Friday, 10 May 2019

Bruce Springsteen - Live In New York City (2000)


  

Recorded live in New York City in June and July 2000

This live album is composed of highlights from Bruce Springsteen's long awaited reunion with the legendary E St. Band and the concerts at New York City's Madison Square Garden. For me, like all Springsteen's "official", regular, mainstream market live releases it is slightly underwhelming and unrepresentative of the live Springsteen experience. The best live recordings are to be found via his own site as downloads, where entire concerts can be found from many periods in his lengthy career.

This one, like "Live 1975-85" and "Plugged" are not quite the finished article. That point made, I cannot argue that the material on here is good, and shows just why the E St. Band should never have been denied to the world from 1988 to 2000. It is good to hear vibrant versions of songs like "My Love Will Not Let You Down" (from the "Tracks" box set) and "Youngstown", with its blistering Nils Lofgren guitar solo. "Murder Incorporated" is a hard rocking rarity, too. The moment where it segues into the rousing "Badlands" is wonderful.

Some of the songs are given new makeovers, like "Atlantic City"'s full band version, "Mansion On The Hill"'s Hawaiian guitar backing and a strange country-style mumbling incarnation of "The River", which for me doesn't quite come off.

The second half of the release features three monsters in its ranks - a sixteen-minute "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" that includes the lengthy band introductions; the incredibly hard-hitting "American Skin (41 Shots)" and the emotional, uplifting "Land Of Hope And Dreams". Despite being later recorded in the studio for the "High Hopes" and "Wrecking Ball" albums respectively, these are the definitive versions of the songs. It is nice to hear an oldie like "Lost In The Flood" resurrected and "Born In The USA" played in its original bottle-neck bluesy version. "Ramrod" is a bellyful of rollicking roadhouse rock fun and there is a point a couple of minutes into "Jungleland" when the drums, piano, guitar and saxophone go into orbit together and you realise you are listening to the best good-time rock'n'roll live band - ever.

TRACK LISTING

1. My Love Will Not Let You Down
2. Prove It All Night
3. Two Hearts
4. Atlantic City
5. Mansion On The Hill
6. The River
7. Youngstown
8. Murder Incorporated
9. Badlands
10. Out In The Street
11. Born To Run
12. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
13. Lost In The Flood
14. Don't Look Back
15. Jungleland
16. Born In The USA
17. Ramrod
18. American Skin (41 Shots)
19. Land Of Hope And Dreams
20. If I Should Fall Behind

B-

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