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The Promise Fulfilled: Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town Goes Deluxe

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Bruce Springsteen has redefined the re-issue with the November 16 release of his masterwork Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. Yes, I’ve been given to hyperbole where Springsteen is concerned in the past. I’ve even been accused of being overly critical where Springsteen is concerned but this set, as announced today, is perhaps the best-constructed monstrosity of a re-issue I’ve ever encountered.

Darkness has been remastered and will be released as a 3-CD/3-DVD set as well as a 3-CD/3-Blu-ray package featuring a metric buttload of previously unreleased studio and live material. The first CD of the set is the remastered version of the album. Discs 2 and 3 will be sold separately for fans who don’t want to spring for the deluxe version – although I can’t imagine any Springsteen fan who won’t want it all – in a package called The Promise. The 21 songs from this CD all date back to the original sessions from Darkness. These have been remixed and according to E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt some of the tracks have had a few touch-ups done to them.

“We’re doing a little bit of fixes on some Darkness on the Edge of Town outtakes,” he told Rolling Stone magazine. “We’ll go back and he might finish a lyric on one or two, or finish a harmony on one or two, but we’ll keep them intact pretty much.”

Several songs on these two discs became live favorites but have never been released as studio tracks until now. Here is the tracklisting for these Darkness sessions:

CD 2: THE PROMISE (DISC 1)

  1. Racing In The Street (’78)
  2. Gotta Get That Feeling
  3. Outside Looking In
  4. Someday (We’ll Be Together)
  5. One Way Street
  6. Because The Night
  7. Wrong Side Of The Street
  8. The Brokenhearted
  9. Rendezvous
  10. Candy’s Boy

CD 3: THE PROMISE (DISC 2)

  1. Save My Love
  2. Ain’t Good Enough For You
  3. Fire
  4. Spanish Eyes
  5. It’s A Shame
  6. Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)
  7. Talk To Me
  8. The Little Things (My Baby Does)
  9. Breakaway
  10. The Promise
  11. City Of Night

Now on to the DVDs. The first DVD is a documentary called The Promise: The Making of ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’ and was directed by award-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny. The documentary includes interviews with Springsteen, members of the E Street Band, longtime Springsteen manager and confidant Jon Landau, and former Springsteen manager Mike Appel.

The other two DVDs focus on Springsteen and The E Street Band on stage mainly during what many longtime fans consider the greatest tour in their history and one of the great tours of all time.

DVD 2 captures the band playing Darkness in its entirety at a club in Asbury Park, New Jersey in 2009. The rest of that DVD takes live performances from various shows from 1976 and 1978. The third disc is a 26-song edit of their show in Houston in 1978.

The tracklisting for the two DVDs:

DVD 2: DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN (PARAMOUNT THEATER, ASBURY PARK, NJ, 2009)

  1. Badlands
  2. Adam Raised A Cain
  3. Something In The Night
  4. Candy’s Room
  5. Racing In The Street
  6. The Promised Land
  7. Factory
  8. Streets Of Fire
  9. Prove It All Night
  10. Darkness On The Edge Of Town

THRILL HILL VAULT (1976-1978)

  1. Save My Love (Holmdel, NJ 76)
  2. Candy’s Boy (Holmdel, NJ 76)
  3. Something In The Night (Red Bank, NJ 76)
  4. Don’t Look Back (NYC 78)
  5. Ain’t Good Enough For You (NYC 78)
  6. The Promise (NYC 78)
  7. Candy’s Room Demo (NYC 78)
  8. Badlands (Phoenix 78)
  9. The Promised Land (Phoenix 78)
  10. Prove It All Night (Phoenix 78)
  11. Born To Run (Phoenix 78)
  12. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (Phoenix 78)

DVD 3: HOUSTON ’78 BOOTLEG: HOUSE CUT

  1. Badlands
  2. Streets Of Fire
  3. It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City
  4. Darkness On The Edge Of Town
  5. Spirit In The Night
  6. Independence Day
  7. The Promised Land
  8. Prove It All Night
  9. Racing In The Street
  10. Thunder Road
  11. Jungleland
  12. The Ties That Bind
  13. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  14. The Fever
  15. Fire
  16. Candy’s Room
  17. Because The Night
  18. Point Blank
  19. She’s The One
  20. Backstreets
  21. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
  22. Born To Run
  23. Detroit Medley
  24. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
  25. You Can’t Sit Down
  26. Quarter To Three

So where does that leave us, boys and girls? Supremely excited and exhausted. This huge helping of Springsteen goodness from one of his most prolific and interesting periods is going to be spectacularly rewarding. I can’t wait to hear the 21 remixed songs. I can’t wait to have studio recordings of favorites like “Because The Night” and “Fire.” I can’t wait to hear some of these songs I’ve heard of only in name and some I never knew existed.

More than that, I can’t wait to dive in and digest the live footage. The second DVD teases us with what more may still be in the vaults in terms of live material. I’ve heard many fans drool over the Phoenix ’78 show, which has been bootlegged to Hell and back (as have many shows from this tour). I’m excited to hear the 2009 performance of the album in its entirety, to experience how the album has grown with the band over the years since its release.

It’s going to take untold hours to hear all of this once, to say nothing of hearing it enough times to truly wrap my head around what is being offered. This is a stunning spectacle of a set and an album that is powerful enough to justify this kind of royal treatment. This is the new standard for re-issues.

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About Josh Hathaway

  • Nj Carol

    This looks amazing… can’t wait!

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    that’s cool to include the modern-day performance

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    This looks awesome. Lots of stuff that’s never even been heard on bootleg, plus exactly the right outtakes (hopefully this is the “long” version of “The Promise” with the ESB … which they claimed was lost when choosing stuff for “Tracks” … and the slightly more rockin’ “Racing”).

    Houston is an odd choice for the live 78 show (I’d have thought Winterland), but with ample live material from two shows (including the widely seen Phoenix stuff), this is gonna be hard to beat. Like the inclusion of the Darkness club set from ’09 too.

    My wallet already hurts!

    -Glen

  • http://www.thelightindarkness.com musicpub

    feeling overwhelmed, 3 months in advance, luckily will have a taste of this in Toronto with the Ed Norton interview session, “after party” and HBO October 7 screening…

  • Dr. Jimmy

    On paper this appears to be the best thing Springsteen has ever released.