PictureRecorded during late evening the picture here could easily have been problematic. A very dark stage combined with dazzlingly bright fanning spotlights, and with this being a live show, I was half expecting to see large amounts of noise in the image. But Sony has released a very nicely put together DVD. Any noise I did see was minor - overall the picture is sharp and detailed. Of course this is a double-edged sword - Bruce Springsteen and the members of his E Street Band aren't getting any younger and the clarity on show here means we get to see every age line, every hair from that slightly thinning thatch and every drop of perspiration as the Boss struts his stuff during a two and a half hour high intensity performance. I, for one, wouldn't want it any other way!
SoundTake your pick from Dolby Digital 5.1 and analogue PCM tracks. The default audio setting is for “Linear PCM”, but the DD 448Kbps track is the better option in my opinion, opening out the soundstage and allowing the music to “breath”, with the utilization of the rear speakers, especially, helping to perfectly portray that live experience. And what a live experience it is! Again, Sony has done the business. As soon as the first track began I knew I was in for a sonic treat. The rear channels are immediately used to great effect, helping to fully surround you with the crowd's eager cheering as the Boss and his band enter centre stage one by one.
There are some great songs in this live show. First off, for me, was the track Empty Sky - simple, haunting and performed with true professionalism by the whole band. As I listened I closed my eyes and my throat began to constrict as the lyrics took me back to 11th September 2001, and the awful tragedy to which this song refers. There were times that I was very impressed with the quality of audio separation - the jingle of the tambourine simply hangs in space, sounding completely free, as though not actually coming from any of my speakers. There are many other high points in this one track - vocal harmonization, guitar solo and harmonica playing, to name a few. But in the end it was the completeness, the professionalism, which really impressed me.
You're Missing, a track with some real low-level bass, quickly followed. It was here that I realised that Bruce Springsteen is nothing if not supremely confident as a performer.
By contrast the next song, Waiting On A Sunny Day, is a real rock 'n' roll foot-stomper! And so goes the whole show - one moment haunting and tender, the next moment loud and rocking with the gravel-voiced Boss. Truly uplifting stuff.
ExtrasThere is a “bonus” documentary titled Drop The Needle And Pray: The Rising On Tour. It's around eight minutes long and includes insight from the Boss himself as well as interviews with E-Street band members. There are a few interesting nuggets here, but it could be a little longer.
If you want to see more of Mr. Springsteen make sure you keep watching to the end of the credits, when you will be treated to film footage of the band arriving for a live show in, I would guess from the title, Fenway, U.S.A.
VerdictThere is something here for everyone. As far as the live show itself is concerned I have only positive things to say - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band are the epitome of professionalism. Each band member is both confident in their abilities and enjoys strutting their stuff. I can find nothing negative to write about this DVD. Well okay, if I must! The drummer, Max Weinberg, looks a little too much like Michael Douglas and it kept making me chuckle. But that's just me, and if anything, it made the experience of watching this music DVD even more enjoyable.
The extras are a little short, and the proverb “Always leave 'em wanting more”, comes to mind, but at least Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band do not live by this adage. I don't see how their concert could be bettered.
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