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  1. #1
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Week 8: 25 Best Live Records of All Time

    Well, I almost forgot to post one this week, so my apologies to the countless (cough, cough) RR members who were sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the latest entry.

    18) Hammersmith Odeon, London í75--Bruce Springsteen: Until the Springsteen camp issues something from the 1978 tour, this will have to stand as the one decent live representation of his early career. Itís looser than youíd expect and the songs are so complex that itís no wonder that he started writing simpler, shorter songs. The DVD is particularly wild since the entire E Street Band look like pimps on the strip and not the well-adjusted music professionals they became. Thatís what itís like when youíre young. You have hair. You have to use it.

    I don't think I've ever heard this one, and doubt that anyone I know owns it. Anybody out there have this one?

    Swish - somebody pour me a drink
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  2. #2
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    I have the DVD, and I flat-out love it. Gets many, many spins at the MidFi household. The video quality sucks hard, but the sound is actually pretty good. Wish I had more time to post...but I don't. Maybe later.
    Mr. MidFi
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  3. #3
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    I wondered about this one. This was a time when Springsteen had something to prove and had yet to be annointed by the rock critics as Rock's savior. I like that the reviewer states that the songs were complex, and then he 'fixed it' later by writing simple, shorter songs...says loads about the reviewer. I love Springsteen's first two albums. Born To Run was a good album, but too much of it is overly dramatic. Like I always said, on his first two albums, Springsteen celebrated life, and on Born To Run and beyond, he wallowed in it. I should check this album out.

  4. #4
    Toon Robber tentoze's Avatar
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    MidFi is right- the video quality does suck, but jeebers, what a show. Springsteen and the band went to London virtually unknown, and put this performance way over the cheap seats, the scoreboard, and several adjacent parking lots. First time I watched it, I actually had to pause it a few times and take breathers from the intensity- it will exhaust you. Nothing short of amazing.
    ----Never Off Topic, Never Rude-----

  5. #5
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    I wondered about this one. This was a time when Springsteen had something to prove and had yet to be annointed by the rock critics as Rock's savior. I like that the reviewer states that the songs were complex, and then he 'fixed it' later by writing simple, shorter songs...says loads about the reviewer. I love Springsteen's first two albums. Born To Run was a good album, but too much of it is overly dramatic. Like I always said, on his first two albums, Springsteen celebrated life, and on Born To Run and beyond, he wallowed in it. I should check this album out.
    With reference to being 'anointed'...this album was recorded after he'd already been on Time & Newsweek, which was a year & a half after the famous Landau quote.

    The reviewer (that's a charitable way to describe the person who put together this list) didn't say what you say he did (fixed?). Interesting that's what you read into it.

    The person it says something about is Springsteen, and I'll draw a loose parallel to Joni Mitchell as an example. I happen to prefer the first two Springsteen albums to just about anything else he's ever done, except Nebraska, and I'm not a fan of Born To Run. Joni Mitchell didn't exactly stop writing complex songs, and who did she have playing with her? Nothing against the E Street Band, but there's a difference between a band & a singer-songwriter project. Springsteen was never likely to break out of the rock mold (unless he turned to something arguably simpler like stripped-down folk), wasn't adventurous musically like Mitchell, who used players like Jaco Pastorius & Larry Carlton, or, say, Tom Waits, who was using people like Shelly Manne and, later, Marc Ribot (on Rain Dogs, there was also Chris Spedding, Keith Richards, & Tony Levin). Ensembles like that can play...anything. With all due respect to the E Street Band, I think they were great at what they did, which was back up Bruce Springsteen.

    Who didn't 'fix' anything by writing 'simpler' material (which may have also been the result of legal and/or record company pressures on someone with the high profile he'd attained without the impact of a hit beyond the rock audience on his resume). His adventurousness was more in the realm of lyrics. Personally I prefer Nebraska to any of that Joni Mitchell stuff, or that era of Tom Waits (Swordfish-Frank's), excepting a song or two. Since Springsteen's first three albums or so, he's always struck me as someone who's more interested in writing protest-type songs, and an occasional pop song, than the type of material found on his first couple of albums. I'm not a big fan & never will be; I've got this album lying around here somewhere & haven't listened to it since it came out, so I should give it another spin. But I think I liked the Seeger Sessions thing better.

    I don't like others.

  6. #6
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    My 'fixed' comment was more an amalgam of all the critics who think rock songs are supposed to be 3-1/2 minutes long, verse-verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus...any variation was/is over-indulgence. I liked Springsteen's ability to tell a story, and he does so on the first two albums. And I agree that the E-St Band was a great back-up band, but not much on individual merit (I can't think of two more hamfisted guitar players than Springsteen and Van Zandt - hell, Neil Young thinks they're hamfisted).

    Springsteen had changed personnel by time Born To Run came around. David Sancious (piano,keyboards) and Vinnie Lopez (drums) were gone by time Born To Run came out, maybe even others. I think this is why his albums after Wild/Innocent are decidedly different. They must of had some influence on writing. Also, all the talk of being the new Bob Dylan must have influenced Bruce's writing as well. And you may have a point that because of the personnel changes, he may have been limited by what he could expect to play onstage anyway.

    Wild/Innocent is my favorite Springsteen album, and one of my desert island disks. That came out in what - 1973? Then, that Bruce just mysteriously disappeared like Eddie Wilson. Everything he did after Wild/Innocent pales in comparison, IMHO of course.

    I can't think of any other films of Springsteen performing before '75, so this might have to do. It a good track list; even the stuff from Born To Run are songs I can live with (Tenth Avenue Freezout is obviously a holdover from Wild/Innocent). I might have to buy this one.

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    Well, it's Monday morning now, so I might have a few moments to actually say something here. First, I should point out that the DVD version is available only as a bonus to the BTR 30th anniversary remaster box. And as such, it is an indispensable document for any fan of their first 3 albums...as is the OTHER bonus DVD in that collection, a fascinating documentary on the making of BTR.

    Secondly, I have to agree very strongly with others who have commented on the strength of the set list. All the songs are good. There's not a "bathroom break" in the bunch.

    3LB is right about the personnel changes, and the effect they had on the live and recorded sound of the band. But more is at work there as well...such as the maturing of Springsteen as a writer, and the diminishing influence of his abrasive manager/gadfly Mike Appel. There are a couple of bonus tracks on the documentary disc that show the band live circa 1973, and the contrast to the full live show (just 2 years later) is stark and remarkable. He looks like he's trying to be Tom Waits in '73. He's completely himself in 1975.

    As much as I've disparaged the video quality, it does still add a great deal of dimension to the way one experiences the music. Goofy pimp-hats aside, it really is enjoyable to watch how the band plays off each other and works together as a unit. And it's nice to see them all look so young again...especially Phantom Dan (RIP).
    Mr. MidFi
    Master of the Obvious

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