The original source of this release by EV2 comes from Fanatic records as part of the mister anonymous project. In his notes EV2 mentions that he will not be doing many more re-masters of Fanatic releases, if any. Since the Fanatic releases have been very decent, some even superb, I can understand why. There isn't a whole lot to win in sound quality to win on most of them. Still, every bit of clarity won from early Springsteen shows is a victory. I've mentioned earlier that I'm a big fan of this period in Springsteen's career, the period from the start of the recording sessions of "Born To Run" to the start of the "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" tour. Springsteen was evolving as an artist fast in this period and I love tracing that process. They were among some of the shortest shows the E-Street Band ever played, but there are many pearls to be found.
This double punch re-lease, two shows in one package with one set of artwork for both, dispel a few myths surrounding the current Magic tour. I already mentioned the length of the shows. The four discs together clock in under four hours and that's including the bonus tracks that weren't part of the show. Another thing you'll notice hearing them together, back to back, is how incredibly static the set list was over those two nights. November 2nd got two songs extra over the night after, "The Promise" and "raise Your Hand", but other than that they are identical. But just as I didn't mind seeing three nearly identical Magic shows in a row in Europe, I would have killed to be able to see these two nights in a row in '76. Unfortunately I was still playing with my Duplo Lego back then. I wonder though how the message board discussions would have been at the time if there had been an Internet, would the fans doing multiple shows back then have complained?
Still as I said, set lists are of little importance, it is all about the show you are watching. Judging from this double punch they were very good shows indeed. Not legendary shows, but every tour only has a few of those. Magic recently had Anaheim, this tour had a few of them as well, but these aren't it. The sound on both nights is pretty consistent, though both recordings seem to pick up in sound quality when the show progresses. There's a lot of echo in the tapes and some hiss on at the beginning of both recordings, which makes Bruce's mumbling during "It's My Life" hard to follow at times. By the time the tapes hit "Growing Up" Bruce sounds as clear as a bell . Which is good, because those two versions are classic Springsteen both. But overall these recordings are very nice to listen to, a little muddy at some points in the tape, but nothing real bad. But what else would you expect from an EV2 release. I'd say that this release is definitely one for anybody with a weak spot for the '76 shows and the more serious collector. Not as essential for '76 fans as the October 30th show at the Palladium I reviewed earlier but still fine additions to your collection.
"The Promise" from November 2nd
"Something In The Night" from November 3rd
Download the EV2 double punch in mp3 here!
Download the artwork here.
Sound: 3,5 out of 5
Show: 4 out of 5
Artwork: 4 out of 5