30 Songs, 2 Hours 28 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bruce Springsteen’s legacy didn’t need much burnishing, but his recent Raconteur Phase—starting with his 2016 memoir, Born to Run, and capped by his one-man show on Broadway, now entering its second year—offers a self-awareness that no star of his stature has ever even attempted. This companion piece to the Netflix special documenting his extremely sold-out run isn’t merely the collection of solo acoustic versions the tracklist may indicate; the songs themselves serve largely as illustrative examples punctuating long, eloquent recollections of his life and career over two and a half hours. (Intermission is whenever you hit pause.)

Stalwarts like “The Promised Land,” “Thunder Road,” and “The Rising” are as stirring stripped down as you’d imagine, but the performances themselves often feel secondary to their narrative framing. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” is an extended tribute to his friendship with late saxophonist and foil Clarence Clemons; the haunting, nearly a cappella “Born in the U.S.A.” that follows a story about meeting Born on the Fourth of July author Ron Kovic in the ’70s should end whatever remaining jingoistic misinterpretations of the song still remain. But the tracks connect beyond all belonging to one of contemporary music’s most vaunted discographies. How does a man who made his name and fortune desperately pleading to flee his death-trap/suicide-rap hometown reconcile living happily now in that same place? This poetic irony isn’t lost on him, and the journey makes for a good yarn.

That Springsteen is a masterful storyteller with superhuman command of a small theater audience isn’t a surprise. That he recalls his life so crisply and entertainingly, weaving it in and out of the context of songs well-known and a bit less well-known—and that this energy carries over so palpably to an audio recording of a film of an intimate live performance—might be. It is dramatic, it is theatrical, it earns and transcends the venue. He pokes fun at his own image and culturally ingrained iconography—at age 21, he’d never driven a car despite being on the verge of writing “Racing in the Street”—and somehow makes his tales of yearning feel universal despite being very much about his singular career and experience. But that’s the skill that got him here to begin with.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bruce Springsteen’s legacy didn’t need much burnishing, but his recent Raconteur Phase—starting with his 2016 memoir, Born to Run, and capped by his one-man show on Broadway, now entering its second year—offers a self-awareness that no star of his stature has ever even attempted. This companion piece to the Netflix special documenting his extremely sold-out run isn’t merely the collection of solo acoustic versions the tracklist may indicate; the songs themselves serve largely as illustrative examples punctuating long, eloquent recollections of his life and career over two and a half hours. (Intermission is whenever you hit pause.)

Stalwarts like “The Promised Land,” “Thunder Road,” and “The Rising” are as stirring stripped down as you’d imagine, but the performances themselves often feel secondary to their narrative framing. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” is an extended tribute to his friendship with late saxophonist and foil Clarence Clemons; the haunting, nearly a cappella “Born in the U.S.A.” that follows a story about meeting Born on the Fourth of July author Ron Kovic in the ’70s should end whatever remaining jingoistic misinterpretations of the song still remain. But the tracks connect beyond all belonging to one of contemporary music’s most vaunted discographies. How does a man who made his name and fortune desperately pleading to flee his death-trap/suicide-rap hometown reconcile living happily now in that same place? This poetic irony isn’t lost on him, and the journey makes for a good yarn.

That Springsteen is a masterful storyteller with superhuman command of a small theater audience isn’t a surprise. That he recalls his life so crisply and entertainingly, weaving it in and out of the context of songs well-known and a bit less well-known—and that this energy carries over so palpably to an audio recording of a film of an intimate live performance—might be. It is dramatic, it is theatrical, it earns and transcends the venue. He pokes fun at his own image and culturally ingrained iconography—at age 21, he’d never driven a car despite being on the verge of writing “Racing in the Street”—and somehow makes his tales of yearning feel universal despite being very much about his singular career and experience. But that’s the skill that got him here to begin with.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
98 Ratings
98 Ratings
jacksoncage19 ,

GOAT!!!

Somehow he manages to top himself continually. This show is beyond any adequate words to describe or review. Phenomenal. Historic. Mesmerizing. Hilarious. Emotional. Deeply Personal. The album and Netflix performance is mandatory for "anyone alive out there".

Electric Skydog ,

Capturing a Style

A great presentation of songs capturing a time in American music that will be honored for many years. Every now and then a great musical genius comes along who can put word and music together. Yes once again the times they are a changin - Dylan

Cpc123 ,

Love the show!!

Wow, I’m shocked by the several negative reviews on here. I was fortunate enough to see the Broadway show twice, and it was an absolutely incredible experience. Bruce’s storytelling, musicianship, and ability to quickly form an intensely personal connection with an audience is second to none.

While I will always enjoy The E Street Band, it is important to approach Bruce On Broadway for what it is. It’s a very special evening in which Bruce shares everything on stage, in the most intimate of settings - the sadness, betrayal, unadulterated joy, happiness, regret, and dreams that life has to offer. Everybody can relate to the stories expressed throughout performance.

It’s not the typical 4 hour rock n’ roll show that has previously defined the live Springsteen experience. And that’s perfectly okay.

One more note: unlike many of Bruce’s past live concerts, the Broadway show is largely visual. You will *not* get the same effect from merely listening, without watching as well. Whereas one can listen to Live 75/85 or Live in NYC and ‘get it’, the visual aspect is definitely needed with Broadway. Therefore, I recommend everybody watch the Netflix special, and make their final judgements afterwards.

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