A review of Bruce Springsteen's 'Devils and Dust' without having heard a single note!
2005 brings us a new Springsteen record for a new time. This isn't the Bruce that rocks the stadiums with bombast and righteousness. This isn't Bruce with a 27 piece 'E Street Band'. This is a somber and reflective Springsteen. He reminds us gently on this record that he still is America's greatest rock talent, but without all the whizz bang we have come to expect.
The disc starts off with a plaintive ballad that gently sets the tone for the rest of the record. This isn't the creepy desperate resignation of 'Nebraska', but you sure know it's the same old soul in there. The record picks up on occasion, and doesn't sound entirely like a suicide note. It tells us that even the Boss needs some time off for reflection.
Having toured the world about 19 times over on the Rising, Bruce opted the quieter road. He is touring this spring behind the album in very intimate settings. So no, you won't be seeing him. Those tickets went entirely to scalpers within 4 minutes of each onsale for every city. However, the Boss can't be blamed. Remember that he is the one who sells not a single front row seat to his shows. Never. He holds those and his staff hand them out to the folks with the worst seats in the house for every show.
I was at one of those shows in Denver about 6 years ago. I knew about the front row legend and watched. You could tell that those were folks who couldn't afford a $300 ticket. To their credit though, every last one of them knew every word to every song. That is how, and why, the Boss takes care of his fans.
An excellent bonus feature is that this disc is the first new big release of the new "Dual Disc" format. This is your regular CD on one side, and DVD features on the other. For the DVD fixin's, Devils comes with live acoustic performances of five of the discs tracks, along with lyrics, and the whole album remastered to 5.1 surround sound.