Thursday, 9 May 2019

Bruce Springsteen - Unplugged in Concert (1993)


Recorded in concert in Los Angeles in 1992, in front of a small audience for MTV.


1. Red-Headed Woman
2. Better Days
3. Atlantic City
4. Darkness On The Edge Of Town
5. Man's Job
6. Human Touch
7. Lucky Town
8. I Wish I Were Blind
9. Thunder Road
10. Light Of Day
11. If I Should Fall Behind
12. Living Proof
13. My Beautiful Reward

"Unplugged" is a huge misnomer on this album (an "X" is put through the "Un" of "unplugged" on the cover). After the first acoustic delivery of the slightly bawdy but embarrassing hitherto unavailable song, "Red-Headed Woman", Bruce calls out "ok, let's rock it" to his new band at the time (not the E St. Band) and they do a full band set. While nowhere near as dynamic as any of the live recordings with the E St. Band, it is ok, if not a little chugging. A lot of the material comes from the 1992 double album release of "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town" and it is those songs which are performed with the most verve and vigour, or so it seems to me. Those tracks that I was more familiar with from their time being performed with the E St. Band are those which I feel sound just slightly less than their best, such as "Thunder Road" and "Darkness On The Edge Of Town". Having said that, hearing "Atlantic City" in full band mode is excellent. It really works.

Tracks such as "Lucky Town" and "Living Proof" really come to life on here and "Better Days" and the superb "I Wish I Were Blind" are just superb. I have always had a guilty weakness for the cheesy "Man's Job". A previously unavailable rarity is the rocking glory that is "Light Of Day".

"My Beautiful Reward" and "If I Should Fall Behind" are both tender, sensitive quiet numbers in between the upbeat rock. To be honest, Springsteen is such a consummate performer that he lends a real commitment and personality to all the material on the album. He never gives half measures, does he?

This is a live album probably of more interest to committed Springsteen followers as opposed to ones who want to hear more well-known tracks live. They should go for "Live 1975-1985" or "Live In New York City", or indeed any of the numerous live sets available via Springsteen's own site.


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