Bruce Springsteen, with the Sessions Band; Live in Dublin (Sony) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

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Bruce Springsteen: Pay Me My Money Down
Bruce Springsteen, with the Sessions Band; Live in Dublin (Sony) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Springsteen's live shows with a band have, for the most part, been celebratory affairs: initially celebrating the spirit of rock'n'roll; later his connection with an audience; and then increasingly with a vast catalogue of songs whose meanings often changed over time.

After his last album We Shall Overcome when he explored the catalogue of American classic songs made famous by folk legend Pete Seeger, he took to the road with a large band of fiddlers and folkies and mixed some of his own material with Seeger's and the traditional songs.

On these nights in Dublin -- before audiences which became part of the show by singing choruses -- Springsteen played the Seeger material but also pulled out rarities from his extensive songbook and gave them very different readings.

He understandably reached to his folk-framed Nebraska album (see tag), but also as far back as his debut album and into largely ignored albums such as Lucky Town.

He proved also that as a showman he could put rock'n'roll, traditional country, jump jive and Western Swing together in a celebratory (but sometimes serious) concert which would somehow work. And sometimes, as in the case of the lengthy workouts on his old Open All Night, and on My Oklahoma Home, he and the terrific band did all that in the same song.

Live albums often leave you feeling, "I guess you had to be there" -- but in this case you wish you had been.

Thoroughly enjoyable -- and it makes Magic, his more recent and over-rated album with the E Street Band sound like a retrograde (and over-produced) step.

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Fraser Gardyne - Feb 9, 2009

You are 100% right Graham. This CD reminds you why live performance and having a good sing along with a band makes you feel so damn alive. The Seven Worlds Collide concerts have come close for me to the same vibe of the band having as much fun as the audience.

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