Thursday, June 12, 2008

CD Review: Live In New York City

Disc One
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
Disc Two
1) Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
2) Land of Hope and Dreams
3) American Skin
4) Lost In The Flood
5) Born In The U.S.A.
6) Don't Look Back
7) Jungleland
8) Ramrod
9) If I Should Fall Behind
The famous call of "BRUCE!" never stopped during this show. Mr. Springsteen and his fantastic band have enough energy to power our cars once we run out of gasoline. They deliver one powerful number after another, seemingly recharged by Bruce's manic scream of "1-2-3-4!"
This isn't soft rock. Quiet moments like "American Skin" and a folk-tinged, acoustic take on "Born In The U.S.A." are few. The rest of the set is comprised of rockers for an arena.
My favorite part is midway through the two-CD set. The intro to "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" has a hint of disco, but Bruce's "1-2-3-4!" turns it into pure soul. There is something of a breakdown in the middle or the song, during which Bruce introduces Clarence, Patti, Steven, Max, and the other fine musicians leading the spiritual.
The adjective "epic" has become overused, but it is the perfect word to describe the caliber of Bruce's songs. Perhaps the most majestic of them all is "Jungleland", which begins with nothing but piano, building to a climax including the entire E Street Band, who back Nils Lofgren's soaring guitar and, later, Clarence's passionate saxophone, only to eventually cut out, leaving only piano and the audience's "BRUCE!". Between this highlight and the countless other fist-pumping rockers - "My Love Will Not Let You Down", "Prove It All Night", and the rest - Bruce's most famous song, "Born To Run", seems like an afterthought.
As a musician, I can only dream of entertaining the people like Bruce and company can. Sure, I can think of great performers before - like Sam Cooke - and after - like The Killers, but none approach this group's level. Not another band has yet to combine perfect music with command of the crowd like Bruce does on this disc.
***** out of five

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