' Cinema Romantico: Live in Dublin

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Live in Dublin

How many times have I espoused on the glorious virtues of living in Chicago? Too many to mention, probably. And here's another one to add to the list - near the top of list, even. Last evening there were a mere 20 cities across our great nation which provided its populace a single showing on the big screen of the newly released Bruce Springsteen concert DVD "Live in Dublin" (which is released in stores today along with a CD of the same show). Chicago was one of these cities. And you better believe I was there. And you better believe it was as cool as you'd think I'd think it would be. In fact, the only downside to the event was that I was closer to the "stage" last night than I've ever been at one of his real shows.

It was a lot like a real Bruce show that just happened to be inside of a movie theater. We applauded after every song. There were many cheers of "Bruuuuuuuuuce". And there was even an older fellow wearing a Springsteen Tour T-Shirt from the 80's that has been through the wash too many times and is now a couple sizes too small for the poor guy.

The DVD focuses, of course, on many of the songs from The Seeger Sessions album and they're all fantastic. We also get some old-time tunes not on the CD, such as a stunning cover of "When the Saints Go Marching In" (gotta' hear it to believe it).

(To be completely forthright here I will say that Bruce's version of "This Little Light" is not as good as Neko Case's version on her live album The Tigers Have Spoken. It's just the truth. Neko makes it more raw.)

But to a Springsteen fanatic the real goods here are to be found in the reinvention of his own songs. I'd heard his New Orleans swing re-working of "Open All Night" when I attended a show of his in Des Moines last year and it was as gaspingly spectacular last night on the big screen as it was in the Wells Fargo arena. But I also got to hear some of the tunes he didn't play in Des Moines.

"If I Should Fall Behind" (which he has re-worked before) was transformed into an Irish waltz that is so gorgeous I think I'm actually kinda' glad he didn't play it in Des Moines. Otherwise my entire body may simply have dissolved into a puddle of emotional tears and then Andrea would have had to mop me up and take me home.

"Blinded by the Light" was turned into something too magnificent to describe. I almost got the feeling Bruce heard that horseshit Manfred Mann cover of it (you know, the one that's always on the radio) and finally decided to say, "I'm sorry, Mr. Mann, but it's high-time I show you how a cover of one of my songs should be done."

But the one I really want to mention is "Further On Up the Road". This was a rocker from "The Rising", Bruce's last outing with the infamous E Street Band. Quite frankly, I always felt "Further On Up the Road" missed. It was very well done, of course, but it was generic. A few cuts on the album could be considered the same, in fact. But hearing the same song with The Seeger Sessions band was extraordinary. I felt my jaw drop when it started. I couldn't believe it was the same song. It was so beautiful - so, so, so, so beautiful. Heavenly, really. And that makes me wonder about Bruce's current musical path.

I'm sure a lot of people want to hear another record with The E Street Band but it's not unreasonable to wonder if that's the wrong idea at this particular juncture. Don't get me wrong, The E Street Band is still the greatest backing band there ever was and ever will be but I wonder if maybe, just maybe, Bruce should go in a different direction for the time being. Hearing this new version of "Further On Up the Road" you can't help but think this is how it should have sounded from the beginning. And that's when you realize there are certain things The E Street Band simply cannot do. Perhaps to match the visions Bruce currently has in his head he needs the more eclectic firepower of the Seeger Sessions Band. It's pretty wonderous to hear these brilliant new versions of old Bruce songs and then let your mind wander to what a whole album of originals would sound like.

Astute viewers will note at the beginning of the DVD it bills them as Bruce Springsteen and The Sessions Band rather than The Seeger Sessions Band - as they had been billed for the past year or so. Is this meant to insinuate there is a session of a different kind forthcoming?

1 comment:

Miss B said...

Was that Mary don't you weep no more song on there? That was my absolute favorite on that album. And I agree, this new direction is really damn exciting.