Bruce Springsteen – a man known for 3 hour shows – released a live album spanning 10 years of gigs back in 1986. And obviously Tom had never heard it, until now…
Release Date: 10 November 1986
Achievements: Never mind debuting at #1 on the Billboard Album Chart, this but it also generated advance orders of over 1.5 million copies, becoming the first live-record collection to do so. It is also the second-best-selling live album in U.S. history.
Rating: Basically universally adored by reviewers, with the exception of the few critics whose favourite songs weren’t on the album.
As alluded to in the title, this record (or rather, collection of five) was recorded at various live gigs over a span of ten years. The songs sound like one straight recording, but are actually a real jumble – which only makes it the more impressive that Springsteen’s voice sounds the same for the whole decade.
Speaking of Springsteen’s voice, I know I can’t be the only person who noticed while listening that this is what Bradley Cooper must have been aiming for in A Star Is Born. Springsteen’s voice is really distinctive and he’s actually written way more songs than I realised I knew (Born in the USA being the only song which I previously could have said with any confidence was by him).
Which brings me onto a very embarrassing point. I’ll admit that Bruce Springsteen was one of those names which I knew, but I didn’t know his music. Obviously, listening to a 3 hour 34 minute compilation of the classics will give you something of an induction into an artist’s history, but these live recordings are enough to make a fan of anyone (providing you can cope with the harmonica).
I’m not sure how correct it is to talk about stage presence when you can’t actually see the person performing, but you can tell that it radiates from Springsteen by the bucket load. Some people are fantastic singers, but end up looking a bit lost on stage, Springsteen on the other hand is a natural performer. I’m always in awe of an artist who can make a stadium performance sound like an intimate gig in a tiny venue, but Springsteen manages this in about seven arenas on one album! He’s also a natural storyteller, which is probably what makes the album feel so personal.
This record is full of the timeless songs which can’t be pinned to a specific decade. This makes the album as enjoyable to a new listener as an old one, as it doesn’t feel like listening to something which has been pulled out of a time capsule – which I for one tend to find a bit jarring. Since it was released 33 years ago today, it hasn’t lost any of it’s relevance.
So, would I recommend this album? Yes. Have I become a bit of a fan? Yes. Do I want him to be at Glastonbury 2020? Stop asking questions you already know the answer to – you’re better than that.
Is there an iconic film or album you think I should have experienced by now? Let me know @MoveToTRASHUK #latelatereview