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BON JOVI: LOST HIGHWAY
The Concert

Review by Mark Wiechman

Bon Jovi Lost Highway:  The Concert
Stars:  Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres
Director:  Joe Thomas
Video:  Color widescreen aspect ratio 1.33:1
Studio:  A&E Home Video
Special Features:  See Review
Length: 84 minutes
Release date: November 13, 2007

Film ***

As a child of the 1980’s I grew up with the so-called “hair bands” of the time, playing heavy metal in pop format (or was it the other way around?)  Many of the bands featured great lead guitar, strong male vocals, and of course plenty of overblown bad hair that would put any 70’s disco queen to shame.

So many bands had a hit or two, made some money, got some groupies, and then faded away.  As with any new style, there were a few great bands with talent and longevity, then a second tier that stuck around for a longer time, and then there were the bands that joined the party too late and were  yesterday’s news before the sun even set. A few classic bands such as Deep Purple even made comebacks.  You had Van Halen, Def Leppard, continuing recordings by Rush, Ozzy, and a few others.  Bon Jovi have never been taken too seriously by critics but they have had surprising staying power, probably because their songwriting and performances have always been good and they still work hard to create new things.

The song that blasted from every car radio in America in the spring of 1987 was Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name.”  Bon Jovi’s third album, “Slippery When Wet,” was one of the biggest hits of the decade, but  like so many other bands of the era, a few years later they could not get a new  song on the radio.  They did continue to record, tour, and eventually had another big hit, “It’s My Life.”  The cut could have been on any of their 80’s albums and reintroduced the public to one of the best bands in America.

Then like many other bands they slipped away after their “comeback.”  They had two choices:  a CD of covers (see:  Def Leppard’s “Yeah!”) or a country album.  I don’t think anyone expected the latter, but that’s what they did with their “Nashville” album, “Lost Highway.”  The CD "Lost Highway" was a number one CD all over the world.  A single from their previous CD was clearly a country statement, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” a duet with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.  It hit #1 on the country chart and gave the band a new showstopper, so doing a whole CD in the contemporary country style should not have been a surprise.

While I love that tune, I assumed that this new album was just a stunt  or a stab at being relevant.  Then I watched this concert, and realized that they had already done another great country-rock tune:  “Dead or Alive,” which is also featured in this concert.  So the lesson here is that maybe we should not have been surprised that Bon Jovi did a sort of Eagles-in-reverse shift in direction.  They were never a metal band anyway, just a hard rocking band that championed the working man, just as country singers always have.

One of the nice surprises is to find that Richie Sambora’s personal troubles of the last few years have apparently not affected his outstanding guitar work and underrated vocals as he puts in a great performance as always and holds his own with Mr. Bon Jovi.  They also perform the new CD in its entirety, which they had never done with prior albums.

Songlist:  1) Lost Highway, 2) Summertime, 3) (You Want to) Make a memory, 4) Whole Lot of Leavin', 5) We Got it Going On, 6) Any Other Day, 7) Seat Next to You, 8) Everybody's Broken, 9) Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore, 10) The Last Night, 11) One Step Closer, 12) I Love This Town, 13) It's My Life, 14) Wanted Dead or Alive, 15) Who Says you Can't Go Home.

Audio ***1/2

The mix is not as creative compared with many other recent  concerts but it works fine, you can hear everything adequately.  No DTS, which is unfortunate for such a good production.

Video ****

A high-def shot with interesting angles and no ridiculous interruptions or other problems with the images or the production itself.

Features **

The interviews with the band are fairly brief, Tico's is by far the most interesting.  John almost acts like he would rather be somewhere else.  There are also sketches of the stage production which was apparently built just for this show.    There is a discography, ringtones (well really just an ad for them), and a trailer for the CD.  Nothing to get excited about.

Summary:

Hopefully this excellent production will further promote the new direction of the boys from Jersey, who continue to write great tunes that are not set in any particular time or genre.

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