No it is not an "official" release - so don't go complaining about that. But compared to the abysmal live CD BJ themselves put out a few years back - this gig actually has ATMOSPHERE! It is a live Radio broadcast so the quality is pretty good - but we are talking 1984 here, so it is not brilliant quality. Plus it is a live recording - some poor mixing, duff notes etc..
She Don't Know Me starts off at a real pace before suddenly slowing down early on - did someone give Ticco a kick?!
Also this is a show live to air, BEFORE the band played a proper show later that night at a different venue. These guys worked hard! Only 2 months after the release of their debut album this is a great historical record of a band bound for glory. And it is a chance to hear different versions of the songs. Many songs have extra bits to them - some obviously part of the live gig scenario, other bits probably cut from the original record to make the songs shorter and punchier.
We also get to hear Richie as an exciting new guitarist (and not just in his "Guitar Solo"). When you listen to this album you can easily hear the direct influence this band had on other bands such as early White Lion for example. We all miss Richie - the Rock God and Jon's songwriting partner and axe mauler, as was. We now just have Jon's puppet. Where is the young Richie who was so full of life and just wanted to express it through his guitar? This recording is EXCITING, it's a GIG. When did Bon Jovi last do one of those? There is no comparison between the Corporate Concert era of Bon Jovi now, and the youthful energy shown on this record. This was Jon when he made jokes, made mistakes and didn't take himself too seriously.
Plus you get a rare cover version "I Want To Take You Higher" which i have never heard BJ do before.
There are some early photos of the band included (but the cover is circa 1986 i am sure) and a few sleeve notes. But really this is what you would expect from an "unofficial" release.
Recommended for the hardcore fans and for those who remember the OLD Bon Jovi.
So please can we now have someone release the 1985 Japan show. now that WAS a gig!!
I just got this today and couldn't stop listening to it... it's absolutely brilliant. It takes place a couple of months after thier debut album "Bon Jovi" was released. Jon's voice is so young sounding on this early recording and it sends you on a hard rocking, guitar busting emotional ride through their songs from their hard rocking songs from "Breakout" to "She Don't Know Me" to their first hit "Runaway". The song that stood out for me was "She Don't Know Me" it hasn't been played since 1987 and they are reluctant to play it again because they didn't write it. I thought the album version was great but the live version is 10 times better and the song takes you on a roller coaster of emotion, I've been playing that song constantly. All the live songs are exceptional or even better than the studio version. The only downside is that "Burning for Love" isn't on it which is my favourite song from that album, none-the-less this is a must have for all Bon Jovi fans, well for everyone it shows you how tight and brilliant they were when the started out are they are today.
There are many unofficially released Bon Jovi live albums available, and, with a few exceptions (one being Melbourne Melodies), the sound quality often leaves a lot to be desired. With 'Rockin' In Cleveland 1984' however, this was not the case. In 2012, for the first time ever, fans will be able to own this little heard live radio broadcast, recorded in Cleveland's Agora Ballroom on CD. Admittedly, the sound quality isn't as good as what it could have been if it had been recorded today, but for 1984, I'd say that this was really rather excellent.
Loaded with atmosphere and youthful energy as Jon and his boys played most of the tracks from their self-entitled 1983 debut album, which contained raw and excitedly dynamic rock songs, a fair few miles away from the much more 'safe' material that they dish out today. Great melodic tracks 'Runaway', 'Shot Through the Heart', and 'She Don't Know Me' sound even better in these live versions, and it's great to hear lesser-known gems like 'Come Back' and 'Take You Higher', the latter of which was never released on the studio album.
I know that the band don't care a lot for their first two albums, but I personally hold them in much warm regard. They don't play many of these early songs live on the stage today, which makes this release even more a novelty. Whilst some of the lyrics are sometimes immature and perhaps needed a little more work, they still reflect the band's youthfulness (both in their ages and their early days as a group) at the time, and really, I just wish they would return to this kind of rock music which they did so well at the start of what has been an amazing journey.
Essentially a companion disc to the first album, 'Rockin' In Cleveland 1984' is an unofficial record which should be in the collection of every Bon Jovi collector, and another instantly desirable purchase for fans of the band's early work. The package contains some good early photographs, as well as liner notes, which is a nice touch.