|Their first official live album|
Good, but where's that fist-pumping energy and BJ magic?
After almost 20 years going strong in the everchanging music-business Bon Jovi finally came to the conclusion to release a live album. And it's something fans have been waiting for, for a very long time. I myself was excited about this album coming out and the very first day of it's release I was in the record store. So I come home, put the CD in my stereo and sat down. But after a few songs I really started thinking and a short summary of my thoughts were "Is this Bon Jovi live?"
Francly, this album isn't half as good as other live songs and concerts I've heard with this band. As a first fact is that the album doesn't give the band justice to what they really do sound live.
It does have certain songs that however are very good and some that are, well sorry to say, plain out bad.
I feel that this review deserves an in short song by song walkthrough, to really give you my point of view on it.
The first "It's My Life" kicks off, but into what? It has none of the energy that so many of other live performances out there. Just compare it to the version on the Australian bonus cd, they're miles apart!
And then we're off to somewhat of the traditional start in concert with Prayer and Bad Name. Again, pretty much the most tame and uninterested performance of those songs. I mean listen to the same songs on Live From London '95, now that's energy. They even cut the end short on Prayer which was really terrible, normally it's twice as long.
And now, this is probably one of worst scenarios on this album. A fist-pumping anthem like Keep The Faith that can litterary blow the rooftop away from any stadium, it's a recording of a CLUB performance. Live recordings should be made in large places (arenas and stadiums) that are supposed to be on a live album, this is horrible. I guess many of you have seen the performance of Keep The Faith on Giants Stadium broadcast. Now that's what I'm talking about!
But before I'm getting out of hand with bad critics here comes the first awesome song on this album, a beautiful and energetic performance of Saturday Night with the slow intro. Perfect!
Then we're treated with the first cover and that's Rockin' In The Free World, already released as b-sides on the These Days singles (the same live version) but it still is a very good performance and fits the album good.
And now, Something To Believe In from Yokohama '96. Oh man, one of my favourite songs and it's impossible that this song won't sound good live. One of the best ones on the entire album.
Then we're on to their classical anthem Wanted, but once AGAIN in a club performance! On a live album it should most definitely have been recorded from a large venue, that would give it much more of the awesome credit it truly deserves.
Runaway up next, and great to hear a young and hungry Bon Jovi with some true energy, the same goes for In And Out Of Love that follows next.
Then we're on to probably the most worse thing on the album, I Don't Like Monday's with Bob Geldolf. I actually think it's a good recording and a great performance, but it surely doesn't belong on this live album.
Just Older is a good song and it's also very good live, so I like this one.
Something For The Pain up next from Aussie '95, oh what a great performance. More like this, cause this type of energy and performance is what an album like this supposed to have.
So then we have reached the end, a live performance of Bad Medicine. Ok, a fair and almost good one. But a little meaningless, I'll get to why in just a moment.
And it ends with the studio-version of One Wild Night 2001, pretty ok to me.
Concluding it all is that this album has some great and major flaws. The bad things are that some songs are recorded in clubs that are much better and energetic in stadiums, many of the songs miss the energy and power you're used to experience when listening to Bon Jovi live.
And then, they say that it's a live-album from 1985-2001. Ok, it might be. But only because two songs are from -85.
To also mention is that in creating a really 'live' experience you need to have the talk in between and in the songs, where are those things on this album? They have also left out the Slippery Tour (1986-1987), Syndicate Tour (1988-1990) and KTF Tour (1992-1993). Why? Those were awesome tours and some of the best recordings are from those times! Almost all of the songs are from 2000, that's not a good formula in creating a good live album that are supposed to reflect your career. You should have thrown in some surprises on the album like Lay Your Hands On Me, Born To Be My Baby, Wild In The Streets, In These Arms, Dry County, Hey God. Well I could go on forever. The only thing that keeps me from letting the rating on this album drop to one are the excellent versions of Something For The Pain, Something To Believe In and Someday I'll Be Saturday Night.
Sorry Bon Jovi but you were majorly out of luck with this one, better luck next time...