When the 30th anniversary Born To Run box set came out last year, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I stuck the remastered Born To Run CD in for a second or three, and for those few seconds, it sounded good. But if you are a Bruce fan, how often do you really listen to the studio albums? Answer: Hardly ever.
The real jewel of the set, was the full concert DVD of the Hammersmith Odeon concert from 1975. Once you are holding that jewel, your mind will very likely forgot about the remastered Born To Run, and probably didn’t even see that a documentary DVD was included as well.
Camp Bruce is doing now what should have been done day and date with the box set release, and they are releasing a CD audio version of the Hammersmith show previously only available on the DVD.
Perhaps you already read Mark Saleski’s review of Hammersmith right here, and if not, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
Anyway, back to the review: Having had this show on bootleg for a few years, I somehow managed to miss what an incredible show this is, and as Brucelegs go, this one is definitely up there in my book of favorite Bruce shows. The setlist features not only “the hits” for the casual fans like Thunder Road and Tenth Avenue, but it also features a number of great album tracks that these days you would be happy and lucky to get just one of them in the setlist.
Hammersmith contains, in my opinion, the definitive version of “Lost In The Flood,” which while I have yet to hear a bad version of this song, Bruce was firing on all cylinders for this one at Hammersmith. Likewise, the CD contains “The E Street Shuffle” and “Kitty’s Back,” which is always good.
Overall, it’s a great set, and one that I wasn’t that excited about initially when I first saw the track listing. Regardless of how it looks on paper, it is dynamite on the playback. The setlist flows really well, and the power and emotion of Bruce and company’s performance really cuts through on this one.
If this is the launch of the official bootleg series from Bruce, as has been written recently, well then it’s a good first entry into the series in my book, despite duplicating the previous DVD release. Word is, that they are already working on a show to release from the Darkness tour, and hopefully we won’t have to wait until 2008 to see that release come out.
If you are like me, and are less than stoked about the upcoming Springsteen album of Pete Seeger covers, then you will most definitely want to check this release out to tide you over until when and if Bruce gets back to the rock and roll.