St. Louis is without a doubt contender for best show of the tour. It is both representative for the Magic tour's earlier and the later legs. Where quite a few shows of the last two legs were awfully short on Magic material, St Louis featured six songs from that album embedded in the structure of the later legs, filled with rarities from his own catalog and some price covers. Counting the "Not Fade Away" intro to "She's the One," the show held a whopping six nuggets from R&R's rich past. Albeit that the intro was more of a tease, a reminder of the '78 intros to the song, than a full blown recreation of it. With a near perfect "Then She Kissed Me" as the opener and "Little Queenie" rousing up the encores it are the covers that give this show its edge. Though Springsteen seems to have taken great pain to give every fan what he or she wants by including choice cuts like "For You" and "Drive all Night," cemented by later leg staples as "Mary's Place."
I have great difficulty of making sense of these add on dates. The great thing about them is that he managed to keep an element of surprise for the last three legs of the tour. Ever since Anaheim, which seems like an eternity ago, Springsteen has been throwing curve balls all over the place. The Magic tour started out as very much set in stone with quite immobile sets for the Boss, but morphed into one of the diverse tours he ever did. These last few shows especially the Jack seems to be out of the box. In a way Springsteen has been looking back, showing how versatile his catalog has been. This could be interpreted as a farewell tour filled with one last time moments. If so the E- Street Band is going out with a bang. Should Springsteen decide to let the band bid its final farewell it would be totally understandable in the light of events that marred the Magic project. After loosing Terry Magovern July last year, Springsteen and the Band lost one of their founding members with Danny Federici in April this year. Even though Charles Giordano is doing an excellent job filling in, Danny's passing must have been confronting in the sense that it made tangible the finite aspect of the band. The E-Street Band have always been a mythical yet very real band of brothers, so Danny's passing was a tremendous blow to the band.
Yet the way the band has adapted to that loss by playing with a youthfulness that is so astounding that it almost seems unreal from time to time, this current leg doesn't feel like it could be the end. Where a band like the Stones come off like geriatric rock, held afloat by pompous shows, relying on nostalgia only, the Magic tour has given us an E-Street Band that was at the same time fresh and relevant by supporting a new album and reinterpreting old material while giving us our bitter sweet tours down memory lane. If the band is stepping out after this tour, it is leaving us with a sense of great possibility of the future, making them possibly the first band that has been around for as long as they have to do so. Springsteen warned us at the start of the tour that the band was as good, or better, as it ever was. A show like St. Louis serves to prove his point. Bakerstuff capture the Band's triumph nicely on tape. A bit muddy and bass heavy and, though not nearly the best bootleg of the tour, a highly enjoyable listen.
"Mountain of Love"
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
Read the review from the St. Louis Dispatch here