Bruce Springsteen,
Live in Dublin
(Sony, 2007)

This album should have a very strong health warning. If you have a condition that needs you to avoid excitement, please read no further.

If there has ever been an adrenalin rush available on a silver disc, this is it. I am writing this review in July, and I seriously doubt any release will preclude this as my album of 2007.

The album was recorded over a few nights at Dublin's Point Theatre late in 2006, and it captures the atmosphere perfectly. Listening to the double CD, you can feel the temperature, the excitement and the joy of not only the audience and the principal performer but also the Sessions Band. They are without doubt the living proof of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Each musician is a master and the arrangements use their talents to the best possible advantage.

How can I say "great" in 23 different ways? All the tracks here deserve that description from the opening with "Atlantic City" through to "We Shall Overcome." Bruce Springsteen has found a new voice, a new power and I suspect an extra audience since his Seeger Sessions, and this builds on that.

"Jesse James" is a marvelous story track that may not have been too well known in Dublin, but the maestro had them singing along. He made some Irish concession with "Mrs McGrath," even if his pronunciation of her name was far from ours (Springsteen's "McGrath" as opposed to the Irish "McGra"). The use of a marching drum was inspired.

His version of "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times & Live" is a true showstopper as he castigates the response to Katrina. And Springsteen's composition "American Land" certainly struck chords in Dublin, as did the instrumental bridges of "If I Should Fall Behind."

The audience is in full flight on "My Oklahoma Home" and "Jacob's Ladder," but shows due respect on the quieter "Highway Patrolman" that brought to mind the earlier classics like "The River."

You can guess that I loved this album, and that's before I mention it includes a DVD recording of all 23 tracks. But watch out when you buy, as I have seen it on sale in this format, as a double CD only and as a DVD only.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

11 August 2007

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