Thursday, July 1, 2010


I've written a lot about Bruce Springsteen since starting No Expiration. His live shows with The E Street Band over the past few years have been incredible. If you don't believe me, or you didn't get to go to one of the shows, or you did and you want to see what is quite possibly the best rock and roll band in the land again, pick up the new DVD London Calling: Live In Hyde Park.

Recorded at the Hard Rock Calling Festival in Hyde Park last summer, Bruce opens the show with a cover of The Clash's "London Calling" (possibly inspired by a fax Joe Strummer sent to a British TV producer about Bruce). There's lots of songs that have been on other recent DVD releases (Live In New York City from the 1999/2000 reunion tour and Live In Barcelona from the 2002/2003 tour for The Rising). But I don't get tired of seeing songs like "Badlands," "She's The One" and "Out In The Street." Watching this enormous crowd going crazy gives chills - and the fact that the show starts during the day and you actually watch the sunset adds to the vibe.  But there's also some great unique things here.  The aforementioned "London Calling," but also "Night" which is a great live song, "Seeds," the rocking version of the Nebraska classic "Johnny 99," "American Land," Jimmy Cliff's "Trapped" and "No Surrender" with Brian Fallon from Gaslight Anthem. I mean, a 20-something year old Jersey punk rocker made good, joining Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band on stage in England for "No Surrender," and the crowd goes wild?  It gave me chills to watch it.

The main critique of this that I've read is that there were more "interesting" shows on the tour, mainly the full album sets.  I'd agree with that, but that isn't really a critique of this release, it's a complaint that he didn't release the show you wanted. Which is fine, but this release is awesome.  Of course, I'd love it if he released any (or all) of the shows where he played albums in their entirety on DVD or CD, but I'm not mad about Hyde Park. I will say that the bonus tracks are random: "The River," recorded the night before at the Glastonbury Festival, and the video for "Wrecking Ball," the song he wrote for Giants Stadium's last date. I would have loved the opening song from Glastonbury, a cover of the Joe Strummer solo classic "Coma Girl," but I won't complain.

I wonder if this was the last E Street Band tour. People seem to think that there's one left.  Well, if there isn't: they went out on top, and this DVD is exhibit A.

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