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Hammersmith Odeon, London '75

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
This two-disc set -- essentially the audio companion to the concert DVD that hit shelves in '05 as part of the Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition -- was recorded at the zenith of the "future of rock 'n' roll" hype that enveloped Bruce Springsteen at the midpoint of the '70s. And doggone it if the music in the grooves doesn't bear that out. Not yet ensconced as the Boss -- in England, he was pretty much an unknown quantity -- Springsteen does his best here to win over the audience by virtue of his willingness to work up a sweat a key component in the tightly-wound ten-minute take on "Rosalita" and his ability to turn a phrase the focus of a hush-inducing "Lost in the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
This two-disc set -- essentially the audio companion to the concert DVD that hit shelves in '05 as part of the Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition -- was recorded at the zenith of the "future of rock 'n' roll" hype that enveloped Bruce Springsteen at the midpoint of the '70s. And doggone it if the music in the grooves doesn't bear that out. Not yet ensconced as the Boss -- in England, he was pretty much an unknown quantity -- Springsteen does his best here to win over the audience by virtue of his willingness to work up a sweat a key component in the tightly-wound ten-minute take on "Rosalita" and his ability to turn a phrase the focus of a hush-inducing "Lost in the Flood". There are no small gestures here, not on Bruce's part and not on the part of the E Street Band, who run through their paces with an incredible blend of clockwork precision and playground mischievousness on epic versions of both "Kitty's Back" and "The E Street Shuffle." The give-and-take is nimble enough to keep listeners at the edge of their seats even after repeated listens, particularly on a set-ending salvo on which the musicians proudly reveal their bar band roots -- shimmying through their trademark "Detroit Medley" and honking woozily through "Quarter to Three." The set is sure to bring back memories for longtime Springsteen fanatics and is likely to create some for those who weren't around to experience the genesis of Brooce-mania.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 is the disc for those fans who didn't want to pony up the big money for the 30th anniversary edition of Born to Run and its two DVDs. This is the soundtrack for one of them, the Hammersmith Odeon concert, from beginning to end captured in vibrant sound. This show has been revered by tape traders and bootleggers for decades and never has it been presented better, thanks to Bob Clearmountain's fantastic mix. What makes this show so historically important is that it was the first time the band was able to travel overseas to play. They were barred from doing so in the United States because of a legal battle with Springsteen's former manager. In any case, well in advance of the gig the notorious British music weeklies began to create a pick-and-pan hype to build and topple a potential new rock messiah as they did all the time. Or, as Springsteen in his liner notes writes, ."..this week's Next...Big...Thing." The band was terrified yet geeked to play the hallowed hall. These guys were scared; it fueled the gig, and they pulled it off in spades. They have everything to prove, and plenty to stare down. Hell, the media hype almost made them the standard-bearers for the entire history of American rock, whether they wanted to be or not -- and they may not have believed it themselves, but they played like they felt the responsibility for it, overtly referencing Sam Cooke, Isaac Hayes, and even Boyce & Hart by including pieces of their tunes in Springsteen originals, showing where it all came from. And then, by using a portion of Celtic soulman Van Morrison's "Moondance" -- who was taking his own bit from David "Fathead" Newman's read of his former boss Ray Charles -- in "Kitty's Back," they reveal clearly that the Beatles, the Stones, and the Who were nowhere to be found on this night. Most of all, the E Street Band had the quivering guts and naïveté to pull it off. These guys play their asses off; it's as if tomorrow they'll die, so what the hell. The tape proves this show to be adrenaline-filled and fear-drenched. This is a mind-blowing gig. It was filmed for preservation and forgotten about until being resurrected by Springsteen. The highlights? Hell, everything here. It begins with a tenderly desperate, under-orchestrated "Thunder Road," sprints head on into a burning "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" before whispering into a free jazz intro to a dramatic, swaggering "Spirit in the Night" that oozes street-smart Jersey soul. And the train never stops; it only slows a bit for moments at a time. And it's not for the band to catch its breath; it's for the crowd, whether it's the frighteningly intense "Lost in the Flood," the shuffling country roots rock that introduces the rollicking "She's the One," or the swaggering anthem of "Born to Run," which only take listeners through a little over half of the first disc! They had the audience after "Spirit," but they were into something deeper, wilder -- check the spit and vinegar in "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City" -- so they kept pushing harder. This was a young band that musically was as good as anybody on that night. They were rehearsed, confident, and armed with a collection of songs that virtually any musician worth his or her salt would kill to have written even one of. Disc two offers no letdown. There's arguably the single most intense read of "Jungleland" on tape, and a riotously joyful version of "Rosalita" to counter the theater of darkness just visited upon the crowd in the previous song. This version of "Fourth of July, Asbury Park Sandy" is pure street urchin romance taken to the nth level. The E Streeters' read of the "Detroit Medley" is an homage to Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, whose scorching takes on Little Richard's "Jenny Take a Ride," "Devil with a Blue Dress," and "Good Golly Miss Molly" offer spiritual inspiration. They stay on full stun with "For You" and cap it all with "Quarter to Three," leaving the crowd to fall back into the night, wondering if they could believe what they'd just witnessed. Springsteen himself says the night was a blur to him and he never looked back for 30 years at the film or even listened to the show. While the soundtrack is only half the experience of the Hammersmith Odeon 1975 document, it's a worthy half and a necessary set to add to any Springsteen live shelf.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/28/2006
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 828767799520
  • Catalog Number: 77995
  • Sales rank: 5,845

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Bruce Springsteen Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Clarence Clemons Percussion, Saxophone
Roy Bittan Piano, Vocals
Danny Federici Keyboards
Garry Tallent Bass Guitar
Max Weinberg Drums
Technical Credits
Bruce Springsteen Composer, Liner Notes, Executive Producer
Barbara Carr Executive Producer
Jon Landau Executive Producer
Bob Ludwig Mastering
David Bett Art Direction
Christopher Austopchuk Art Direction
W.S. Stevenson Composer
Michelle Holme Art Direction
Thom Zimny Producer
Dave Fromberg Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Springsteen on the Edge of Superstardom

    Had this concert been released at the time it was recorded, it probably would have made the list of great 70s live albums alongside of Dylan's Before The Flood, The Band's Rock Of Ages, and Van Morrison's It's Too Late To Stop Now. Thirty-five years later, it seems to lack some of the gravity and depth of Springsteen's later live sets. Other than that, it is a very good recording of Bruce and the E Street Band just as they hit it big. They had a jazz-rock sound that no one else could match. You can hear them improvising on the long songs like Kitty's Back and Rosalita. I do note that the guitar sound was not as loud and tough as it became on later live sets. Still, Springsteen would not sound nearly this loose on a concert CD until Live in Dublin 30 years later.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Superb!

    This was recorded when he was relatively unknown - except for his cult following in the US. This is by far one of the best live performances I have ever heard. Virtually every track is outstanding. This recording captures his true essence when it comes to his concerts. The digital recording is exceptional, it is hard to believe this was recorded with analog equipment. A must buy for any E Street Band fan!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I would rate this album extraordinary

    This is by far the best live album ever What more can I say songs like tenth avenue freeze out and born to run will knock your socks off

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews