Back Comments (3) Share:
Facebook Button
What are you supposed to do when you have conquered the world many times over and have won every possible award there is to win? Well, that was the tricky (but welcome) dilemma that super rock band Bon Jovi had to face last year. The band had originally planned to release an acoustic CD but weren’t totally satisfied with the results. Instead they scrapped those plans and took the brave and ambitious decision of revamping their previous hit singles. The result was their current album, This Left Feels Right, which in the band’s own word, is a greatest hits album with a twist!

Bon Jovi: This Left Feels Right Live (Special Edition)
The Concert
So, what has their new album got to do with a DVD release? Well as you have probably guessed the band recorded a live performance of the songs to tie in with the release of the CD. Recorded on 14th/15th November 2003 at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey, this concert is for all purposes an acoustic session. Before I continue, it is probably worth giving a brief synopsis of the album itself. Essentially it is an acoustic version (I know the band call it something else, but I would have to disagree!) of the band’s greatest hits, which have been recrafted in the process. All the songs included on the album have been revamped, and it’s fair to say that most of them have been toned down and have a more intimate feel, resulting in a sound which in most cases is completely different to their original form. The album was completed in 23 days and the results were evident for all to see when it shot to the top of the charts. This is a list of songs that the band performed:

[*]Love For Sale
[*]You Give Love A Bad Name
[*]Wanted Dead Or Alive
[*]Livin’ On A Prayer
[*]It’s My Life
[*]Lay Your Hands On Me
[*]Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night
[*]Last Man Standing
[*]Sylvia’s Mother
[*]Bad Medicine
[*]Bed Of Roses
[*]Born To Be My Baby
[*]Keep The Faith
[*]Thief Of Hearts
[*]I’ll Be There For You
[*]Blood On Blood

As you can probably tell from the tone of this review I am a huge Bon Jovi fan. This revelation may cause me endless jibes from my colleagues here at DVDAnswers, but I am not afraid to admit that I have followed the band for over 10 years and have seen them live many times. It is apparent from this DVD that the venue they were playing at was chosen especially to compliment their new material, as the surroundings are intimate and encourage the audience to stand up and dance. I didn’t purchase the band’s latest album so this is the first opportunity I have had to listen to the new versions. I would class myself as a traditional person, and by that I mean that I generally prefer things to be left the way they are, however I can see that in some circumstances the band were right to try different versions. It will probably take fans a while to get used to the changes, but in some cases the benefits are apparent straight away, a perfect example of this being the song It’s My Life, which in my opinion is a really good rock anthem, but the band have changed the rhythm so that it is now a slow ballad. This may not seem like a good idea, but the new version adds a new dimension and meaning to the song.

Bon Jovi: This Left Feels Right Live (Special Edition)
Other impressive songs include Livin On A Prayer, Everyday and Born To Be My Baby. Like most albums there are always some weaknesses and this one is no different. The band have completely ruined Lay Your Hands On Me and Bad Medicine, but I suppose in these cases the changes will make you appreciate the originals even more!

So, what about the band’s performance on this DVD? Well, if you have ever seen Bon Jovi live you will know that they put on a rocking show. I mentioned above that I have been to many of their shows and I can honestly say that I haven’t seen a bad performance by Jon and Co. While the songs may have changed, the band still know how to please their fans. The sad thing about Bon Jovi is that they are no longer considered trendy enough by youngsters, and for that reason a lot of their music doesn’t receive the credit it is due. That said, the band still have a massive following and this is evident within the crowd at this particular concert. Like me, I bet most of the crowd have followed the band since their early days, and will continue to support them through thick and thin!

Running at over 100 minutes, this DVD is definitely a treat for all fans of the band. Even if you wouldn’t class yourself in that bracket, I am sure you will enjoy the concert they put on. Bon Jovi have been on the scene for many years and their experience on stage is evident for all to see. Why waste your money and time watching other concert DVDs when they simply won’t match the boys from New Jersey!

You will probably grow sick of my compliments towards this disc, so conveniently we start with the weakest aspect. I am probably not doing this transfer justice by saying that it is weak because it is far from that. Universal have presented this concert in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, and for the most part this is an exception transfer.  The main concert was shot on high definition video, and looks outstanding. The concert is shot completely in dark lighting, so apart from skin tones and the occasional strobe lighting, this transfer only really has to deal with blacks. Skin tones appeared realistic and black levels were defined and solid throughout. The only real problems with this transfer are with the image detail, which didn’t seem as defined as it could have been, however this could have something to do with the lighting, or the number of soundtracks included (see more about these below). Other than that this is easily one of the best concert transfers I have seen on DVD.  

Bon Jovi: This Left Feels Right Live (Special Edition)
Going on past experiences, in the best case scenario I expected to find a Dolby Digital 5.1 track with this release, so imagine my surprise when I received this release and noticed that a DTS 5.1 track was included as well. In total there are three soundtracks on this disc; as mentioned above there are Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS tracks, and for good measure there is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 track for those without a sound system. To be perfectly honest with you there is a very little difference between the DTS and Dolby Digital tracks, but being a purist I am going to recommend the DTS track as it sounded slightly clearer. The front speakers are mostly dedicated to the instruments and Jon’s voice, while the rears are used throughout for crowd noises and the occasional backing voice. Overall, the soundtracks included are of the highest quality and are a good substitute for not being at the concert yourself.

Subtitles are also provided in English, French, German, Spanish, Brazilian and Portuguese.

Concert DVDs are not renowned for containing extras at all, so Universal and Bon Jovi must be applauded for the effort they have made with this release. Not content with just supplying a great musical DVD, they have also given us a vast array of extras. This is a 2 disc limited edition release, and as expected most of the extras are found on the second disc, which is entirely dedicated to additional material. That said, there is still a reasonable amount on the first disc. Besides the concert itself, you will also find an extra called Everyday with Bon Jovi on the first disc. This is essentially a ‘Behind the Scenes’ documentary which focuses on the band’s build-up to the concert. Accompanying the documentary are various songs from the album. I found this extra particularly interesting because you get to see how much promotional work the band have to contend with. It is also surprising to see how much autograph signing the band do, boy their hands have got to ache after that! A large proportion of this documentary is also taken up with showing how the instruments and stage are set up for the concert. This documentary lasts for 30 minutes and will definitely interest fans of the band.  

Also found on the first disc is an extra called Off The Record which is a collection of five outtakes from the concert. The outtakes have to be played individually and are entitled The Rat Pack, A Blond Redhead and Brunette, Guess What This Is and West Coast/East Coast. Strictly speaking these are not really outtakes, they are really just conversations that Jon had with the crowd during the course of the two evenings. The final extra (if you can call it that) on the disc is called Supporting Cast and is just a list of people who were involved in organising the concert.

Bon Jovi: This Left Feels Right Live (Special Edition)
Onto the second disc, and this is where the fun and games really begin! Probably my favourite extra on this disc is called Clip Poker. This extra is an Interactive Bon Jovi Poker game where you get to play against the band. If you win then you get to see live concert footage from the band’s June 2003 Hyde Park concert where they played to 92,000 people. The poker session is filmed in Ocean’s 11 style and is very slick. I have next to no knowledge of poker but even I managed to win a round. Don’t worry if you don’t manage to win a hand as you can view all the same footage in an extra called Video Jukebox. This extra allows you to choose from six songs that the band performed at Hyde Park, you even get to select the order in which you would like to play the songs. Track included are Lay Your Hands On Me, Raise Your Hands, Captain Crush, Blood On Blood, Bounce and Everyday. Each of the videos are presented in fullscreen and have Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks.

Next up is an extra called Q&A which as the title suggests is a question and answer session. This extra consists of the band sitting around a casino table and answering questions that are thrown at them. The questions focus mainly on the band’s new album, and most of them are answered by Jon. There are some interesting answers which are given throughout the 15 minutes, and fans should lap up this extra. If you are interested in photos then you will love the next extra which is called Snapshots.

The final extra is called Director’s View which is a MultiCam viewing extra where you get to see various angles from three songs. Subtitles are also provided for the extras in English, French, German, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. As you can see, this disc leaves no stone unturned, it really is that good!

Bon Jovi: This Left Feels Right Live (Special Edition)
Love them or Loathe them, Bon Jovi are one of the most successful rock bands that the world has ever seen. If you have ever witnessed them playing live, then you will no doubt agree that they know how to rock. When I first heard that the band were releasing an album consisting of rehashed songs, I have to admit to having been a little apprehensive, but after watching this DVD I was left feeling encouraged. I don’t agree with some of their changes, but for the most part the different versions of these songs should be a welcome arrival for most fans.

As for the DVD, I cannot compliment it enough. This is quite simply the best concert DVD that I have come across so far. It is obvious that the band love our favourite format, and this is perfectly emphasised by the fact that lots of the extras have been created especially for this disc. Combine that with a proficient transfer and 3 enriched soundtracks (including DTS), and there really is no argument against buying this disc. Bon Jovi we salute you, you give DVD a good name!

Note: This DVD was released worldwide at the sametime and is Region 0, so should play on every DVD player.