Live in Dublin (2007)


Disc One 1. Atlantic City 2. Old Dan Tucker 3. Eyes on the Prize 4. Jesse James 5. Further On (Up the Road) 6. O Mary Don't You Weep 7. Erie Canal 8. If I Should Fall Behind 9. My Oklahoma Home 10.Highway Patrolman 11.Mrs.McGrath 12.How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live 13.Jacob's Ladder Disc Two 1. Long Time Comin' 2. Open All Night 3. Pay Me My Money Down 4. Growin' Up 5. When the Saints Go Marching In 6. This Little Light of Mine 7. American Land 8. Blinded by the Light 9. Love of the Common People 10.We Shall Overcome

 

After the surprise and the welcome response to We Shall Overcome: The Pete Seeger Sessions, it was no surprise, and also welcome news, that Springsteen was going to take this concoction on the road and replicate this spontaneous joy in front of audiences all over the world. It also was no surprise that Springsteen released a DVD/CD release of one of the shows a year after the tour concluded.

Any live album by Springsteen deserves to be widely welcomed considering his professionalism and the fact that he always delivers far better than most, if not all, of his peers. Of all of his live releases, however, this is the one that is by no means sub-par, but to some degree unnecessary.

Part of the appeal of We Shall Overcome: The Pete Seeger Sessions was the fact that it was recorded spontaneously - no rehearsals, no practicing, just professional musicians taking a stab at classic Americana on cue. You could, therefore, make the argument that the studio album was, to some extent, "live". So in this case, you could almost argue that in many ways this album is a carbon copy. Yes, there's an actual audience here, and there quite a vocal one. Many times Springsteen lets the crowd belt out verses and choruses, but again, nice but not really necessary. Some of the songs have been mildly improved, such as the arrangements on My Oklahoma Home, but there's not that much difference here.

To "add" to the setlist, Springsteen incorporates many of his own songs from his past, yet rearranges them to fit the style of this album. Sadly, in most cases it doesn't work. Maybe it's the purist in me, but I really don't care for the versions of Atlantic City or Blinded by the Light that are presented here. Other songs are downright awful (I'm sorry, but I can't stand Patty Scialfa's singing). She does so, a lot, on If I Should Fall Behind. It even sounds worse than the version on Live in New York City. How many ways can you screw up a great song? None of these are as bad as Further On (Up the Road), the arrangments on that great song are downright awful. The one exception, surprisingly, is another Nebraska song Open All Night. As a matter of fact, this song is probably the best thing on here. It opens up a strong series of songs shortly after the beginning of the second disc that stands out as the best run of music overall. It should be noted that the version here is not bare bones acoustic at all.

What really kills the album is the same thing that killed the studio album, and that is he zapps the energy out of the crowd by playing some slower, thoughtful, protest-like songs. Well. I guess you can't take some things out of Springsteen. At least everyone had a great time.

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