Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|London Calling Live in Hyde Park |
Actor: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
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Give the Boss a watch and a pension
Bruce Barker | NC | 09/16/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I caught Bruce Springsteen just as he was building a national audience. He had recently been on the cover of Time magazine concurrent with the release of "Born To Run." He was named as one of 3 male artists that were destined to change the face of music. The second was Jackson Browne and one could make an arguement that these two men have had a tremendous impact on music for over 3 decades. Third on the list was a young man named Nils Lofgren. I was a huge fan of Nils and to this day recommend his "Cry Tough" album whenever I get the chance. Some years later, a struggling Lofgren joined the E Street Band. The night I saw the Boss he was drunk. Very drunk. So drunk that during the solo for "She's The One" he leaned forward too far and pitched himself off the stage and fell six feet to the floor below. I was very unimpressed.
Through the years I've still enjoyed many of his studio releases and heard nothing but rave reviews for his live show. I watched him perform at the Hall Of Fame concerts too, most notably playing "London Calling" when the Clash were inducted. I was impressed enough that I jumped at the chance to buy this concert when it was released.
Midway through the first song I realized that Bruce's voice is absolutely shot. I'm not talking "seasoned" the way Tony Bennett's voice has become either. I mean shot. No range, no texture and the capacity for little more than screaming into the mike with enough gravel in his throat to pave the length of E Street.
Midway through the first disk I almost gave up. The band is as tight as ever. What Max has lost in ability at the drums he's more than made up for in efficiency. Being an older drummer myself I can't help but admire how well he still drives the entire band. God bless Clarence Clemmons. If you've kept up with the music media you are already well aware of the painful battles "The Big Man" has fought with his damaged hips, spine, and knees. If you focus on him during the show you can quickly see that the man can barely move. Yet he plays with such signature style and tenderness that his axe is immediately recognizable. His style has a signature sound all its own, much like Clapton's guitar work. His bravery and skills should not be missed. Little Steven is a well-known musicologist but his voice, never as good as his best friend Bruce, has lost what little luster it once had.
Then came Lofgren's moment to shine. He plays an absolutely magnificent guitar solo that takes the audience's breath away. It's long and shows all the reasons why he was once held in such high regard. Although the camera focuses on his effort, you can frequently see Bruce and Little Steven watching him across the stage. The look on Steven's face can only be described as ugly jealousy. The Boss simply looks bored. Although Springsteen calls for applause for virtually every other band member several times during the show, when an exhausted Lofgren finishes the solo, Bruce simply starts the next song without acknowledging Nils at all. I've played enough gigs in my time to be able to recognize when a band member isn't welcome. Nils apparently will be the E Street Outsider. He's treated like a black sheep throughout the concert and during the finale he follows the Boss out to the crowd and stands beside him. It takes Little Steven less than 5 seconds to race after him and crowd him away from Springsteen and the camera. These may be middle-aged adults, but they act like spoiled children for much of the show.
I was so unimpressed by the first disk I almost didn't put part 2 into my machine. I'm SO glad I did. The second half of the show is light years ahead of the first and is packed with highlight moments. The band sings a heartfelt and gorgeous version of "Hard Times Come Again No More" and then jumps into a version of "Rosalita" that is so packed with fun and energy that it should be illegal. It was also a special joy to see "Jungleland" performed with all the love and emotional passion that the song deserves.
Buy this concert. It's more than worth the price for just the second disk. Had this been the only disk in the set and included versions of "Backstreets" and "Thunder Road" it would have been worth twice the price. Unfortunately, it's a two disk set and the only use I've found for disk one is as a drink coaster. Your mileage may vary and you should watch the first half of the show at least once (you did pay for it after all) but the closing hour of the concert is so superior to the opening don't be surprised if that's the only spin you ever give disk one."