Sunday, July 27, 2008

Boot Tracker, August 21st, 22nd, 23rd, Atlanta (Mjk5510)

This recording popped up on the Dime a few days back. According to Bruce Base and the liner notes of this slightly re-mastered soundboard tape, it has been unclear for over thirty years which show this actually is. Springsteen did a three night stand in Atalanta hot on the heals of his Bottomline shows. Somewhere on that three night stand somebody was lucky enough to plug into the Soundboard and capture some of the magic. Both LP versions and CDs culled from that soundboard source have surfaced over the years, though none as complete as this one. The last CD release labeled the 21st missed "Kitty's Back," included on this release. However, a Godfather release labeled the 23rd has the exact same track listing as this tape. I must admit not owning that one, so I couldn't really tell you if its the same recording. The tracks here are re-mastered from a fourth generation tape that was labeled the 21st of August, but according to our benefactor here that doesn't solve the puzzle. Whatever the exact recording date is however, this is a mighty fine release for us fanatics.

Sound board tapes from this era are often a mixed blessing. Most of them aren't nearly as fine as the '78 radio shows in terms of sound quality. This recording is no different. I suspect that the tape has suffered from being shelved over the years and being of fourth generation doesn't really help. As such the tape sounds like a good audience tape, with a fair amount of hiss, with the audience all the way in the back. Although that allows you to enjoy the show without 'interference', to me it takes some of the exitement out. Compared to the recent Fanatic Records releases of the Bottomline audience tapes, there may be less warts, but I must admit that those are a more thrilling listen, simply because you get the audience response on that recording. Where this tape has an edge over those bootlegs however is the dialog. Springsteen's stories are actually audible this time around. So to sum it up this recording comes out as a well played record, with a few sound drops and cuts here and there. Nothing that will spoil your enjoyment, but it does make this tape one for the more hardcore collector.

Worth the admission alone on this tape is "Kitty's Back" again, with the Phantom doing taking a fine and oozing solo spot on the organ, followed by the Professor showing Van Morrison how his music should be played. Though the band was finding their own groove increasingly, those early Van the Man influences are still very apparent. The slow "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" wouldn't have felt out of place on one off Van's live albums. However, when Springsteen starts telling his grand tales, the difference in potential becomes apparent. Van never was prone to communicate with the audience the way Springsteen did and the grumpy old man (Van was an old man even in the seventies) could never have written a rock opera like "Born to Run" nor could Van ever make performing actually seem like fun the way Springsteen does here with "Twist and Shout". Springsteen left Atlanta at fever pitch after that one, not unlike he left Barcelona at in a frenzy more than thirty years down the line.

"Twist and Shout"

MP3 File

Download the full show in mp3 here
A small request, use mp3s for personal use only. Keep them in your iPod or on your computer 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: 3+ out of 5
Show: 4+ out of 5
Artwork: none

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