They simply couldn't have hit this amazing story any better.
But for anyone who hasn't yet seen, heard and otherwise fully experienced Bruce Springsteen's long awaited, just released deluxe The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story boxed set, there are a few bumps along the road to what is otherwise quite possibly the most lovingly crafted and executed repackage of what was already a damn near-perfect record ever.
So, I thought it best we get these out of the way early on.
For many fans, the biggest pull of this set is going be the DVD of the complete performance from the Houston stop on what is now considered the mythical 1978 Darkness tour, and the performance included here does not even remotely disappoint.
For those same fans, the fact that the Houston show has had nowhere near the widely bootlegged exposure of stops in Passaic, NJ (Bruce's "birthday show"), and at venues like San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom is a definite plus.
Captured on a particularly hot night in Texas, Springsteen and the E Street band are nothing short of electrifying here. The extended piano and guitar intros on "Prove It All Night" — long the stuff of legend, and now finally out there for wider public consumption on an official release — are worth the price of admission alone.
The video footage is likewise better than anything that has been gathering dust in a warehouse God knows where all these decades has any right to be. However, the occasional drop-offs in sound quality — especially for those of us who already have soundboard bootleg recordings of those 1978 Darkness shows — are, admittedly, a little frustrating.
When stacked up against the Houston performance — as well as the extra Darkness tour footage from Phoenix — Bruce and the ESB's 2009 run-through of the complete Darkness album before an empty house at Asbury Park's Paramount Theatre also comes up a little flat, at least comparatively speaking.
Don't get me wrong here.
Even now, there is no band in all of rock and roll that holds a candle to the collective tightness of the E Street Band. They remain a well oiled machine that is simply unmatched in terms of tightness and musical chops.