The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
RSO Richie Sambora Orianthi - Live Review
September 27th 2016


Margaret Court Arena on a chilly Spring Melbourne night was the scene for RSO, aka the pairing of former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora and Adelaide born guitar shredder Orianthi, on their headline National tour and special appearances such as this weekend's NRL Grand Final with Keith Urban.


Support on the night was an acoustic set from Sarah McLeod (of The Superjesus fame), who sadly I missed. But from all reports online post show, she nailed it and provided the highlight of the night for many.

Walking into the stadium via the photo pit, the sight of a semi filled arena was not totally unexpected, given the slow trickle of fans entering whilst waiting outside. As minutes turned into tens of minutes and then an hour past the scheduled kick off time, Richie and Orianthi finally hit the stage to a bevy of bronx cheers. Clad in black leather jacket and sunglasses, where my first thought was Elvis, Sambora walked up to microphone and with the unmistakeable sound of trademark talk box, the duo launched straight into one of the greatest ever rock anthems, Livin' On A Prayer. Maybe an intended choice to reward fans after the hour long wait, however it somewhat backfired, as this version of the song failed to ignite the crowd who clearly were expecting more from what should have been a roof lifter. Or maybe it was an apology they were most wanting after the hour-long wait?

Trading off tasty blues licks, Richie and Orianthi ripped through U2's When Love Comes To Town, with pun no doubt intended given the pair's two year strong relationship. Continuing on the blues train and rolling jams that dominated the night, sadly it wasn't Mr Bluesman off Stranger In This Town, but a rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughn's Pride N Joy. In amongst her stints with Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper, Orianthi has released three solo albums, with the title track from Heaven In This Hell up next, followed by Black Or White, the not unexpected nod to her days with the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson. I've got to say, can the powerhouse bass player Mike Bradford slap those strings, the definite highlight of this song.

Lay Your Hands On Me, another of Bon Jovi's biggest anthems and a song Richie has more than regularly taken lead on during his Jovi hey day, similarly failed to raise barely a whimper or murmur from the crowd, a fact not lost on Richie "I ain't hearing shit so far". But to be honest, the crowd reaction matched the delivery and with a lack of atmosphere created by the oversized stadium and a poor sound mix, it never stood a chance.

Being vaguely familiar with Orianthi's solo work, her smattering of solo tunes offered the definite highlights of the night for me. What's It Gonna Be and According To You had the energy and punch which the crowd had been clearly craving, evident by these songs getting some of the biggest reactions of the night. Ironic of course, given I'm sure a set full of Orianthi solo material was low on most peoples agenda coming to the show. Props too for her being the one who delivered the very limited stage banter through the set, at least some way drawing back the majority of the crowd, who were equally being pushed away by an often agitated and at times seemingly disinterested Sambora.

Don't worry, in case you were wondering, I haven't forgotten to mention the setlist full of Richie solo material, which the crowd were expecting to hear. With the absolute classic album Stranger In This Town offering plenty of choices to fit in with the ramblingly, jamming, bluesy feel of the night, not to mention the equally enjoyable Undiscovered Soul, we are rewarded with Every Road Leads Home from Aftermath Of The Lowdown... Richie asked the crowd if anyone remembered it, but judging by their reaction, I think it was a pretty definitive no.

I'll Be There For You was the song I was personally most anticipating and for the first time tonight we got a very faint glimmer of the Richie Sambora that Bon Jovi fans had grown to love over his years in the band. Those trademark vocals slowly began to reveal themselves and some albeit largely forced crowd interaction and participation gave a little spark, but again the overall delivery just left things short.

Another of the night's covers was the duet of Sonny and Cher's I Got You Babe which closed the set proper, an interesting choice and unfortunately started to sound the death knell for many who wanted to get home before the midnight hour. For those who lasted this long, with Sambora returning to the stage with the trademark double acoustic slung over his shoulder, it's a no brainer what was to come, 'Wanted Dead Or Alive'. It was an almost different Sambora who hit the stage and lived up to the reputation that has helped him become one of hard rock's most recognisable figures.

With an album of their own songs due early next year, maybe that will offer up a chance for RSO to establish their own identity away from what they're both individually most renowned for? Last night wouldn't have created any sense of excitement for what's to come, but then again, as we heard on a few occasions last night, Richie and Orianthi sound like they are having fun what they're doing and maybe to them, that's all that really matters?

Livin' on a Prayer
When Love Comes to Town
Pride and Joy
Heaven in This Hell
Black or White
Lay Your Hands on Me
How Do You Sleep?
Every Road Leads Home to You
What's It Gonna Be
I'll Be There for You
According To You
I Got You Babe

Encore - Wanted Dead or Alive

Photo Gallery - click to enlarge


Monday, 26th September 2016 - Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre, Adelaide
Tuesday, 27th September 2016 - Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne
Thursday, 29th September 2016 - Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Friday, 30th September 2016 - Eaton Hills, Brisbane

Tickets and tour details can be found HERE.

Review by Scotty Rock
Photos by SAS75 Photography