In an old building in Asbury Park last week, Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band (plus horns and longtime Jackson Browne musical partner David Lindley on violin) taped a live show. They invited about 60 fans. The premise? Live versions of songs from the new/old The Promise album, which are mostly great-but-unused songs from 1978’s Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions.
The result. An amazing, intimate, loose and intense 30 minutes slice of Springsteen. Thom Zimny (who has become Bruce’s filmmaker) puts us on the stage, as close as most will ever get.
Songs From The Promise” was filmed on December 7 inside the Asbury Park boardwalk’s historic Carousel House. The concert features the world premiere E Street Band performances of four tracks from The Promise (“Racing in the Street (’78),” “Gotta Get That Feeling,” “Ain’t Good Enough For You,” and the title track), plus “Blue Christmas.”
Though grounded in a rock and roll, with a healthy R&B/60’s Soul tradition chromosome, Bruce Springsteen was signed as a folk guy (at least that’s what Columbia Records thought they were getting). As successfully as any artist in modern music, has been able go from folk to rock to soul to pop without losing his ability to write insightful lyrics and embrace rock music.
But the record that has proven to be the strongest, most timeless work is 1978’s Darkness on the Edge of Town album. It gets a newly remastered treatment (The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story, a 6 CD/DVD set, due out November 14) with a package that includes two CD’s of unreleased, new/old songs from the original recording sessions; a live concert video from 1978; and a making-of documentary – one that debuts at the Toronto Film Festival September 14, and on HBO in August.
I have the orginal CD in my car. It’s a favorite on my iPod. I can still remember the day in 1984 , going to the used record store in Hillsdale, Michigan, and coming out with a used vinyl version. I still have it.
It a record that has some of Bruce’s meanest guitar playing, down-but still-hopeful lyrics and a core set of songs (“Badlands”, “Prove It All Night”, The Promised Land”) that form the heart of most of the band’s live shows.
He had to wait two years following the release of Born to Run before he could even get into the studio to record the album, because of the lawsuit with his management, and a judge’s injunction against recording with his new manager Jon Landau while the court case dragged on. Continue reading “New Springsteen “Darkness” Reissue Contains Intriguing Additions”