Bon Jovi fans who were looking forward to catching the band on their current Because They Can tour were dealt an unexpected blow on Wednesday, when it was announced guitarist Richie Sambora would be dropping out of the current North American leg until further notice.
"Due to personal issues, Richie Sambora will not be performing on this upcoming leg. All shows will go on as scheduled," read a post on the band's website. No other information was available.
The tour kicked off Tuesday as planned in Calgary, AB, with frontman Jon Bon Jovi apologizing profusely to the crowd for Sambora's unexpected absence. He explained that the band was informed of Sambora's decision just hours before stage time.
"Hey Calgary, I need you more than ever tonight,” he said, according to a report from the Calgary Sun. "If you haven’t heard by now...I got the phone call at about 3:30 this afternoon. We had two choices; pack up and go home or come up here and give you everything we got."
Bon Jovi noted that Sambora is not hospitalized or jailed, but "he won't be playing anytime soon."
The band offered a charitable donation of $100,000 to the Calgary Homeless Foundation to make up for Sambora's no-show.
Sambora, 53, has struggled with substance abuse and is a veteran of rehab, having done several stints in the past.
At any rate, the decision appears to be abrupt--at least on the surface. On Friday, Sambora tweeted on his personal account, "Happy holiday weekend to all....the tour resumes on Tues... On the move again..."
Just hours before the announcement of his withdrawal from the tour, he tweeted benignly about a fan-based video contest related to his latest solo album.
Fans' reaction to the announcement has been mixed. Most expressed concern for Sambora's well-being--but many also noted that they were disappointed and felt they deserved a refund on their tickets. "I … think they should postpone the shows until he is back," commented one fan on Bon Jovi's site. "A bon jovi concert will never be as good without Richie."
The current leg of Bon Jovi's tour includes 15 shows across Canada and the U.S., ending April 25 in San Jose, California.