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The Other Reviewers Are Exaggerrating!
on 25 July 2006
I don't mean to be the "party-pooper", but this DVD is not as great as the other reviewers make out.
First, I am a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and believe him to be one of the last great rock n roll stars. But this DVD came from the low point of his career. You might give five stars to 'Live In New York City' or the 'Anthology' and, definitely, 'Live in Barcelona' but they were staggering. This, simply, is not.
First, there is no E-Street Band in sight (barring the virtuoso "Professor" Roy Bittan). Fair enough if you can find a solid replacement for them. But what are the odds of that? Springsteen would have to steal Prince's Revolution group or something. None of the group on 'MTV Plugged' is up to the task. The drummer lacks Weinberg's power and energy, the lead guitarist is doing a terrible Slash impression and the backing singers have dated badly (early 90s gospel-esque backing - eeek!).
Second, Springsteen performs some of his worst tunes taken from his worst two albums: Lucky Town and Human Touch. Just think how much better a single album they would have made. 'I Wish I Were Blind'? Are you sure you don't mean "bland"?
Third, referring to the DVD itself, there is a severe lack of good extras (three unremarkable songs) and the gig, itself, is remarkably short for a Springsteen Spectacular.
But that is enough negativity because Springsteen is a master of modern music and live performance and if he needs to carry the band or plaster over inadequacies, he steps up to the challenge with bravado.
Many of the songs are excellent: Better Days and Human Touch were great tunes. Atlantic City is sung with incredible heart and power, Roy Bittan providing a great assist on keyboards. Thunder Road is a rare acoustic performance on guitar. Man's Job is helped along by truly great co-vocals by one of the backing singers who is having a blast. But the true standouts are one of the most angry 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town's you are likely to hear; a stonking Glory Days ("Whatever I do, follow me!"); and a brilliant 'Lucky Town' with good backing vocals and some mean lead guitar from Bruce at the end ("Let's get lucky!").
The sheer atmosphere of the event carries the DVD: there is a bright and breexy early 90s feel of optimism and excitement that the crowd is part of such an exclusive. Plus there is typically interesting banter from Springsteen: I especially like his rant before 'Local Hero'.
To sum up, not as great a DVD as the other reviewers make out. But it has some rare and stomping performances, great banter and is a bargain so who cares?