Bruce Springstreen and the E Street Band – Live 1975-1985

Bruce Springsteen continues to surprise me with his earnestness.

Call me cynical for this assumption, but you’d think that a man who sings almost exclusively about the working class, patriotism, freedom, and youth would have to sound a little bit cheesy at some point. Somehow Bruce never does.

He toes the line at least a couple of times on this fantastic live triple-disc set, like when he pauses between songs to tell stories about growing up, about how his parents, as late as 1980,
still wanted him to go back to college to become a lawyer, or about how “there were two things that were annoying in [his] house growing up–one of them was [his] guitar. The other one was [him].”

The stories and the onstage banter only gives a better sense of who the Boss is, and that’s something Springsteen fans will be glad to have recorded on CD.

The tracks in this set were hand-picked from ten years of live performances by Bruce and producer Jon Landau. Technically, the title of this collection is correct, but there’s only one song from 1975. There are a few others from the second half of the seventies, but the majority of the songs seem to come from between ’80 and ’85.

This doesn’t really mean anything one way or the other, because all the performances sound great. Within the forty tracks on three albums are eight previously
unreleased songs, including a few covers: “War”, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land”, and Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl”.

There’s something about Bruce and the E Street Band that just evoke a sense of utter joy and strength in people (hence the cost of going to see himlive). Live versions of Springsteen songs show them to be even more enthusiastic, more life-affirming than those on the original record. I
challenge anyone with a heart to listen to these versions of “Jungle Land” or “Born to Run” and not feel moved.

9.25/10.00 for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – Live 1975-1985.

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