Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A huge additional bonus to the second DVD is an hour's worth of studio/home and live footage from the Darkness era, just a little taste of what's inside the Springsteen vault. Save My Love and Candy's Boy were rehearsed at Bruce's Holmdel home in '76, during the time when they weren't allowed to record in the studio yet. Back then, he donned a hilarious Afro hairstyle. We also get to see Stevie without his bandanna, one of the very rare occasions.

The studio stuff consists of
Don't Look Back (which could've been on Darkness) and a short clip of Ain't Good Enough For You. The Promise was filmed in one uninterrupted take, with the camera moving and focusing on individual band members. Again, there's a slight variation in lyrics from the final version, but still a superb take, especially when Bruce belts out the Thunder Road parts. And then we see Bruce doing a bare-bones Candy's Room on the piano; it sounds really good. How the hell did he come up with such a cool chord progression?

Now the live stuff -- Let's start with the only video from '76 (Chicken Scratch tour). A stripped down
Something In The Night was performed in Red Bank with just piano and organ, which is REALLY something to watch. In its own way it holds up as well as the full version. And then there's the famous Phoenix footage from the '78 tour, which has previously circulated before and widely regarded the holy grail of Darkness live videos (together with Passaic and Largo). It's a pity that whole show wasn't filmed, or else it would've seen the light of day on this box set. But here, we see constant flashes of brilliance by Bruce and the E Street Band. The energy and dedication to the songs were unparalleled. Even a non-fan will be blown away by the performances; Badlands, The Promised Land, Born To Run.

The long intro to
Prove It All Night reveals how great a guitarist Bruce is. Very very underrated. He's not so much of a technical player, but he's able to weave a sort of emotional and soulful thread with his solos. 5/5