phillies.

"People will begin to believe we can solve this problem," he said.

About 600 people survive on the streets of Philadelphia, with about 3,000 others living in shelters.

JBJ Soul Homes is expected to be completed by next fall.



Story Update

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Beginnings has been updated.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!


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I am and always have been a Bon Jovi fan. This blog is just my obsession taken a step further, my imagination in high gear if you will. I love to read and decided to see what would happen when I took that love of the written word and ramped it up a bit.

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