Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Greatest Hits DVD: A Review

Submitted by Catte Sambora

Because I’m an obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive collector of most everything Bon Jovi-related, as soon as I saw there was a Greatest Hits DVD, I knew I had to have it. Never mind that I have every video and live DVD the band has ever released. Just knowing a GH DVD existed and wasn’t part of my collection would have driven me batty. So I did the logical thing – I ordered it from Amazon UK, since for some unfathomable reason it’s not being released here in the U.S.

Note to Whoever Makes Those Decisions: You DO realize NEW JERSEY is in the UNITED STATES, right?

Anyway, thanks to Amazon UK’s as-per-usual excellent service, my Greatest Hits DVD arrived in my mailbox today, a mere nine days after I placed my order, and on the day the GH released here in the U.S. I was one Happy Catte.

And I must say, it’s every bit worth the $17.63 USD I spent for the DVD and trans-oceanic shipping.

Yeah, yeah, I know. There’s nothing really new on the DVD. Well, actually there is… but we’ll get to that in a moment.

When I opened the case and pulled out the booklet, my first thought was “Huh. It’s EXACTLY like the booklet in the GH Ultimate Collection CD (which arrived yesterday).” Upon closer perusal I realized it is not in fact EXACTLY like the CD booklet – but it looks almost identical. Same graphics, layout, font… only the text is different, crediting the proper people for the various video tracks on the DVD. Otherwise, it’s unremarkable. Nice, but nothing stellar.



Next I perused the tracklist. There are 34 videos on the DVD, 17 full-track official videos and 17 corresponding live performances. The songs included are:
  • Livin’ on a Prayer
  • You Give Love a Bad Name
  • In These Arms
  • Bad Medicine
  • Born to Be My Baby
  • I’ll Be There For You
  • Lay Your Hands On Me
  • It’s My Life
  • Always
  • Wanted Dead or Alive
  • Bed of Roses
  • Who Says You Can’t Go Home
  • Have a Nice Day
  • We Weren’t Born to Follow
  • What Do You Got?
  • Keep the Faith
  • Blaze of Glory
So, I popped the DVD into my player and up came the Main Menu. I was happy to see a Play All function (I’m a notorious multi-tasker who likes to play DVDs as background noise), and separate menus for Videos and Live performances. There is also a Settings Menu (for those of you who care—I don’t) that allows you to choose Dolby Digital Stereo or Dolby Digital 5.1.

I checked out the Live performances first. All live tracks with the exception of WWBTF and What Do You Got were culled from previously-released DVDs Live in London, Crush Tour Live, This Left Feels Right Live, Lost Highway: The Concert, and Live at Madison Square Garden. The live performance of WWBTF was filmed at the O2 Arena rooftop performance in London on June 6, 2010. The live performance of What Do You Got was filmed a mere month ago in Lima, Peru, on September 29, 2010.

The “Classics” are from the following sources:
  • Live in London - Bad Name, Bad Medicine, Keep the Faith
  • Crush Tour - I’ll Be There For You
  • This Left Feels Right - Born to Be My Baby, Lay Your Hands On Me, Bed of Roses
  • Lost Highway: The Concert - Wanted, Who Says
  • Live at MSG – Prayer, In These Arms, It’s My Life, Always, Have a Nice Day, Blaze of Glory
I was a little puzzled at the selection of certain performances from the various sources. For instance, why include Born to Be My Baby from TLFR rather than a rockin’ version from MSG? Why not the TLFR version of Bad Name instead? Or better yet, why not include live performances from the era of each song? IMO, that would have been more fitting for a compilation spanning two decades.

Anyway, curious to see the “new” content, I went first to What Do You Got. I was not particularly enamored of that song when the single released, and I’m not wild about the video. But my jaw literally dropped when I watched the live performance, on a big stage in front of a huge crowd. It is STUNNING. So nice I watched it twice.

Next I watched the O2 rooftop performance of WWBTF. I’ve seen this one on YouTube – it was good. But watching it in crystal-clear high definition on a 55-inch screen makes it REALLY good. I can’t say it’s great, but I love the song and it’s an excellent performance. I guess it’s hard to be great when your audience is a couple hundred feet below you in a parking lot, LOL.

After watching the “new” footage and feeling pretty self-satisfied that my $17.63 hadn’t gone to waste, I clicked over to the Videos section. Perusing the menu, I realized I haven’t watched a lot of these videos in a really long time, and that some I don’t think I’ve ever seen in any type of real quality. My New Jersey: The Videos VHS tape is long since played-to-death, and it was usually viewed on a television that had an actual channel DIAL. I’m not a big music video fan anyway – I do keep a few favorites on my iPod but usually I watch a video for a particular song few times and move on.

I decided to catch a blast from the past, one of my very favorite Bon Jovi videos ever: In These Arms. I just LOVE the energy of the performance, Jonny’s floral pants and that little sneer he gives at the end of the vocals.

Oh. My. GOD.

It was GORGEOUS. Crisp, clear, perfect sound…. Beautiful.

Excited by that experience, I clicked on Born to Be My Baby, then Lay Your Hands On Me, then Bed of Roses… then… then… I got totally lost in video-land for the first time in a very long time. I just sat there on my couch with a stupid grin on my face watching videos that took me back to younger days and fond memories. And every one was beautiful to behold in its full digitized glory.

So what do I think of the Greatest Hits DVD? Totally worth the price, which IMO is not excessive. It is exactly what I believe it was intended to be – a nice companion piece to the CD compilation. The fact that there is no truly “new” content on the DVD doesn’t bother me in the least. I would have liked to have seen live performances from sources other than previously-released DVDs, but for the price I can live with the “Best Of” collection. I am very happy to now have the video collection in high-def; I have a feeling I’ll now be watching my favorite music videos more often. In fact, I’d love to see Bon Jovi Videos: The Complete Collection on DVD/Blu-Ray *hint hint BJM* so we can relive She Don’t Know Me and In and Out of Love in their full cheesy glory.

I can’t say this is a MUST for Jovi Fans, because let’s face it: with the exception of the new What Do You Got we already have everything that’s on this DVD (and WDYG will probably show up on YouTube in about 15 seconds). But if you want a “Best Of” collection of Bon Jovi’s most prolific music videos and high-energy live performances, add this to your collection.

Thanks, Catte, for the fantastic review!

~ Hath


WomanOfTheCity November 9, 2010 at 4:05 PM  

I agree with everything Catte said. For the hard-core fans it is nothing new. It is nice to have the videos all in once place, but the live tracks leave a lot to be desired. if they didn't want to dwell in the past and give us performance video from song's era, then maybe show it from NMS and/or O2 Residency.

Long live the bootlegs and YouTube lol

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