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Bon Jovi circles back, endures 18 March 2010
Detroit Free Press article

Source: Detroit Free Press

Nearly three decades after cutting its teeth on the New Jersey bar scene and its reign atop the late-'80s rock scene, the group continues as one of the world's top touring draws.

After a slight dip in the early '90s -- temporarily displaced by the rise of grunge and alt-rock -- Bon Jovi returned to superstar status through a series of best-selling albums and hit-laden shows. Latest is "The Circle," featuring new blue-collar arena anthems from Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora.

An upbeat Sambora spoke with the Free Press last week from a Kansas tour stop, as the band set its sights on tonight's Palace show.

QUESTION: The band just finished sound check and the show starts in a couple of hours. After all these years, do you still have nervous energy as you prepare to step onstage?

ANSWER: It's excitement, not nerves, really. On this particular tour we want to make sure we cover a lot of ground. We've got 15 albums with so many songs to choose from. Before the tour, Jon sent a list to everybody with 70 songs on it. ... You've got to keep it fresh, and we try to integrate new songs into the set every evening, taking requests off our Web site. We have a different set every night. Jon is always calling audibles. He's like a quarterback up there.

Q: The new album returns your guitar work to a more prominent role. How do you think your playing has changed over the years?

A: Honestly, there are a lot of good guitar players out there, but they're not all songwriting machines. They're more technical guys. I choose, because I'm a songwriter, to play what's going on with the song. With "The Circle," it's a very guitar-oriented record. I got to stretch a little bit, get a little more technical. You grow with the music you write.


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