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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Joe Thomas
Cast:
Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
This unparalleled live concert was impeccably recorded in high Definition 5.1 Surround Sound. Included is the first ever performance of the Lost Highway album in its entirety. Extras include back stage interviews with band members, rehearsal & sound check footage, interview with set designer, more!

Includes live performances of "Lost Highway", "Summertime", "(You Want to) Make a Memory", "Whole Lot of Leavin'", "We Got it Going On", "Any Other Day", "Seat Next to You", "Everybody's Broken", "Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore", "The Last Night", "One Step Closer", "I Love This Town", "It's My Life", "Wanted Dead Or Alive", and "Who Says You Can't Go Home"!

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.78:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English PCM Stereo
Subtitles:
None
Not Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $24.95
Release Date: 11/13/2007

Bonus:
• Band Interviews
• Set Design Sketches
• Discography
• Ringtones
Lost Highway CD Trailer


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Bon Jovi: Lost Highway (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 3, 2007)

When Bon Jovi hit it big with 1986’s super-smash Slippery When Wet, did anyone think they’d still be selling out arenas more than two decades later? I sure didn’t. I regarded them as just one of the main “hair” bands of the era, another pop fad sure to fade before long.

While I never became enamored of the band’s music, I will admit they’ve earned some respect from me over the years. Before long I discovered that they had more in common with acts like Springsteen than with cheese metal groups like Poison, and their staying power seemed like it had to be a testament to something. Bon Jovi’s appeal still somewhat eludes me, but I can find more to like in them now than I could’ve believed in the Eighties.

With the release of a DVD called Lost Highway: The Concert, I thought I’d give Bon Jovi a fresh look – and listen. As implied by the title, Highway mostly focuses on the band’s 2007 album of the same name. Indeed, the program’s first 12 songs all come from that release: the title tune, “Summertime”, “(You Want to) Make a Memory”, “Whole Lot of Leavin’”, “We Got It Going On”, “Any Other Day”, “Seat Next to You”, “Everybody’s Broken”, “Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore”, “The Last Night”, “One Step Closer” and “I Love This Town”.

The final three songs come from the deeper Bon Jovi catalogue. We get “It’s My Life” from 2000’s Crush, “Wanted Dead or Alive” from Slippery When Wet and “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” off of 2005’s Have a Nice Day.

From what I’ve heard, Highway was touted as Bon Jovi’s “country album”. If anyone can tell me how “country Bon Jovi” differs from “rock Bon Jovi”, I’d like to get that explanation. They added a fiddle player and a steel guitar, and Jon sang with a little more of a twang at times, but otherwise, Highway matches my impression of regular old Bon Jovi.

Which is perfectly fine, if that’s what you want. When I review music DVDs for acts that I don’t particularly like, I attempt to examine the work in an objective way. It’s impossible to completely detach myself from my opinions of the music, but I prefer to concentrate on a theoretical “would it sound good to fans?” point of view.

From that perspective, I expect Highway works just fine. I certainly can’t find anything here that strikes me as especially unpleasant. I see Bon Jovi as meat-and-potatoes arena rock. They do what they do with competence and create some reasonably catchy songs. I gotta say, “We Got It Going On” is such a dumb track that I think it knocked 10 points off my IQ, but I can’t deny that it kind of rocks.

Obviously, if you really dig Bon Jovi, you’ll bump up my rating of “competent” to a higher level, and I expect that the music of Highway will please you. Again, despite the country pretensions, I don’t hear a lot here that strikes me as notably different than standard Bon Jovi. That’s not meant as an insult. Indeed, it’s good that the band doesn’t just throw out their usual charms to make a calculated attempt to capitalize on the popularity of another genre.

Will Highway do anything to broaden Bon Jovi’s appeal to country fans? Probably not, though the boundaries between “rock” and “country” became awfully loose many years ago; after Garth Brooks, I’m not sure they really exist anymore. But if country fans resisted Bon Jovi for all these decades, I doubt the minor genre concessions made by Highway will alter those feelings.

The performances on display here seem good. Unfortunately, I lack familiarity with the studio takes of the Highway songs, so I can’t directly compare them. However, I can say that no problems materialize. The band sounds pretty good, as they display their usual stagecraft. I imagine Bon Jovi would be fun to see live, as I’m sure Jon and company can hold an arena stage well. That natural charisma comes through in this entertaining performance.

Director Joe Thomas uses the standard bag of tricks to bring the concert to the small screen. That means an array of shots and camera movements that will look familiar to anyone who’s seen more than a few shows of this sort. We get some swoops through the audience, pans around the stage, and slightly odd angles. These ensure that we don’t get a static presentation, but Thomas never goes nuts.

It’s not a creative piece of direction, but at least it lacks the spazzy assault that often mars concert DVDs. This is a perfectly competent visual presentation. While it lacks anything to enhance the music, it doesn’t distract either. Given today’s concert video landscape – with abominations like the unwatchable REM Live - I’ll take ordinary but competent.

Maybe that’s why Bon Jovi remain so popular after all these years. They’ve never been innovative or particularly creative, but they deliver arena rock in a reasonably satisfying manner. For Lost Highway: The Concert, they veer slightly into country, but that really just means Bon Jovi-brand arena rock with a fiddle and a steel guitar. There’s nothing here that feels much more country than prior Bon Jovi work, and that should be fine with their fans.


The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C/ Bonus D+

Bon Jovi: Lost Highway – The Concert appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While consistently watchable, the transfer seemed a little dull, especially for something created explicitly for TV broadcast.

Sharpness was usually adequate, though not with terrific definition. While only a few shots looked somewhat blurry – close-ups of drummer Tico Torres were the most affected, for some reason – I didn’t find the definition to ever seem especially satisfying. The show exhibited a mild haziness that wasn’t really distracting but that was noticeable nonetheless. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I witnessed no signs of edge enhancement. Source flaws also appeared absent, though a little video artifacting could be seen at times.

Colors seemed decent. The palette didn’t present a particularly broad range of tones, and what we saw appeared acceptable. The mild murkiness that affected the sharpness also occurred here, as I thought the hues were okay but without much vivacity. Blacks seemed similarly mediocre, and shadows were satisfactory. Again, there was nothing particularly objectionable about the visuals, but I thought they seemed lackluster, especially for a project created for the small screen.

Similar thoughts greeted the unexceptional Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Lost Highway. My main complaints stemmed from the dense feeling of the audio. The various elements felt as though they’d been smooshed together and compressed into one muddy package. Dynamic range appeared lacking, as the vocals and instruments all competed for attention in the same area.

This meant that none of them could ever stand out from the crowd. It became difficult to distinguish between the various components because they all stayed in the same register. Quieter songs fared a little better since they didn’t include so many elements, but most of the tunes came across as mushy and ill-defined to a degree. This didn’t make the audio unlistenable, but the lack of range meant that the songs failed to deliver much punch, and the whole experience could grate on my ears after a while.

The compressed impression also caused the soundfield to seem restricted, though that side of things fared a bit better. Actually, without the moderate stereo separation, it would’ve become impossible to differentiate between various elements. At least with one guitar from the left and another from the right, I could sort of distinguish between the two.

Nonetheless, the soundfield came across as less concise than I’d like. Once again the instruments tended to mush together and they didn’t boast great delineation. The surrounds reinforced the music to a higher degree than usual, which added a bit more muddiness to the mix. Crowd noise also came from the rear, which seemed more appropriate. Ultimately, the audio of Lost Highway was a compressed disappointment.

A few extras complete the set. Band Interviews run for 18 minutes, 10 seconds total and break down into “Jon” (7:06), “Richie” (2:45), “David” (3:11) and “Tico” (5:08). Jon discusses his early life and move into music as well as aspects of Highway’s creation and related efforts. The other three touch on similar subjects. Much of the content feels a bit fluffy, as the emphasis is on praising the album and touting the band. The notes are moderately interesting at times, but they don’t give us a lot of real information. This was a disappointment, as I really hoped David would finally explain why he dons such a ludicrous perm.

Set Design Sketches offers 10 drawings. These give us a view of the planning for the concert’s set. We don’t often find this sort of material for live stages, so I think it’s a nice addition.

For a look at Bon Jovi history, we move to a Discography. Unfortunately, this does no more than show the covers of the various albums. We don’t get track listings or any information about them.

To get some Bon Jovi on your cell phone, go to Ringtones and learn how to do this. Finally, we get a trailer for the Lost Highway CD.

With 2007’s Lost Highway, Bon Jovi expands ever-so-slightly into the world of country, and they do so with decent results. They cling pretty closely to their arena rock roots, so the product should still appeal to their core fans. Lost Highway: The Concert presents a good live performance of the new album along with a few chestnuts. Unfortunately, the DVD suffers from mediocre picture and audio, and it lacks substantial supplements. I expect die-hard Bon Jovi fans will want this one, but more casual partisans should skip it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main