A new face will be on stage when it's showtime for Bon Jovi in Jakarta, Indonesia on Friday, Sept. 11.
It's Matt O'Ree, the Jersey guitar ace who will replace Bobby Bandiera as touring guitarist for the band's upcoming shows in Asia and the Middle East, according to multiple sources. O'Ree is a blues-based guitarist with an incendiary rock 'n' roll attitude who's very familiar to Jersey Shore music fans. He's the winner of the 2006 Guitar Center and Guitar World Magazine "King of the Blues" guitar contest.
"Matt has great skill set as a player, certainly," said Tony Pallagrosi, a Jersey Shore -based concert promoter and a former member of Soutside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes who has played with Jon Bon Jovi. "I can hardly wait to see how Matt integrates into the band. It's should be very interesting musically."
O'Ree, as frontman for his Matt O'Ree Band, or M.O.B., tackles all styles of rock 'n' roll.
"Bobby (Bandiera) played a lot of lead and sectional parts -- it's not as simple as Matt playing just rhythm," Pallagrosi said. "There are a lot of harmonic parts that were an integral part of the licks of the song. I think Matt will be doing much of the same thing, only in his own way."
O'Ree, of Holmdel, is considered one of the good guys on the Jersey Shore scene. He's often joined at his shows by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan.
"Matt's a great guy," Pallagrosi said. "We're lucky here at the Shore that a lot of musicians and a lot of the people in the scene are really great people."
Phil X, who replaced the departed Richie Sambora, remains with the band on lead guitar. No explanation for the switch has been given by the band.
Bon Jovi's shows Monday, Sept. 14 in Shanghai and Thursday, Sept. 17 in Beijing were canceled on Monday, Sept. 7 as ticket sales were stopped with no explanation by the Chinese government. It's suspected that authorities did not approve of Bon Jovi's use of an image of the Dalai Lama as a backdrop in previous concerts.
The band recently released the album, "Burning Bridges," its first without Sambora.