Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi are back together—at least for a night. Sambora took the stage with the Bon Jovi frontman and the rest of his former bandmates for the group’s long-overdue Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in Cleveland on April 14. The reunion performance, which included some of the band’s biggest hits, marked the first time founding guitarist Richie Sambora played with Bon Jovi in nearly five years.
Richie Sambora’s Bon Jovi reunion performance included the songs “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “It’s My Life,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and the 2016 track, “When We Were Us,” a song the band released three years after Richie’s departure. The four-song performance featured Richie Sambora playing “When We Were Us” live with Bon Jovi for the first time ever as he shared a microphone with his longtime musical partner Jon Bon Jovi.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Sambora detailed his reunion with Bon Jovi, explaining that it wasn’t awkward at all to play with the guys he first met more than 30 years ago. After a years-long estrangement from the band, Richie said his reunion with Jon Bon Jovi at a California rehearsal studio was great.
“He came up and kissed me; I kissed him back. He said, ‘I love you’; I said, ‘I love you, too, man. Let’s get it on.'”
Sambora also talked about reuniting with the rest of the band, including long-departed bassist Alec John Such, who hadn’t played with Bon Jovi since a one-off performance in 2011.
“It’s always great to see the guys,” Sambora told Rolling Stone.
“There’s a lot of love here, that’s for sure. When I first walked in, we hadn’t seen each other in three years, and they go, ‘Does it feel awkward?’ No… it doesn’t feel awkward at all.”
Richie also explained why he decided to depart the band he played in for 31 years, citing the heavy touring schedule that comes along with being a Bon Jovi band member. Sambora revealed that his last tour with Bon Jovi lasted more than 18 months and that the universe gave him signs that it was time to take a break. But Richie didn’t rule out the possibility of permanently returning to Bon Jovi sometime in the future, saying, “We’ll see. You never say never. It’s not in any immediate future plan, that’s for sure. It’s just not.”
In his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech, Richie Sambora said he was proud to be working with Bon Jovi once again.
“I gotta say thank you to everybody in this band because, the hardest thing to do, I believe, is to find four guys with yourself that will go through anything, that will work hard, that’ll go crazy, whatever it took,” Sambora told the Rock Hall crowd, according to Rolling Stone. “And we did that for a really long time. But boy, was it fun. If I wrote a book, it would be the best time I ever had.”
Richie Sambora previously talked to Billboard about his reunion with Bon Jovi for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, saying it felt great to see everybody.
“We already rehearsed and it was wonderful, it wasn’t awkward,” Sambora told Billboard last month. “The chemistry came back very quickly; it’s matrixed into our muscle memory at this point. If you’re on the road performing and touring for 30 years, [the Rock Hall ceremony] is just another cycle — and it’s a good one, so here we go.”
You can see some of Richie Sambora and Bon Jovi’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance below.