Bon Jovi: Lost Highway: The Concert
Bon Jovi - Lost Highway: The Concert - [Island Records]


Maybe it's because of the moving of the continents but more probably because of certain events that happened in a certain September in the beginning of the century, that there's a feeling that the USA is drifting apart from the rest of the world.
Along with the difficulty for commoners like us in getting a visa or just go through security in New York airport without experiencing some kind of an emotional trauma, there is also a feeling of an American popular culture bubble that is maybe too concerned with itself rather than saying something of importance to the rest of the world.
Bon jovi, who have always been in the heart of the American consensus, have finally, after 19 years, succeeded in mounting the American Billboard albums chart with their latest release "Lost Highway", an accomplishment that was probably aided with the fact that it's a country oriented album who was also written in Nashville, America's folk music capitol.
To celebrate the event it was decided to film the band on stage, performing the entire album, in the same lineup as the songs are played on the CD.

The stage is set as a typical gas station you can usually find hundreds of along one of the American highways. Tall electric polls on a background of an open sky, and a warm bar interior create more of an old sitcom atmosphere rather than an appropriate setting for one of the greatest live rock bands around. Add to that the small venue which like the stage is also flooded with light and an audience which looks like it was on a field trip courtesy of the hi-tech company they work for, and you have a small credibility problem for anyone who doesn't live and breathe the terminology of the average American.
The band is joined with violin and pedal steel players as well as other instruments which are meant to enhance the country vibe, together they give the eager audience an energetic hour and a half of the album's songs as well as three of the band's oldies (the unbeatable "wanted dead or alive", "it's my life" and "who says you can't go home").

Bon Jovi have always known how to perform, they love what they do and the strong family vibe between them goes through and to the audience. It's not by accident that the band survived the death of the hair band era, grunge, hip hop and probably anything else that will come along to continue and fill arenas all over the world.
But this time even the music is not at their side. The last good album the band put out was "these days" in 1995 where they proved to be above musical superficial trends and that they could still make a mainstream rock album which is real and moving. Since than Bon Jovi have gone over and over the same musical path, and it's hard to distinguish one album from the rest. Maybe it's just me but despite the band's statements about the purity that took place during the making of the album, not much gets the listener's ears this time.
The DVD's special features include interviews with the band members, sketches of the stage design and a club like live show without an audience where the band performs four songs and a beautiful cover for Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". The band looks more relaxed this time and more in its natural place, which only stresses out all the not so good things in the main show.
Despite all the cliché's about the band and this kind of music, you can't take away their dedication and love for what they do, an essential "right stuff" for any kind of music. But this time, though numbers of album sales and hundreds of blondes in the audience say differently, it's not enough for a non-American such as me to feel the true magic of rock, and I haven't even said a word about Richie Sambora's hair and outfit...

Ofir Shalev

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