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Bruce Springsteen - Live At Hammersmith Odeon Album Cover

Bruce Springsteen - Live At Hammersmith Odeon

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Bruce Springsteen - Live At Hammersmith Odeon
Release Date: November 18, 1975 (date when concert was played!)
Record Label: Columbia
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Next in the order of Bruce Springsteen's studio records should be Darkness On The Edge Of Town. Rest assured, I'm not skipping Darkness, but I am skipping three other studio albums. Instead of doing reviews for The Ghost Of Tom Joad, Human Touch and Lucky Town, I am instead reviewing three live performances - Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 (from the Born To Run 30th anniversary boxed set), Live In New York City '01 and London Calling. Since the Hammersmith Odeon concert happened in between Born to Run and Darkness, I'm just filing the review where it belongs in chronological order. The Darkness review will be up in next week's batch.

If you read the last review in this series, about Born To Run, you probably noticed that I liked that record quite a bit. I wrote that I think it's the best record of all time, so it should come as no surprise that I think Bruce Springsteen's best touring days came after the release of that album. Many people subscribe to the opinion that Springsteen and The E Street Band were even more impressive after the release of Darkness On The Edge of Town, but I don't think anything can compare to Springsteen's performance at the Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1975.

Born To Run was released the same year, and the Hammersmith Odeon concert was part of the band's first trip overseas. It was only with the release of that record that Springsteen became a true worldwide mainstream artist, but his popularity escalated quickly and the Hammersmith Odeon concert went down as the stuff of legend. A CD/DVD of the performance was released as part of the Born To Run 30th Anniversary boxed set, featuring a 16-song set that runs just over two hours. In The Boss' later stages, he and the band became known for playing three- and four-hour sets, with some of the most spectacular performances coming overseas. But it's my opinion that Live At Hammersmith Odeon is Springsteen's best performance.

The set featured six songs off of Born To Run (everything except "Night" and "Meeting Across the River"), including a phenomenal opening performance of "Thunder Road." Springsteen takes the piano and performs the track on his own, one of the most personal and intimate performances of that song, which has seen many renditions throughout the years. Springsteen followed up with "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," which got the entire band in the swing of things. It's the only live track that clocks in under four minutes, and it's followed by two older songs in "Spirit In the Night" and "Lost In The Flood," which both hit much harder as live songs than they do on-record. Springsteen's theatrics on the DVD version can't be missed, as he makes a large performance intimate by involving the crowd in the storytelling.

The rendition of "Born To Run" here is somewhat safe compared to what Springsteen does with the song nowadays, but it's preceded by the best live rendition of "She's The One." That track is where I'd recommend a first-time listener begin with this live record, as the harmonica introduction is something that Springsteen hardly ever brings into live sets anymore. Epic versions of "The E Street Shuffle" and "Kitty's Back" highlight Live At Hammersmith Odeon, with the latter chiming in at over 17 minutes.

After "Kitty's Back" is where the bulk of the concert kicks in, as none of the six songs that come after it clock in at under six minutes. The live renditions of "Jungleland," "Rosalita" and "For You" are essentials, with the fantastically catchy cover of "Detroit Medley" providing a solid change of pace.

If someone who is unfamiliar with Springsteen asked me what they should check out first, I would be tempted to place this live concert DVD ahead of Born To Run. He takes the six best songs from that album and flushes them out, with older tracks getting even better treatment. The best part of Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle is how those songs ended up taking on their own forms through live performances. There are versions of "For You" and "Lost In The Flood" from Greetings that make the album versions of those tracks seem boring - which is saying something. Springsteen has never been the highest-selling artist, even when he was perhaps at the height of his popularity with Born In The U.S.A., but since the very beginning of his career he was known as a dominant live presence. In the seven times I've personally seen him live, it's been nearly impossible to put into words what I've experienced - and the band was even better when they were younger. For diehard fans of The Boss and for complete rock'n'roll newbies alike, Live At Hammersmith Odeon is as close to required viewing as it gets.

Recommended If You LikeReally good live music.
Follow Me On Twitter@ThomasNassiff
Bare EssentialsFrom Wikipedia:
Disc One
  1. "Thunder Road" - 5:50
  2. "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" - 3:50
  3. "Spirit in the Night" - 7:35
  4. "Lost In The Flood" - 6:15
  5. "She's the One" - 5:23
  6. "Born to Run" - 4:16
  7. "The E Street Shuffle/Havin' A Party" - 12:51
    • Contains a portion of "Having A Party" by Sam Cooke
  8. "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City" - 5:27
  9. "Backstreets" - 7:22
Disc Two
  1. "Kitty's Back" - 17:14
  2. "Jungleland" - 9:35
  3. "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" - 9:51
  4. "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" - 7:03
  5. "Detroit Medley" - 7:02
  6. "For You" - 8:26
  7. "Quarter to Three/Closing Credits" - 6:44
All songs by Bruce Springsteen except as noted.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 16
02:12 PM on 05/09/11
#2
cshadows2887
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Best live performance anyone ever did ever.

And booo on skipping all his 90's records. Coward.
02:50 PM on 05/09/11
#3
Thomas Nassiff
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Best live performance anyone ever did ever.

And booo on skipping all his 90's records. Coward.
Haha Human Touch and Lucky Town - don't have anything to say about those. Might change my mind at some point though.
03:24 PM on 05/09/11
#4
bnizzle182
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Springsteen doesn't actually play the piano for Thunder Road at this show. This is one of my favorite live DVDs of all time. The performance is just amazing.
07:10 PM on 05/09/11
#5
Chris Collum
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Shame on you sir for disregarding Tom Joad and Lucky Town.
08:48 PM on 05/09/11
#6
Thomas Nassiff
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Shame on you sir for disregarding Tom Joad and Lucky Town.
I disregard the heck outta Tom Joad EVERY DAY. Haha. Lucky Town isn't that bad but I REALLY want to review those shows.
08:50 PM on 05/09/11
#7
Chris Collum
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I disregard the heck outta Tom Joad EVERY DAY. Haha. Lucky Town isn't that bad but I REALLY want to review those shows.
Your mistake; that's a great album.
12:36 AM on 05/10/11
#8
Brandon_WalshDK
Seldom right and wrong again, Steve
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Are you gonna do a review of Nebraska?
12:45 AM on 05/10/11
#9
Thomas Nassiff
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Are you gonna do a review of Nebraska?
All the studio records except those three. That's the plan for now.
01:00 AM on 05/10/11
Brandon_WalshDK
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All the studio records except those three. That's the plan for now.
Sweet. Looking forward to it!
08:20 AM on 05/11/11
Craig Manning
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1. Lucky Town and Tom Joad are both solid records with a handful of great songs on them. I think ignoring that entire period of his career is a bit of a cop out and I'd ask you to reconsider. Give those records a fresh listen and write down your reactions: they don't have to be long reviews, but I'm as interested in hearing about where you think Bruce falls short as I am about hearing where you think he makes the best albums of all time.
2. Meeting Across the River is definitely one of the best six songs on Born to Run, it just would never work randomly in a setlist. That song is one of the best penultimate tracks I've ever heard, and serves as a flawless lead in to Jungleland, but it only really works in a setlist if it's a full album show. Still, I've always found it strange how that song is cast aside as the album's weak point, when to me, it's clearly the best outside of the four corners.
10:54 AM on 05/11/11
Thomas Nassiff
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1. Lucky Town and Tom Joad are both solid records with a handful of great songs on them. I think ignoring that entire period of his career is a bit of a cop out and I'd ask you to reconsider. Give those records a fresh listen and write down your reactions: they don't have to be long reviews, but I'm as interested in hearing about where you think Bruce falls short as I am about hearing where you think he makes the best albums of all time.
2. Meeting Across the River is definitely one of the best six songs on Born to Run, it just would never work randomly in a setlist. That song is one of the best penultimate tracks I've ever heard, and serves as a flawless lead in to Jungleland, but it only really works in a setlist if it's a full album show. Still, I've always found it strange how that song is cast aside as the album's weak point, when to me, it's clearly the best outside of the four corners.
I think "She's The One" is the best outside the corners. "Meeting" isn't a bad song by any means, the fact that I think it's the weak point on that record doesn't mean much when you consider how much I love the record.
11:43 AM on 05/11/11
Craig Manning
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I think "She's The One" is the best outside the corners. "Meeting" isn't a bad song by any means, the fact that I think it's the weak point on that record doesn't mean much when you consider how much I love the record.
She's the One would be my next choice, putting side 2 a hair above side 1 for me, even though Thunder Road is my favorite song of all time. I just love the story on Meeting, and that trumpet is just brilliant.
I really do think you should at least give Lucky Town another listen. I think it's a truly underrated record that would be considered much more along the lines of Tunnel of Love than Human Touch if it hadn't been released along with the latter. Again, I think it would be silly of you to ignore a large portion of Springsteen's career, especially when Lucky Town (and probably Tom Joad, as well) are better records than his most recent one, and I trust you will be reviewing that.

Also, if you're interested, this guy did a pretty cool feature leading up to the release of Working on a Dream where he went back and gave reviews/reflections on each album in Springsteen's discography. His opinion on Lucky Town was always especially interesting to me, and was what inspired me to give that album a more fair chance. Scroll down if you're looking for that review, but they should all be there.

http://the-screen-door.blogspot.com/...max-results=20
12:01 PM on 05/11/11
Thomas Nassiff
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She's the One would be my next choice, putting side 2 a hair above side 1 for me, even though Thunder Road is my favorite song of all time. I just love the story on Meeting, and that trumpet is just brilliant.
I really do think you should at least give Lucky Town another listen. I think it's a truly underrated record that would be considered much more along the lines of Tunnel of Love than Human Touch if it hadn't been released along with the latter. Again, I think it would be silly of you to ignore a large portion of Springsteen's career, especially when Lucky Town (and probably Tom Joad, as well) are better records than his most recent one, and I trust you will be reviewing that.

Also, if you're interested, this guy did a pretty cool feature leading up to the release of Working on a Dream where he went back and gave reviews/reflections on each album in Springsteen's discography. His opinion on Lucky Town was always especially interesting to me, and was what inspired me to give that album a more fair chance. Scroll down if you're looking for that review, but they should all be there.

http://the-screen-door.blogspot.com/...max-results=20
Interesting, I'll definitely check that out. I think Magic is one of his better releases. I've always hated that he put out HT and LT on the same day. But then again he's the only artist to ever release two full length record on the same day, so that's pretty cool.
12:04 PM on 05/11/11
Thomas Nassiff
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Sounds like I need to listen to Lucky Town some more. So disappointed in myself right now haha

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