Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Bruce Springsteen with the Sessions Band Live In Dublin|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Bruce Springsteen With The Sessions Band Live in Dublin' features 23 songs drawn from the band's performances in Dublin, Ireland at The Point on November 17, 18 and 19, 2006. Songs include fan favorites from 'The Seeger... more »
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Magnificent music, rousing performance, questionable editing
ShriDurga | 06/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mix in hot jazz, a bit of gospel, blues, zydeco, bluegrass and country. Season with Bruce Springsteen and bake at high temperature in an Irish oven for what is perhaps the tastiest concert video of 2007.
This is not your anthemic, rock-til-you-drop, Born-in-the-USA Bruce. That energy is still there, but directed here into the American folk songbook, music written between mid 19th to mid 20th century and reflecting the concerns of the agrarian and working class, from the Oklahoma farmer of My Oklahoma Home, to the slave Old Dan Tucker, to African American dock workers of Pay Me My Money Down. This music was appropriated in the 1950's and 60's by politically conscience singer/songwriters such as Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, and through them the music comes down to us in the 21st century through Springsteen.
Ten of the songs from the original 2006 Seeger Sessions disc are here, as are a handful of new numbers and songs from the extended Seeger Sessions release (How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live, When the Saints Go Marching In, This Little Light of Mine, American Land, Long Time Comin'), as well as new arrangements of some of Springsteen's less well-known songs (If I Should Fall Behind, Growing Up, Blinded By the Light, Atlantic City, and Highway Patrolman).
For long time fans the old songs in new-old clothes will be unrecognizable by the opening melody alone. It's not until Bruce starts singing that your mind begins racing to place that particular set of lyrics with a title. All of these newly outfitted tunes show some inventiveness, but the ones that worked best for me were If I Should Fall Behind and Highway Patrolman, quiet performances showcasing the lyrics, and Blinded By the Light, which like it's original rock incarnation is a wild, foot-stomping show closer.
In fact most of this show will have you tapping your feet and signing along. This is a joyous performance, and you can see that the musicians are enjoying themselves as much as the audience. If you have some room in front of your television, clear out that space and get ready to dance.
About the only downside to this release is that it's not a document of one evening, but a compilation of three. In itself that decision was not as critical as the one to delete all on stage banter, including song and band introductions, often one of the more enjoyable parts of any Springsteen show. The editing work is also noticeably poor at times with the action not in sync with the sound, presumably where the director chose to insert shots from nights other than those from which the sound was recorded.
Otherwise, this is a great DVD and watching it was the most fun I've had in front of the television in months.
Nice Concession For Those Who Missed the Tour
Jim Mitchell | St. Louis | 06/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a bit down on Bruce Springsteen lately. I have a hard time reconciling how a guy who sings songs with phrases like "common people" and "poor man" in the title could make such populistic music so inaccessible through high ticket prices and limited touring. I think it was a low point in Bruce's career when he talked about the "rigidity" of US audiences in general and of the midwest in particular and then ended the US leg of the tour without hitting any number of cities that have long been regular stops for him. If refusing (or being unable) to pay upwards of $100 to hear socially conscious folk music performed in cavernous corporate-named arenas and amphitheaters makes us "rigid", then I guess I can't dispute the label. Still, it's sad to see a guy I've long admired for his connection to his audience become so detached and out of touch. Had this tour been conducted in smaller theaters at more reasonable prices, I think it would have been massive success among both longtime Springsteen fans and those who appreciate the various styles of music performed on this tour. As it was, it seems that Bruce prioritized profit on what was argaubly his least-commercial musical venture. That's sad, because I believe a lot of people, myself included missed out on some of the best music of Springsteen's later career. I know this may be seen as having little to do with a review of the DVD, but it's difficult to talk about the music without putting it in the context of the oddly executed tour from which it was recorded.
That being said, Springsteen remains my alltime favorite singer, and this DVD only reinforces that. I loved the music on the Seeger Sessions CDs, and this live set only improves on that. Some songs- Jacob's Ladder, Jesse James- sound a bit redundant, and Bruce's voice occasionally lapses into the unlistenable growling twang that he's developed since the Tom Joad tour, but overall this is joyful, inspiring and -most importantly- fun stuff. Reworkings of older songs like "If I Should Fall Behind" and "Highway Patrolman" are incredibly moving in their slightly countrified versions, and radically changed material like "Open All Night" is like nothing you've ever heard Bruce do before. The band is incredible and Bruce's arrangmenets bring to life songs that I would have once dismissed as corny stuff I learned in grade school music class. I love the power behind Bruce's vocals on songs like "Old Dan Tucker" and "My Oklahoma Home", and the brass and strings complement those vocals nicely. And while a lot of people complained that the politically-minded Springsteen released an album of outdated folk songs, I believe that plenty of them are very relevant to the current state of the world- some blatantly ("Mrs. McGrath"), some a bit more subtle (much of the rest of the album). There is absolutely nothing irrelevant or outdated about any of this music. And while many of the songs are traditional, public domain tunes, Springsteen arranges them to make them uniquely his own.
The DVD has excellent sound quality, and really captures the enormous band that Springsteen brings onstage. The editing, like most concert videos, is too jumpy and quick, never focusing on any one performer for more than a few seconds, and giving us far too many closeups on Bruce's face. It's also obvious that a lot was edited between songs, since there are very abrupt jumps and very few spoken bits (not even an introduction of the full band, which is unusual for Bruce!). But that doesn't detract from the incredible musical experience that's captured here.
I understand that the Seeger Sessions isn't for all tastes. I love it, but I'll admit that a little bit of it does go a long, long way. Still, I hope that old and new fans will approach it with an open mind and give it a chance. I'd love to see Bruce tour with a smaller version of this band- I think that his voice (with the exception of the terribly phoney and exaggerated drawl) and songwriting lends itself very well to an alt-country/Americana style. He obviously seems to love this material and is having a lot of fun onstage. He may have messed up the execution of this tour in a major way, but this serves as a wonderful document for those of us who either missed it or who want to experience it again."
Bringing the Celebration Back Home
Soulboogiealex | Netherlands | 06/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Roughly a year ago Springsteen surprised a lot of people when he released We Shall Overcome: the Seeger Sessions. A record that was not so much a tribute to Pete Seeger but more a celebration of American musical history. The record was uncommonly loose for Springsteen's standards, the song basically being the result of impromptu sessions. Musically the album mixed damn near every style in American folk music between New Orleans Gumbo & Blue Grass. A highly unorthodox style that would raise the eyebrows of purists but sounded catchy as hell. The song selection on the record went back hundreds of years but had a strong connection with today and Bruce's own catalogue.
Even before the album went on sale, concerts were announced and tickets were sold in Europe. Again, nobody quite knew what to expect from this evening of gospel, folk and blues performed by Bruce Springsteen & his 17 piece Seeger Sessions Band. Nobody knew what to expect but the shows in Europe sold out in minutes. I think few who went were disappointed.
Live in Dublin is a registration of what this tour was about, not necessarily a registration of the concert experience. The DVD clocks in at a mighty two hours, the shows were often pushing the two and a half. Some concessions seem to have been made to make the show fit on one disc. Concessions that'll no doubt bother a lot of fans. Two tour staples were cut from the set. John Henry and You Can Look were played every night, yet didn't make the DVD. A totally redundant track as Love of the Common People did, as a bonus. Springsteen has always made strange choices when it comes to releasing his live material and this is certainly one of them.
Despite those odd choices the Live in Dublin DVD gives you a pretty good sense off how good these shows were. The tour was in part a explicit political rally with anti-war songs as Ms McGrath or the New Orleans tribute How Can a Poor Man (stand such times and live). Yet most of the time its message was more subtle. Songs as Eyes on the Prize, a recast to the civil rights movement, or When the Saints Come Marchin' In served the same function, but in a more subdued manner.
The political issues that the tour tried to get back on the agenda weren't its greatest achievement by no means. The celebration of music was. Springsteen's own material fitted in seamlessly adapted to the style of the tour. Open All Night became a stomper in the style of Louis Jordan, Highway Patrolman revoked the images of Hank Williams, Louis Armstrong was omni present in the horn section and if you didn't know any better Jesse James felt like it had been in Bruce's catalogue since mid eighties.
The DVD captures all the musicians on stage in all there glory. Seldom did Springsteen give his band so much of the lime light. And during no tour he did before did the audience play such a crucial role. The band sung, danced and played with the audience. Pay Me My Money Down was sung minutes after the band left the stage, until they came back for the encores and even the most convinced atheist would belt out the words to Jacob's Ladder. The Seeger Sessions Tour was a celebration and this DVD brings it all back.
Look Kids! This is how its done. In any music genre, he's
Boss Fan | Take a Right at the Light, Keep Going Straight Unt | 06/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Last fall when Bruce Springsteen released a deluxe edition of his "Seger Sessions" "experiment" from the previous spring, I praised that album for adding a DVD that gave fans even just a taste of the tremendous, rollicking live show that he had put together with his Sessions Band and adding at least three terrific songs that Springsteen "crafted" as the tour rolled along and expanded, but were not recorded at the time of the original album's release. Yes, grateful I was for extras, but I noted at the time that even the original version of the "Seger Sessions" felt like a warm up to the asskicking live show that hadn't happened yet. And after I caught the tour when it plowed through my town, I was floored and all the more convinced that a live album was necessary to truly capture what Springsteen was trying to do and show us with this detour from his rock career. When the "American Land" edition was released, like I said, grateful as I was for the bonuses, I wrote in my Amazon review that they should have just foregone that release and gone the full-nine giving fans a true, mammoth live CD and DVD.
Well, too bad it took them a few false starts to get it right, but finally we have a definitive version and document of just how terrific an experiment this album and tour turned out to be. In fairness, it is possible that the record company, management, fans and even Bruce never expected a fluke gathering of musicians at his farmhouse studio playing traditional folk music to evolve into THIS.
Indeed, the tour itself evolved from what was already an emotional highpoint when it began at last year's New Orleans Jazz Fest into a big sweeping rock show that just happened to have more horns, fiddles and banjos than the average rock concert - and a truckload more emotion and pure joy too. Anyone who feared some weird, moonshine-swiggin' hoedown or a grumpy acoustic lament on our times from Bruce and this band... well, let's just say you missed a whale of a show. It is difficult to put in to words just how great a time was had by all at these shows - even being a huge Springsteen fan, I had my doubts going in - but from the moment he took the stage... well, he TOOK the stage. Everyone in the room realized immediately they needn't worry, and they may just experience something more (and better) than they ever had from a live concert. Just goes to show, I guess, we should never doubt Bruce when he has a passionate idea; he will take it all the way and turn it into something jaw-dropping.
So if you missed it, or you have just been waiting to relive it, here comes "Live in Dublin," a DVD and 2-CD document of the tour from its finale in Ireland last fall. Now I could gripe that these live albums and DVDs never quite capture just what it is truly like to be at the actual show, there are a handful of songs the band played throughout the tour that are inexplicably absent here (the phenomenal take on "Rag Mama Rag" and the encore staple hard-driving swing-meets-ragtime version of Bruce's "You Can Look But You Can't Touch" are obvious, glairing omissions, and "John Henry" is absent here despite being played every show), or say things like the DVD relies too heavily on close-ups rather than presenting the concert as the spacious, wide-open and lose jam session it was, or there are too many quick camera cuts, but why bother?! I only mention it because no doubt someone will. And I mention it so I can simply dismiss it. No, it is not like being there, but one would be hard pressed to find a better next-best to the real thing than these releases. And kudos to Columbia for releasing the concert on both the CD and DVD. I am always buying concert DVDs and wishing I could burn them just to have the audio. I hope this is a beginning of trend: Release a live DVD, make sure there is an accompanying live album.
Highlights, IMO, include the rousing opener "Atlantic City," the always passionate "O Mary Don't You Weep," "If I Should Fall Behind" is transformed into bar-closing waltz and becomes an emotional promise of love in its husband and wife duet, "Highway Patrolman" finally gets an actual melody behind it, making its lyrics all the more beautifully heartbreaking, "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?" may be the best thing to come out of this tour, as it is one of Bruce's best songs, "Mrs. McGrath" predictably resonates well in Dublin, and "Open All Night" has been the show stopper of the tour. Here it is still a blast - ragtime, swing, jazz and blues, and Bruce's rapid-fire vocals all crash into one another and result in this exhilarating amalgam - but this is not the tightest or best take on this song I have heard. It's a minor quibble, but a shame since, personally, this was the song I was most excited to have. But with the DVD, being able to view the performance of the song, rather than just listen to it, the experience is made better. Ditto the whole show. Bruce's - and the band's - energy is such a pleasure to behold you won't be able to resist the urge to get out of your seat. "Long Time Comin'," a terrifically well-written, country-tinged track from "Devils and Dust," feels even more at home here and "Blinded by the Light" is reworked into something so curious, you will listen to it over and over again. "This Little Light of Mine," "American Land" and "Love of the Common People" all transform Bruce into that rock and roll preacher fans know and love and point to as rhe reason why he is perhaps the best live performer on the planet. Each of these tunes, as performed, are so joyous they are almost religious in their musical-redemptive energy.
Anyone who has been listening to their non-Bruce-fan friends scoff since this admittedly curious departure for Springsteen was announced just over a year ago and have yet to give it a chance may want to throw this release at them and tell them to be ready to eat their words. It's hard to imagine anyone who would take this in and not be able to appreciate the vibrant artistry and talent on display here, regardless of their feeling towards Bruce or this type of music.
Sometimes true greatness is simply undeniable.