Bon Jovi: Jon Bon Jovi (vocals, guitar); Bob Geldof (vocals); Richie Sambora (guitar, background vocals); David Bryan (keyboards, background vocals); Hugh McDonald, Alec John Such (bass, background vocals); Tico Torres (drums). Producers: Obie O'Brien, … see full wiki
Pros: Has a lot of their hit songs. Is live recordings.
Cons: Very disjointed. Taken from many concerts over a number of years.
The Bottom Line: Fans will have to have it, casual listeners will like the variety of songs, but this one could have been a thousand times better!!
With most live recordings, you get the feel of being in the audience. Hearing the roar as the opening number kicks off and the band hits the stage, that adrenaline rush as the band rolls from song to song, even the between song banter that happens with the band and the audience.
Well, forget it with this collection of live recordings. This CD reminds me of the old bootlegs that I use to get. The disjointed feel and lack of continuity really is detrimental to the overall feel of the album.
That is too bad. I was really looking forward to this album. Bon Jovi does put on an excellent show, but you never get the feel for it from this disc. That is not to say that the recordings are bad, far from it. You do get some of his best work done live. But they seem to be cut and pasted together.
All you have to do is see how the songs "Livin' On A Prayer" and "You Give Love A Bad Name" fit together. Both of these songs are taken from the same concert, with one leading right into the other. Both of them are blistering versions and Richie Sambora does outstanding work on both. Bon Jovi rouses the crowd to sing along with the band and it is evident that this is the way that a Bon Jovi concert flows.
The main problem is there is too few moments like this on the album. Just listen to the way that they kick of the disc with the song "It's My Life." This song is done extremely well and it is a terrific version. The main problem is that it is very clear that this is not the opening song for a Bon Jovi concert. It is the song that I bet they save for an encore maybe. But placed here, it seems out of place. No band introduction, very little crowd noise, it is just a live version of one of their better songs.
This also becomes clear when they finish the two early hits, Living on A Prayer and You Give Love a Bad Name. After this dynamite one/two punch, there is complete silence as we get a different concert and an absolutely smoking version of "Keep The Faith." This song really highlights everything that this band does well. Dynamic vocals by Jon that are accented by the powerful guitar work of Sambora. But it sounds out of context as you go from the loud crowd of the previous songs to the totally nonexistent crowd of this song. Still one of the best songs on the album. The band is tight and right on the mark. Sambora really shows you why he is one of the best here too!!
Next the band jumps back five years to a concert in Melbourne Australia to give you the song "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night." Now again we get a very in to it crowd. The band delivers a great version and the crowd responds to it. This is the kind of thing that live recordings are suppose to capture. You can feel, even if it is only briefly, that bond that is formed between the band and the audience.
One of the surprises on this disc is the next offering, a wild and very dynamic version of the Neil Young classic, "Rockin' In The Free World." You can tell that Sambora is having a ball with this tune! He is electrifying here. Jon sounds more like Tom Petty than Neil Young though. But it does come off alright and Richie makes sure that no one forgets just where this tune comes from as he faithfully rips through this guitar laden, hard rocking, version. It also should be noted that this song is from a concert in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nice touch there! I have listened to this song repeatedly since buying this disc.
The band then delves into a very standard version of their song, "Something To Believe In." This song seems to slow down the whole disc. Even though Sambora does his best to pump some energy into it, there is nothing to be said other than you get this version live, with the crowd helping out with the ending. I could think of a dozen other tunes that would have fit better on this disc.
From there, we travel to another concert and hear Richie on the acoustic guitar doing his magic. He performs a great little introduction to the song "Wanted Dead Or Alive." This song is one of those that everyone in the crowd knows and it is clear that the band will let the audience show their appreciation of this great song by encouraging them to join in and help sing the song. This is how a Bon Jovi party usually goes. The audience helps sing most of the songs and Bon Jovi lets them!
I like the fact that the band includes their very first hit song "Runaway." This is a song you do not hear very often anymore but it is the song that started them on their way. Here they perform a powerful version that is pulled from a concert in Tokyo in 1985. Back when the song was very popular.
Taken from the same concert as the last song, Bon Jovi really tear it up with a version of "In And Out Of Love." These two songs show the band when they were the rough rockers that tried to blast everything in front of them! Sambora is at his most dangerous here. He is like a wild man on the six string in this version of the song. You don't get this very much in the later incarnations of the band.
Another oddity on this disc is the next tune. Here they bring on stage, Bob Geldof to perform his one hit song, "I Don't Like Mondays." Jon gives him a little introduction that takes us back to the time of Live Aid. They do a straight forward version of the song and Bob still sounds good. Well...as good as he ever sounded! When Bon Jovi takes over the vocals for one verse, he does as good as can be expected. This is not their type of song but Jon sounds fine with this little pop ditty. Another unexpected addition to the disc. Not unpleasant, just out of place.
One of their grown up bits of rock and roll, "Just Older" is the next offering. This is one of those songs that is geared to the more middle aged people in the crowd. A good rocker that sounds terrific here, you will notice that it sounds like many a Bon Jovi song that has come before it. The same formula that he has been using for years. A power ballad that gets a little extra dose from Sambora!
"Something For The Pain" is a pleasant little surprise on this album. It is not one of the best known songs by Bon Jovi, but it is a very good one. One of their anthem rockers that sounds as if they had a big stadium concert crowd in mind when they wrote it. This song is made to be heard live.
The band goes back a few years again and pulls out the funky "Bad Medicine." This is the best version of this tune that I have heard so far. They are having a lot of fun and that shows through very clearly! You get a very good dose of the Sambora magic in this song. He delivers one of his best guitar pieces of the whole disc on this tune.
The disc ends with the song "One Wild Night 2001." Even though it shows a concert date on the CD, I would swear that this is a studio recording. Zero crowd noise and a clarity that is not there on the other songs that were suppose to be done on the same night! Kind of makes you wonder. It has to be done in the studio.
I cannot say that there is any BAD songs on this disc. I can't even say that there is any that I skip, except for the last one. But, this is still an album that is hard to listen to from start to finish without getting the feeling that this is a rushed, slapped together disc. The song selection leads me to believe that there is going to be a second disc in the future. Maybe called "Another Wild Night...The Ballads" It also has the continuity of a K-Tel record. I think that this is a disc that fans will be disappointed in, but at the same time will own because of the individual songs.
I would have thought that after 15 years, they would have put a little more effort into the first live album!
I recommend this album, but do so with a word of warning. This sounds like a dance mix tape thrown together. But the mix of songs are still great individually.