Bruce Springsteen - Live In New York City Recorded: June 29 and July 1, 2000
Record Label: Columbia
In this place during the series should be a review of Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost Of Tom Joad, but instead of reviewing that, I decided to write about another live release from The Boss, this time the Live In New York City CD/DVD that was recorded during the band’s world tour on June 29 and July 1, 2000.
As celebrated as live Springsteen performances are, The Boss hasn’t officially released that much live material. Legendary among diehards are many bootlegs of concerts that live on in Springsteen lore, which is where fanatics find their favorite renditions of many songs. But when Springsteen did release live DVDs, they were done correctly. Recorded during the final two shows of a 10-night stand at Madison Square Garden during Springsteen’s first world tour with the E Street Band in over a decade, Live In New York City was the physical release that accompanied the E Street Band’s comeback and the return of Springsteen to the phenomenal output he began years and years before.
The DVD and CD versions differ somewhat, with the DVD version more focused on the HBO special airing of the documentary. Either way, all I know is that some of the best versions of Springsteen songs surfaced in this live recording. The opening three songs of “My Love Will Not Let You Down,” “Prove It All Night” and “Two Hearts” never sounded as good as they do on that recording, and may never sound that good again.
Listeners get special extended versions of “The River,” which is slowed down and drawn out into a saxophone- and piano-led ballad-type song, spanning over 11 minutes in length. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” is also extended to allow Springsteen to introduce each band member, something that has always been a staple of live E Street Band performances. “Atlantic City” and “Youngstown” (the latter off of The Ghost of Tom Joad) finally get the full-band treatment, as Live In NYC features pounding versions of these tracks. “Youngstown,” in particular, is the standout on this live disc, with Nils Lofgren executing an absolutely insane guitar solo that turns a mediocre album track into a phenomenal live jam.
“Murder Incorporated” and “Out In The Street” both have noteworthy live versions that came from this release, but another special part of Live In NYC is the first look at two songs Springsteen debuted during the tour. “Land Of Hopes And Dreams” and “American Skin (41 Shots)” are two very celebrated lyrical conquests for Springsteen, and these first renditions offered on this concert performance will forever be remembered.
Live In New York City was a momentous release for Springsteen and the E Street Band. Finally reunited after the unfortunate Lost Years of The Boss’ career, the band and Springsteen took something of a victory lap around the globe with this world tour before coming back in full force with The Rising, perhaps the most emotional of any Springsteen album.
My only real gripe with this collection is that it doesn't include the incredibly emotional performance of Blood Brothers that closed out the final show of the 10 night stand (and of the tour, if I'm not mistaken). While I've always liked the song, this version includes a special verse written specifically for the night, and really makes you marvel at how much of a family this band has become over the years. If you haven't heard that recording, it's worth tracking down.
Why didn't you review Tom Joad? Way better than Human Touch or Lucky Town, and a hell of a lot better than this.
I explained it in the stickied thread on the news page, and that record is not better than this concert at all in my opinion. My favorite song on that record is Youngstown and the live version slays the album one.