Newsboys have racked up quite a bit of history in their near-twenty years as a band. Their latest release, Go, returns the band to their days of pop/rock from a two-album worship intermission. Along with a regular, 11-song release of Go, there is the additional Go: Limited Edition CD/DVD combo that tacks three more tracks onto the audio portion of the project and includes a new feature-length DVD. [NOTE: For a complete review of the regular version of Go, please click here. In this review, we're going to take a look at what has been added to Go to make it the Limited Edition version.]
As the eleven-track portion of Go ends, a live version of the album's first single, "I Am Free" starts off the bonus content. This particular recording was released to radio last Fall before any studio recordings were finished for the final album. The live version pales in comparison to the studio rendition of "I Am Free," feeling sorely overproduced and hardly live at all. It works as a radio single, but not as something that captures a live Newsboys show. "Something To Believe In" is a previously unreleased track (although some may have downloaded it as part of Inpop's 2006 downloadable summer sampler) that has a bit of a b-side feel but is redeemed by a grander chorus to make it a nice fit for this Limited Edition. The audio treats end with "City To City," an electronic dance-friendly pop anthem that basically continues the lyrical theme of "Go" and "Wherever We Go." I can't see why it was cut from the record, but it's a nice inclusion on this edition.
The DVD portion is a real surprise. While the packaging lends no idea to what may be on the DVD inside, the just over 2-hour-long project takes a closer look into the lives of each member of the Newsboys. The DVD allows each mini-documentary to viewed on its own or through a "play all" feature, which is a nice touch. It begins with a glimpse into frontman Peter Furler's heritage as he takes the viewer on a tour of where he grew up in Adelaide, Australia. We get to meet his parents, grandmother, and siblings, see the home he grew up in, and even get to see the church where he first began playing drums. Next we take a trip back to Australia with drummer Duncan Phillips as he meets up with his family, and we accompany him for a bit of surfing as well as a journey into his childhood. The trip back in time begins with his first return to Primary School in twenty years where he reunites with a former teacher. From there, Duncan visits his childhood home, offers his best Steve Irwin impression as he encounters a diamondback snake, takes along for a trip to the beach with a van filled with very young back seat drivers. Following Duncan's adventures at the beach, we join bassist Phil Joel as he returns to his parents' home in Auckland, New Zealand. After we meet the parents and hear them share some stories about his childhood, Phil takes us to Circus Circus for a cup of coffee where he runs into his old roommate from just before he joined the band. Phil's segment closes with a visit to the shop where he learned to cut hair and a final stop at his Primary School where he first accepted Christ at eight years old. Keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein, who also edited the video for most of the DVD, brought the band all to Michigan, his home state, for breakfast at his parents' house. For the trip there, the guys rode brand new motorcycles from upstate New York, through to Canada, and ended in Michigan, recording video all along the way. At the Frankenstein house, Jeff's parents share about how their eighteen-year-old son had come to join the Newsboys in the mid-90's, helping to create one of the more heartwarming moments on the DVD. The member by member bios close with the silliest and most amusing one, focusing on the band's latest roster addition, Paul Colman. Starting out teasing the drive-thru workers at the Cool Springs Starbucks in Tennessee, we're taken through a bit of an introduction to Paul becoming one of the members as we see his first day of rehearsal as well as a portion of him practicing before his first show with the band. Although it's the least informative about the member themselves, it's a nice way to introduce Colman into the band for fans.
With over an hour and a half of material about the members, the DVD doesn't end there. A behind the scenes look at the guys in the studio recording takes viewers into a day inside the band's Franklin studio with producer Tedd T. as they work on the song "Wherever We Go." Excerpts from the day feature Furler and Joel recording verses while Colman conducts an interview for a radio station over the phone. We also see Phil losing his cool a bit as he gets excited about meeting the legendary Peter Frampton who happened to be in the area. But the segment highlight is a portion of Colman goofing off in the studio while performing "Shine" in his best Bob Dylan impression.
All in all, this is a goodie-laden Limited Edition that is worth the fan's every penny. I doubt the casual fan will care too much about getting such an intimate glimpse into the history and family life of each member of the Newsboys, but diehard fans will need to pick this one up. A great pop album and a great special CD/DVD combo, Go: Limited Edition is the definitive copy of the band's return to greatness, and an appreciative nod back to the fans.- Review date: 11/2/06, written by John DiBiase
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