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:: Bon Jovi - Live At Madison Square Garden

While the debate continues about long running New Jersey rock outfit Bon Jovi’s studio output, the one place the band never seems to fail pleasing fans in is out on the stage. Recorded at the tail end of their tour (July 14/15, 2008) in support of 2007’s country rock influenced ‘Lost Highway’, ‘Live At Madison Square Garden’ is the group’s latest live concert DVD release, and is timed perfectly to be released in conjunction with the band’s eleventh full-length effort ‘The Circle’.

Nineteen years to the day Bon Jovi first played New York’s infamous Madison Square Garden, the group returned for a homecoming concert to celebrate the monument event, with the set-list reflecting the band’s hit-studded twenty-five year long recording career. Directed by Jon Bon Jovi’s brother Anthony Bongiovi (Alongside Brian Lockwood), and shot in high definition with some twenty three cameras, ‘Live At Madison Square Garden’ not only looks amazing, but has the sound to match. So with that covered, the only question remains as to whether or not Bon Jovi still have what it takes to ‘see a million faces, and rock them all!’ The answer is undoubtedly yes.

Regardless of whether you consider Bon Jovi cool or not, you have to give them credit for putting on a show. Over the course of the two hour plus show (where the band perform an impressive twenty-one tracks), Bon Jovi put everything into their performance, and it shows throughout. What really makes this show stand out is the set list. Rather than drawing from ‘Lost Highway’, the band instead delve into their back catalogue of hits, providing the audience with a selection of classics, and a collection of songs from the band’s more recent past.

Highlights are dotted throughout the show, but of the older songs, ‘Born To Be My Baby’, Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Blaze Of Glory’, ‘Keep The Faith’, ‘Raise Your Hands’, a fantastic semi-acoustic rendition of ‘Blood On Blood’, ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ and the classic ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’.

Aside from the band’s past efforts, more recent material like ‘Lost Highway’, ‘It’s My Life’, ‘Whole Lot Of Leavin’’, ‘We Got It Going On’, ‘(You Want to) Make a Memory’ and ‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home’ are given an airing, and to Bon Jovi’s credit, it slots in with the older material with ease. As an added bonus, Jon Bon Jovi manages to cover Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ without doing too much damage to his reputation (I still believe the song belongs solely to Jeff Buckley), while guitarist Richie Sambora is given a chance to shine on his rendition of ‘I’ll Be There For You’.

Overall, there’s little to complain about with ‘Live At Madison Square Garden’, apart from the fact that ‘Bad Medicine’ is heard playing over the credits, and that the bonus material is all of three tracks (‘You Give Love A Bad Name’, ‘Runaway’ and ‘Bed Of Roses’). Bon Jovi may not have won me over completely with ‘The Circle’, but I know that if ‘Live At Madison Square Garden’ is anything to go by, I’ll be the first to buy tickets to their show the next time they roll through Australia.

Track listing
“Lost Highway”
“Born to Be My Baby”
“Blaze of Glory”
“It's My Life”
“Keep the Faith”
“Raise Your Hands”
“Living in Sin/Chapel of Love”
“Always”
“Whole Lot of Leavin'”
“In These Arms”
“We Got It Going On”
“I'll Be There for You” (sung by Richie Sambora instead of Jon Bon Jovi)
“(You Want to) Make a Memory”
“Blood on Blood”
“Dry County”
“Have a Nice Day”
“Who Says You Can't Go Home”
“Hallelujah”
“Wanted Dead or Alive”
“Livin' on a Prayer”
“Bad Medicine” - Credits (audio only)