Charlottesville was made available through the Dime by Travitz at the same break neck speed as your average Magic show. A good thing because after Backstreets' slightly disappointing review I was pretty anxious to see what I would make of it myself. According to Chris Phillips the set was shorter, less inspired and messy. After the high the band had been on the past few shows it seems inevitable that there was going to be a show that wasn't quite Magic. Springsteen had been mixing it up quite a bit as of late, with entire set lists going out the window at nights. While that is bound to give you some exiting shows, there's always the risk that the band doesn't keep up or that a performer looses track of himself. I have to hand it to Phillips, I can see where his analysis is coming from. It takes a while for Max to pick up on the audible "No Surrender" during the opening set and as a consequence the band doesn't quite recover for the rest of the evening it seems. When your shows have been as tight as the Magic shows have been there's little room for mistakes. But to be fair, a slightly sloppy Springsteen show is still much better than your average R&R band. Charlottesville still got the greatest bar band of the land and I doubt that the few mistakes and somewhat odd pickings did much to damper the spirits in the John Paul Jones Arena.
"Promised Land" has been moved back considerably in the set and seems to work well in that slot. As a major classic it sets the mood instantly. Unfortunately "Magic" does little to keep that energy level up, what the Charlottesville show is missing seems obvious to me, a "Reason To Believe". I fail to understand why that song has been cut from the set. If "Promised Land" would have crashed into that song the evening might have looked much different. But lets be clear, these are gripes of those who do multiple shows or listen to too many bootlegs. I can imagine that if this would have been the only Magic show I would have seen (or heard) I would have left the building on a high. Springsteen shows are inclusive happenings, this evening was no different. The Boss allows you into his world a little while he shares an equally moving as funny story on Danny, allows his audience to grieve and reminisce with him. Few artists offer that and that does much to make up for a few glitches in the show.
From "Adam Raised A Cain" on all is well with the show, the pacing, the song choices make for a highly energized and varied set filled with blistering solos and soulful wailing. Especially on the recently rediscovered "Mary's Place". After the Rising tour Mary had worn out her welcome a little due to the lengthy band intros that would stretch the performance to the twenty minute marker. Charlottesville however welcomed her back with open arms. The beauty of this recording is in audience participation numbers such as this one. Travitz did a marvelous job of catching the vibe of the audience without any of them becoming intrusive. There's a slight echo to the tape, but overall it is a very fine listen indeed. No essential show by any means, but that isn't due to the taper. Anybody who was there will thoroughly enjoy this recording. And honestly can you really complain about a show that has a near perfect "Jungleland" in the encores.
Download the full show here
Sound: 3,5 out of 5
Show: 3,5 out of 5
The Daily Progress review.
There was a different source of Charlottesville. This is an upgrade from the show I reviewed earlier on. With thanks to the BTX mps Index I'm able to give you the links to that upgrade in mp3 format, Disc 1 and Disc 2.