Bon Jovi has been having an excellent year. The group is currently the top grossing act of the year with over $142 million in earnings but fans still can't ignore the fact that Richie Sambora has been absent for the lion share of the tour. Peter Mantas, a former Bon Jovi stage manager, told USA Today, "It's like the Lone Ranger without Tonto . . . Richie Sambora is an essential piece of Bon Jovi. Most of the hits wouldn't have happened without Sambora as the co-writer. Without Richie, it's not Bon Jovi."
Sambora exited the tour in April and cited personal issues but later Jon Bon Jovi insinuated that Sambora may have relapsed which caused further distance between the two. Sambora told Bon Jovi to stop the trash talking during an interview the Daily Mail.
As recently as last week, Bon Jovi made it clear that he and Sambora were all good. He told the Detroit Free Press, "I love the man to death. He's always going to be the guitar player in the band. He's not been fired. There's been no fight."
This is a big year for the group as they celebrate their 30th anniversary and they're playing their home state of New Jersey this week so many are asking will this mark Sambora's return.
Asbury Park Press music writer Matty Karas explained, "It's weird. This is the band's 30th anniversary . . . It should be a celebration tour; this should be a big deal. It's kind of sad they're going through this . . . It sounds like they're longtime friends and partners and business partners who are having a serious spat. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry spent time apart and Mick and Keith have a love-hate relationship. If they still want to be together, they will do what's good for the partnership."
Session guitarist Phil Xenidis has been filling in for Sambora. He first filled in for Sambora in 2011 when Sambora missed 13 dates after entering rehab.
Bon Jovi North American tour dates (subject to change):
July 22 - Saratoga Springs, NY - Saratoga Performing Arts Center
July 23 - Darien Center, NY - Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
July 25, 27 - East Rutherford, NJ - MetLife Stadium
October 2 - Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena
October 5 - Tacoma, WA - Tacoma Dome
October 6 - Spokane, WA - Spokane Arena
October 8 - Fresno, CA - Save Mart Center
October 9 - Anaheim, CA - Honda Center
October 11 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center
October 12 - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Garden Arena
October 15 - San Antonio, TX - AT&T Center
October 16 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
October 25 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
November 1 - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
November 8 - Montreal, QC - Bell Centre
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