Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boot Tracker, June 22nd 2003, Gothenburg

With the last Gothenburg show still fresh in mind, I figured I'd revisit one of my favorite bootlegs for a moment. This superbly sounding Crystal Cat Gothenburg Midsummer Night, in my mind might be a top ten recording of a Springsteen show. To me recordings like these are proof that Springsteen can still wow a crowd like he could in his hey-day. One of the things that struck me about the Rising tour is how well his new material worked with the classic songs. Listen to the opening "Promised Land" here, followed by "the Rising" and you'll see what I mean. The material of Magic always had more difficulty finding its groove within the set. The audiences didn't respond with quite the same enthusiasm to a "Living in the Future" as they did to a "Mary's Place". Maybe the the subtlety of the Magic material is debit to that, the Rising album featured quite a few more easily accessible 'show' tunes than Springsteen's latest release. I suspect that could be one of the reasons why Gothenburg in 2003 got a whopping eight tunes from the new album while in 2008 they got a mere four in the same stage of the tour.

What still remains though, is the city of Gothenburg consistently getting some of the better shows of the tour. You could say that its the Philly of Europe. The response to Springsteen over there seems beyond manic from time to time, a true fanatic's paradise. This often translates in sets filled with rare gems and inspired performances of set staples. On this particular midsummer night the Ullevi Stadium got treated on "Jackson Cage", "My Love Will Not Let You Down" and a chilling version of "Racing in the Street". Though in this instance it is not the rarities that make this recording a gem, it is the staple that make this recording tick. In a whopping nineteen minutes the Band delivers a "Mary's Place" that stands as the penultimate of the tour, a house party indeed. I still enjoy hearing the Boss working that huge stadium crowd every time I hear this version, I must admit that has yet to tire me. But I may be an exception in that. The absolute high light of this bootleg is "Ramrod". The song had been played to death during the Reunion and the Rising tour, yet on this night it found its definitive version in my mind. Roy Bittan delivers a rollicking boogie solo that trumps all other versions the Boss did in his career. Not to mention the crowd on "Hungry Heart" that makes you wish you could have been there.

These days it seems every fan has the moment pin pointed where Springsteen peaked in his career. '78 seems to be the time in his career where most fans agree upon, though the River tour has quite its following as well. Though I have tours that carry a special place in my collection, like the 1975 shows, I have never been able to determine for myself which tour is the penultimate Springsteen tour. That's because of recordings such as this, where it seems as if the Boss will never truly slow down. I find this Midsummer Gothenburg Night as satisfying as other legendary recordings as the '78 Winterland show or those legendary recordings from the 1984 Philly stand. While the jury is still out on the best recording from the Magic tour, in my mind this is the one to get from the Rising tour. Turn it up!


MP3 File

Download the full show in mp3, discs one and two, disc three
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: 5 out of 5
Show: Off the charts
Artwork: 3,5 out of 5


Mattias said...

I have to agree. This performance is amazing and the sound is very very good. Easily the best Boss bootleg I have.

Anonymous said...

Snarky vocabulary criticism: "penultimate" means "next to last". "Penultimate" does not mean "best". Otherwise, love the site.

Anonymous said...


Pronunciation: \pi-ˈnəl-tə-mət\
Function: adjective
Date: 1677
1 : next to the last
2 : of or relating to a penult — pen·ul·ti·mate·ly adverb

SoulBoogieAlex said...

Believe it or not, snarky comments like these are appreciated. English is not my first tongue, so I don't mind being corrected ;-)

Anonymous said...

A huge fan of this blog which I check every day right after Backstreets for the newest setlists. I own just a few bootlegs because I am a stickler for sound quality, but love your commentary and critiques. This show is my favorite bootleg so it's great you highlighted it.

Alicia said...

Awesome, can't wait to hear this!

Mission Man said...

Once again I agree with you completely, Alex -- this was a great show and boot! IMHO, the best boot of all the Rising stadium shows....