‘This House Is Not For Sale: Live From The London Palladium’
2016 release from Island Records.
Jon Bon Jovi – Vocals. Phil X – Guitar, backing vocals. David Bryan – Keyboards, piano, pedal steel guitar, backing vocals. Hugh McDonald – Bass, backing vocals. Tico Torres – Drums. John Shanks – Rhythm guitar, backing vocals. Everett Bradley – Percussions, backing vocals.
Artist location: New Jersey, USA.
4 out of 5 stars rating.
Reviewed by David.
- This House Is Not For Sale.
- Living With The Ghost.
- Labor Of Love.
- Born Again Tomorrow.
- Roller Coaster.
- New Year’s Day.
- The Devil’s In The Temple.
- Scars On This Guitar.
- God Bless This Mess.
- Real Love.
- All Hail The King.
- We Don’t Run.
- Come On Up To Our House.
I am not sure why but Bon Jovi have been pushing the ‘This House Is Not For Sale‘ record like none other that I ever recall. From shows prior to the release of the band playing the album in it’s entirety, something they did for the first time with the ‘Lost Highway‘ album, to having multiple versions of the album release for “exclusive” stores that featured exclusive songs (can someone say money grab?) to releasing a music video for seemingly every track of the album, an unprecedented 10 thus far at the writing of this review, and releasing a new one every week.
The album reached number 1 here in the States. The band is selling out stadiums the world over for their upcoming tour. These guys have absolutely nothing left to prove to anyone and have no need to even promote an album as anything with the name Bon Jovi on it is guaranteed to sell a truck load.
Don’t believe that? Even ‘Burning Bridges‘, an album that, outside of us die-hard fans, is widely hailed as one of the worst Bon Jovi records to date, reached number 13 on the Billboard top 200 charts and number 3 on the Billboard Rock charts.
But for whatever reason here the band is pushing the record, hard, and with that comes what one can only assume to be yet another money grab. The band have released a live album from one of the shows they did prior to the release of the new record. What should have been a bonus disc to the new record is, instead, a limited release album found only through the band or through Wal-Mart stores online, at least here in the States.
Obviously this record will not be a calling card for anyone but the Bon Jovi die-hards, such as yours truly, and as such we all obviously would already own the record. But to heck with it, I felt like reviewing it so here we are.
Well first of all, the packaging.
While not as bad as the cardboard sleeve that is found on some of the ‘Burning Bridges‘ copies, the album still has packaging that is the bare minimum. A jewel case with backing art that features the setlist and a picture of the backs of the band, plus the extra musicians, as they stand together at the end of the show. The front cover, as you can see above, features only Jon on stage, facing the crowd striking one of his seemingly patented poses. And that is the extent of it. There is no booklet, no credits, no photos, nothing. Just a single sheet insert that is, for all accounts, blank on the inside.
The album starts with Jon speaking to the crowd when he firsts walks out on stage. This had me intrigued at first as I thought perhaps the recording would be the full show, with all of the talking and Jon telling the stories behind songs and such, as he did at these shows. Something that is of definite interest to a fan such as I.
However the opening chatter, a brief, partial story Jon tells at the beginning of ‘All Hail The King‘ and the frontman thanking the crowd at the very end turns out to be the sole speaking parts of the entire record, save one time where Jon says “thank you” at the end of a song.
In fact, the album sounds, amazingly, almost exactly like the studio record. Skip the rare chatter and the brief cheering of the crowd between songs (something that is obviously absent during the songs themselves and only heard distantly in some of the ballads, most notably ‘Real Love‘. Though I suppose this could be in part due to the fact that they are all new songs that no one in the audience knew yet, though Jon provided lyric sheets for every song to every person in attendance) and you could almost swear you were listening to the studio recordings a lot of the time.
Now the argument could be made that this is due to the talent of the band, that they sound so close to the studio record, and that it certainly is, all of these guys are incredible musicians, no doubt about that, and they sound fantastic here, as does Jon. But, call me crazy, I want a live record to sound…well…live!
Take out the cheering crowd, the speaking, the live sound of it all and all you have is basically another copy of the studio album.
Now I don’t think that they have taken the crowd out of the mix, as I said, you can hear them softly here and there, I think they just recorded the band so loudly that they drown out the crowd rather then opt for the more live feel of a typical live recording. Though I must say I do prefer this over the addition of a crowd track as some recordings do, yes I am looking at you and your live record Cinderella.
As it stands the first live record from the band, ‘One Wild Night Live: 1985-2001‘, still remains their best live album of the three they have released and while this one is hardly a bad record I do not feel they will ever surpass that first one.
Again, I realize that this is pretty much a record that only major fans of the band will care anything about and I realize that most of my readers do not share my affinity for these guys anymore, but I was listening to it and, as I said, what the heck, I felt like reviewing it.
If you are a die-hard Bon Jovi fan and feel the need to own everything they release, not that I know anyone like that of course 😉 , then you will want to grab this album, otherwise skip it, go to my best of 2016 post and choose any of those albums instead as you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Recommended for die-hards only.
‘This House Is Not For Sale’.
‘Born Again Tomorrow’.
‘The Devil’s In The Temple’.
‘Scars On This Guitar’.
‘God Bless This Mess’.
‘We Don’t Run’.