The Tampa recording found its way to the Internet lightening fast. Usually that is not a good sign. It means that the recording got a quick edit and was simply thrown out there. The quickies are not rarely mediocre recordings. Tampa is an exception to that rule. For a raw audience recording the sound is superb. A nice mix between the audience and the band, with the band coming out especially good. The recording performs consistently well on both the highs and lows, with excellent instrument separation. With a little tinkering this tape could be one of the best of the tour. The angels were looking favorably on the taper this momentous evening in E-Street history. Momentous for lack of better words, I'm struggling to describe this evening. How do you rate a show in which a band says adieu to one of its key and founding members. Should I even want to, what could I could I possibly add in words to the band's tasteful tribute.
You've got to hand it to the man, the Boss' got class, he's got style. After a video tribute with the band, sans Charlie on stage, they tore into an especially fine performance of "Backstreet". A lonely light shining on an empty organ stool, Charlie was asked to wait behind the curtain. This gesture emphasized the hole the Phantom's passing tore into the band. Springsteen's vocals are crystal clear on this recording, you can hear every broken note, every swallowed tear. This clearly is the most emotional night in his career. With Giordano on stage the band ripped into "Radio Nowhere" with resilience, making clear that this tragedy isn't going to stop them dead in their tracks. Quite a few moments in this show though get an extra emotional dimension. "No Surrender" especially seems all the more meaningful this night, this band isn't going to let itself beat down easily. "We better get this one right, there's somebody watching" Springsteen tells the crowd before he meet up with Sandy in Asbury Park once more, the place where it all began, Danny's signature song. If he was watching I'm sure he was smiling. In "Growing Up" the Boss and the Phantom meet for the last time in a one time revival of the mid song story, looking down from the hills of Flemington NJ, looking back at their journey together.
The looking back didn't dominate the evening however. Springsteen and the band seemed more determined to honor the Phantom by passing on. "Maybe everything that dies someday comes back" from "Atlantic City" sums it all up, the E-Street Band may have died, in Tampa they were back in full force, chronicled on this fine tape. Max's drums are full of thunderous force, Roy delivers one lush line after another, the guitars pierce the night and Clarence sax solos fill the arena with renewed life. This is one of those shows where everything seems a high light. Patti was present to bid her farewells as well this evening, so there was an especially nice performance of "Brilliant Disguise". For all the criticism Patti gets from fans, on songs like this their harmony sounds like a match made in heaven. The following "Racing In The Street" proves that Charlie is going to give it his all to be worthy of following in Danny's shoes, featuring an especially moving solo by Roy. One of the better versions ever performed of the song. The encores opened with a well chosen "I'll Fly Away". The arrangement is upbeat, mournful and celebrating at the same time. Exactly what this recording feels like, a celebration of a great man, a celebration of his life and achievements. A more than worthy goodbye.
Download the show in mp3 here
Sound: 4,5 out of 5
Show: Off the chart
A review from Tampa Calling.
The review from Tampa Bay Online.
The review from TampaBay.com.
The already excellent Tampa recording I reviewed here was recently upgraded by Ev2. This version is the one you want to go for. Thanks again for the team at BTX for the links.
Download disc 1 here
Download disc 2 here