This recording of the first London night is a testimony that great shows do not always make great bootlegs. This is without a doubt the worse recording I've heard from this tour. The third dud in a row. As great as the European shows has been, it hasn't translated yet into stellar bootlegs for collecting. I almost feel sorry for the taper on this one. By his own accord, he had the opportunity to tape from very close to the stage but had to hide his equipment from nearby security. I suspect hiding means somewhere on the bottom of his back pack. I've rarely heard a recording where the band is struggling this much to be heard. I can imagine that the results were very disappointing indeed after coming home from such a killer show, going through the stress of taping with the man in black watching. As always I applaud the efforts of the taper but this one really is for those who want a complete overview of the tour only.
The only reason why I've been able to listen to most of this tape is the stellar quality of the show. There were quite a few moments on this tape where I had to bang my head to the wall, trying to block out the regret of not being there. Though stadium shows do not sit well with Springsteen's core fan base, he clearly enjoys being out in the open. With some two hours and fifty minutes this London show is the longest yet and the first one that needs to be spread out over three discs. If it hadn't be for the 10.30 pm curfew, I suspect the show would have gone on for a little while longer. Springsteen was clearly enjoying himself on this one. The E-Street Band defies ages on this show. According to the Independent review, Clarence had to be wheeled on stage in a golf cart. Once the show was on fire however, Clarence was cooking, nailing his solos and keeping up with his employers feverish pace. There hardly seems to be a slowing down of pace on this show but when it does, it hits you point blank. From the bottom of the back pack the recorder captured what is probably one of the finest renditions of the song, or at least from what I can hear.
Download the full show in mp3 here
A small request, only burn mp3s for personal use, but never use a mp3 based CD in a trade. The Quality of mp3s deteriorate rapidly every time a CD is ripped. Using high quality music files such as FLACs is essential in keeping the trading pool healthy.
Recording: 1 out of 5
Show: 5 out of 5
Read the Guardian review here.
The not so ecstatic review from Uncut magazine.