Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

21Nov/1025

Enjoy The Darkness

Now that I've had almost a week to soak up selected contents (I still don't have my copy yet) from the new Springsteen box set, I'm very happy to say that this set was more than worth the wait.  This past weekend, we had a really nice time at The Winchester with Springsteen author Lawrence Kirsch in town with his buddy, Springsteen fan photographer Rocco Coviello.  I spent a good solid 4 1/2 hours on Friday night with Lawrence and Rocco at Zocalo, nerding out about a ton of different bands and artists (not just Springsteen!).

Saturday night, we convened for our scheduled get-together at The Winchester where we dove into the contents of the box set, viewing the "house cut" of Houston '78 on the big screen for the first time*.

(* = I cheated a little bit by watching the Houston show on Tuesday night with John "Radio" Hannibal on his beautiful 55" Sony television amidst a stormy night in Cleveland.)

For me, the Houston show is the jewel of the set, a true treasure to watch - three hours of live Bruce from the fabled 1978 touring cycle in quality that's better than good with a performance that is truly great.  When considering the "legendary" shows like the Agora show, the Houston show is noticably different with very little storytelling, but the actual performances are just as golden as any of the classic shows that one might think of.  Ain't it great to have an officially released version of the "long" version of "Prove It All Night?"  The Houston set also has typically great versions of "Backstreets," "Jungleland" and the nice one-two of "Racing In The Streets" and "Thunder Road."

Curiously, there's a "firecracker" speech of sorts at the halfway point of the show, nearly a month before the "Firecracker Show" here in Cleveland that happened on New Year's Eve and the moment really caught me off guard.  I asked Lawrence Kirsch if he had recollection of Bruce giving similar speeches at other points in the tour and he couldn't recall seeing anything similar at any of the shows that he had attended.  So for anybody that might have been in attendance for that Houston show, what gives?

The Houston performance was fun for me to watch, having heard so many bootlegs from the '78 tour, I was able to see for the first time, the on-stage mannerisms and interplay that are absent from the audio-only experience of bootlegs.  Sure there have been other shows circulated on video from this same tour and I've watched bits and pieces of them, but what a great surprise to receive a full unedited show from '78 in such great quality!

The Huffington Post goes in-depth regarding all of the DVD content with this post and Bruce friend Anne Haines summarizes the Houston show really well by pointing out that "not just the famous Darkness shows were epic."  Anne's point really resonates when watching the Houston gig.

It's hard to imagine that anybody will find fault with this new box set (although I've heard some gripes about the 2009 runthrough of Darkness from the Paramount) as there is something  for everyone to enjoy.  It's been a lot of fun watching the reaction of fellow Bruce fans when they see the notebook from the box set which ranks as quite possibly the coolest inclusion in a box set ever.  Who will top it with a future box set release?  Game on.

Thanks to all that came out to The Winchester this weekend - it was a great time!

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