Usually Ev2 releases are very good news. I've come across few Ev2 recordings that disappoint me. Quite a few of them I rank amongst the best Springsteen bootlegs out there. Unfortunately this Helsinki bootleg testifies that even Ev2 can have releases that do not quite live up to my expectations. To be fair, Ev2 set the bar high for himself and Helsinki is still a pretty decent tape and a very enjoyable listen, just with a few more glitches than I hoped. There's quite a bit of distance in the sound and the recording is marred by a strange swirl, with a few drops throughout the recording. Part of this is probably caused by the way it was recorded. As I understand it the taper, Drunkenmaster, used the internal microphones on his Zoom digital recorder. Those internals work well enough with acoustic shows, but electric shows like these simply need more refined recording equipment.
Still, this release does a very decent job of capturing a fun show. The electric debut of "Youngstown" would be worth the price of admission alone. But to top it off there's the romantic double punch of Sandy and "I'll Work For Your Love" and the R&R rave up pairing of "Summertime Blues" and "Sherry Darling". "Mary's Place" is re-claiming its spot as the show piece, slowly expanding with a bit of that preacher shtick, but still about eight minutes shorter as during the Rising tour. By including songs as varied as "Pointblank" and "Born in the USA," contrasting hidden gems with 'overplayed' stadium monsters, the subtle with the blatant, Springsteen manages to give a career overview few greatest hits CDs could do over the course of the evening. Helsinki will also go down in history as the show where Springsteen threw his oddest curve ball yet, near old saint Nick's home, Santa came to town in mid July. Breaking the record for earliest occurrence held by the September '78 appearance. Another triumph the '78 tour cannot take away from this magical 2008 tour.
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town"
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: 5 out of 5
Artwork: 4 out of 5