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Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band’s “12/31/75 Upper Darby, PA” Reviewed


Phil Lynott And The E Street band


The thing about musicians, pop, rock any popular musicians, is they are not our family and they are not our friends and they don’t deserve and have not earned our loyalty to their brand. Our loyalty is to music, not people we don’t know who wouldn’t shake hands with us if we were all  going down on the Titanic.

Springsteen was one of the greats but he hasn’t’ recorded a great album (great songs, not great albums) since Human Touch, and ever since Clarence died has been so overwrought and long winded on stage  he is impossible to sit through. And the E Street band, atrocious at the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame in 2014, are fucking worse.

It wasn’t always so, and as Bruce releases his immense archive of live and recorded concerts here, some of these, most of these, concerts are pretty awesome. Forget for the most part the entire 2014 tour, pick up the Auckland one but a taster should do it, and stick with the two subsequent releases, an epic 1978 set from Cleveland that may stand as one of his greatest performances of all time, and a New Year’s Eve gig at the Tower in Philadelphia, five months after the release of Born To Run, are easily worth the ten bucks a head… except, if you don’t download it within three days you lose it and if you don’t email song to song to yourself you lose it as well.

HOWEVER, it is worth it. In 2015, Bruce is Bono, who goes beyond oversinging into the world of camp: he overdoes it, he considers himself so big, such a God among men, that he he sells himself out with overwhelming pieces of bombastic rock and roll embalmic. Apparently, it ain’t that hard to be a saint in the city.

On this live album “”12/31/75 Upper Darby, PA”  Bruce was close but not quite Bruce yet. On the eve of 1976, “Devil In A Blue Dress” seguing into “Good Golly Miss Molly” into “CC Rider” as the minutes ticked into seconds, was the definition of the honest roar of rock and roll. Even better was the hard four minute plus “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”, far from the singalonganintroduction post  Born In The USA  tour version we got used to for years (it took Clarence’s death for Bruce to change it). Even “Rosalito” seems a little different, a little less sure of its placing in the grand scheme of things.

This is better than most of 2014 (though I really love the Auckland show) and not as good as the legendary Aurora show, but as we pick and choose our way through the live releases (and personally, I can not wait for the Tunnel Of Love tour to make its way), it’ll do. Remember, any album with “Mountains Of Love” on it can’t be all bad.

Grade: B+


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