A busy evening for boot trackers like me. The Magic tour is rolling down that line on the one hand, on the other we've got Fanatic Records on a roll. I'm not sure what gets me more exited, following Magic as it evolves or tracing Rob Oslan while he and Mr Anonymous are leap frogging through Springsteen's early years. People who have been following the blog know I make it no secret that I'm a big fan of those formative years before the Darkness tour. I love hearing Springsteen come into his own on these tapes, these are the books of Genesis for us Kool Aid drinkers. Though I may be biased, I think Springsteen did some of his most thrilling and exiting work during that period. If you're not convinced, one glance at the picture shows that the audience of the Bottomline agrees with me on this. Springsteen didn't yet have that ruthless professionalism yet, this was legend in the making.
The one thing that might attract me the most is the cockiness with which Springsteen was building his own myth. Landau had already branded Springsteen as the future of R&R but his career was hanging on a thread when he played those shows in the Bottomline. Still Springsteen spun tales as if he had already made it. In the yarn during "Kitty's Back" the story of the band had already taken mythological proportions. The Cosmic Kid and the Space Man, who wouldn't get exited by imagery like that! As with the recording of the 17th, Kitty is the absolute high light of this show. Loose and funky with an oozing solo by the Phantom on the solo. The solos and Springsteen are quoting from Pop's past all over the place, constant snippets of riffs and lines you know you've heard before and Springsteen makes it sound like you're experiencing R&R for the very first time. If only for Kitty this recording would be another fine addition to your collection.
But there's more of course. Though the tape slurs a bit in the beginning and the overall sound is a bit distant and hollow the material sucks you straight in once again. From the still clunky "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" opening the set, to the raving "Quarter To Three" the band takes you on one hell of a roller coaster ride. Though the show is a mere hour and forty five minutes, you can see the sweat oozing out of your speakers, taking the audience for all that they've got. Springsteen was ready to take on the world and take it by force!
Download the full show in mp3 here.
Sound: 3+ out of 5
Show: 4+ out of 5
Artwork: 4 out of 5