Of the three official live DVDs from Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band released over the past decade — and you can make that four if you count the Live At Hammersmith Odeon 1975 DVD included with the deluxe 30th anniversary version of Born To Run — this is by far the best of them.
Here is why.
London Calling: Live In Hyde Park may not feature the greatest fans' dream setlist ever. Hell, it doesn't even come from the tour that topped most of the recent hardcore wish lists (that distinction probably belongs to the 2007-08 tour behind the Magic album).
But it is the first time the full experience of a complete Springsteen/E Street Band show — start to stop — has successfully been documented on DVD. There are none of the screwy song-gaps of 2001's Live In New York City. Nor is there the disjointed sequencing of 2003's Live In Barcelona.
Rather, what you get here is the full-on experience, before a stadium of rabid British fans screaming and singing their lungs out exactly as it happened. This is about as close as it gets to being there.
It also doesn't hurt things one bit that Bruce and the E Street Band are absolutely on fire here. The first four songs are played at a such a rapid-fire, almost punk-rock sort of pace, they occur as a near blur.
Beginning with a craftily chosen cover of the Clash's "London Calling" and ending with the Born To Run chestnut "She's The One," Bruce and the E Street Band roar through this four-song opening sequence with such a ferocity you'd think they were playing for their very lives. Max Weinberg — who on the most routine of days plays his drums pretty damn hard — pounds the living crap out of the skins here.