Last summer I was invited to see Bruce Springsteen perform live in Chicago, where I was visiting. He was in the midst of his Seeger Sessions Band Tour, which was hyped up by Bruce’s usual media supporters and his obsessed fans to be a groundbreaking event that would change the face of music. Because of my disappointment with Bruce Springsteen over the past decade, I kept my previous arrangement – watching a local nursing home ensemble perform My Fair Lady. Those who went to the show (and they did praise it) talked about the outdoor venue, where Jimmy Buffet was scheduled to play soon after, being half empty.
The scene of thousands of acres filled with shiny green grass where people were supposed to sit must have looked beautiful to everyone except Bruce Springsteen. Perhaps this is something one would see at a Mariah Carey concert, but unexpected from Bruce Springsteen. What happened?
The answer, for the most part, certainly isn't evident when watching Bruce Springsteen's live Blu-Ray disc, Bruce Springsteen with the Sessions Band: Live in Dublin. One has to give Bruce Springsteen a lot of credit for doing something completely unexpected and different, rather than performing the usual repetitive songs about Bobby and Mary with the E Street Band. Unlike other acts who have been around thirty years or more, he is taking risks and having a fun time with it.
Bruce Springsteen interacts well with his Seeger Sessions Band and brings a new twist to his own songs, such as "Atlantic City," "If I Should Fall Behind," and "Blinded by The Light." At first, it was difficult to hear Bruce Springsteen sing songs by an artist whom I respect a lot more, Pete Seeger. Hearing Bruce’s “passing a kidney stone” version of “When The Saints Go Marching In” insulted the memory of my late father, who played the far superior Pete Seeger version all the time when I was younger. But Bruce sounded more passionate when singing “My Oklahoma Home,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” and “Mrs. McGrath.” He really seemed to understand Pete Seeger and the message of his songs.
The multiple shots in such a short period of time on this blu-ray disc may annoy some, but really make the concert more exciting to watch. The high definition filming, as well as the lifelike sound, really bring the concert experience alive. It was probably more exciting watching the concert on a blue-ray disc than sitting with a nearly vacant audience. However, the particular audience where this concert was filmed, in Dublin, was anything but vacant. Bruce Springsteen, like many other American acts, is probably appreciated a lot more in Europe than his own country these days.
While Bruce Springsteen with the Sessions Band: Live in Dublin certainly won’t bring back some of the fans he’s lost over the years, it will remind them why they became fans in the first place: Bruce Springsteen is a passionate performer who not only enjoys what he’s doing, but enjoys his audience as well.