Customer Reviews: Bruce Springsteen - The Complete Video Anthology, 1978-2000
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on January 18, 2001
I'll admit to being an avid Bruuuuce fan. I own every disc he's put out (and a few he hasn't), and seen him a number of times in concert (including his last, phenomenal tour). Though I've said that, I've never owned, nor have I ever watched the original VHS version of his Anthology. Well, now that it's on DVD, that has changed.
First things first... The track "If I Should Fall Behind" is worth the price of the two discs! It's not concert footage, but is the Jonathan Demme video recorded during a soundcheck (?) during the last tour. It's the version with Bruce sharing vocals with his band members, evoking his feelings of friendship for his long-time mates. It was a phenomenal moment during his encores, and it's an equally great moment on this anthology. It's fun to watch everyone's expression as their passing off the mike and singing.
Other highlights are the live versions of "Leap of Faith", "Spare Parts", "Fire", and "Thunder Road". All the videos are here, along with some alternate takes (these are tracks that you can pick up on a number of audio CD's), so everyone has the opportunity to find their own personal favorites.
All in all, a great set. Now let's all hope that a live disc from his last tour comes out!
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on January 16, 2001
I just saw both discs of the Anthology, and I am impressed!Disc 1 is the Anthology as we KNEW it. Dolby 5.1 mix or PCM Surround makes the viewing new again. Disc 2 is remarkable. From the familiar Human Touch and Better Days to the "get up and dance" Mdr. Inc. Dead Man Walking and Ghost of Tom Joad and then If I Should Fall Behind from the N.Y. MSG concerts.. bruce fans will get teary eyed.All in all,fabulous! MSG DVDS maybe this Spring----ENJOY
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on January 26, 2001
Anyone ever notice how Bruce's characters travel through his songs and show up over time in strategic places? For instance, Mary shows up in "Thunder Road" and then in "The River" and finally in "Straight Time" from "Ghost." What a journey from youthful idealism to reality crash to acceptance of the hard ways of the world. And I think that free and innocent guy from "Born to Run" wound up with nowehere left to run on "Born in the USA" and then found a sense of peace on "Better Days." But maybe that's just me. Anyway, this is a stunning collection: part inspiring, part touching, part hard nose storytelling. The DVD format is fantastic. I got a state of the art home theatre system and this thing sounded great. I liked the newer clips as well as the old ones. My favorites: "57 Channels" for the humor(and the only time I've seen Bruce play bass) "Secret Garden" for the depiction of REAL women which is rare in videos "If I Should Fall Behind" who knew all those guys could sing so beautifully! well, I already knew from their solo records but it was nice to be reminded..."The River" at that point was brand new..could you imagine hearing that thing before it was released? "Leap of Faith"-this one really captures the spirit of the live shows "Glory Days"-in a bar no less....I guess these guys have always really just aspired to be a great bar band...somehow they became something more... The only problem I have is that there are not more extensive liner notes..... Also, did anyone notice that new song at the end; it plays over the credits. If that's Bruce singing, it sounds unlike anything I've ever heard from him. It's probably called something like "Lift Me Up" is's just proof that his career continues(which is lucky for us) and he continues to sing a new song....Thanks, Bruce.....
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on April 4, 2002
This collection of music videos shows Springsteen's sometimes love/hate relationship with the music video format. He obviously recognized their value but never quite seemed comfortable in front of the camera. Not surprisingly, the best videos here are the live performance clips, although some of the conceptual pieces are impressive.
Here's a breakdown of some of the highlights (and lowlights):
Disc Two:
"Human Touch": The first video of the post-E-Street-Band era, this comes from the same director responsible for "Tunnel of Love" and "One Step Up" and shows the same basic approach. The pictures are pretty but the formula was starting to get a little repetitive by this point.
"Better Days": One of Bruce's least known videos, it breaks away from the "Tunnel of Love" formula, even though its from the same director, featuring a live-in-the-studio performance of the song, interspersed with Bruce clowning with his new band and his kids (someone's kids anyway). The ragged, uneven end to the song is oddly endearing.
"57 Channels (And Nothing On)": I had never even heard of this video before getting this DVD. It's as close as Bruce ever got to the too-literal "match the image to the lyric" school of video. Probably the least interesting pure-conceptual video Bruce has done.
"Leap of Faith": Another video from the same director as the live "Tougher Than The Rest" clip and it shows the same basic approach, mixing in footage from other songs and even other concerts. The performance is energetic enough but the formulaic approach and the lack of the E-Street Band's chemistry undercut the video somewhat.
"Streets of Philadelphia": The video for Bruce's Oscar and Emmy-winning song from the Jonathan Demme movie. Similar in some respects to "My Brilliant Disguise", combining the studio instrumental track with a new live vocal track by Bruce recorded as his walks the aforementioned streets. Clever editing lets Bruce exchange meaningful glances with Tom Hank's character from the movie.
"Murder Incorporated": A live version of the legendary "lost" Springsteen song (It was to be the title track of the album Springsteen scrapped in favor of the more upbeat and accessible "Born In The U.S.A."), this was Bruce's first performance with the E-Street Band in almost seven years. Filmed in front of an audience at a small New York club, the cramped quarters limited the mobility of Jonathan Demme's cameras and the inadequate lighting makes Bruce and the band look almost sinister. The blistering performance, however, carries the day.
"Secret Garden": Bruce's love letter to the fairer sex, he's the only person with a Y Chromosome in this video, showing a large variety of women of all shapes, sizes and ages, emoting for the camera. Tender and beautifully filmed, this is one of my favorites of Springsteen's recent videos. There are actually two versions of the video on this DVD, the second using the alternate "Strings" mix of the song.
"Hungry Heart": This is a really strange bird, apparently filmed for an anniversary release of the song in Germany, it was filmed "live" in Berlin with a new vocal by Bruce over the original 1980 instrumental track. Features shows of a Bruce playing with a local band and driving around the city past sections of the Berlin Wall.
"Dead Man Walking": Unlike "Streets of Philadelphia", this video features significant footage from the film that insprired the song, making it more of a trailer for the film than the video. Nothing wrong with that I guess, but makes for one of the lesser contribution to Springsteen's video oeuvre.
"The Ghost of Tom Joad": In a lot of ways, this is the spiritual cousin to "Atlantic City", in that it combines black and white documentary-style footage and nothing of the singer (except as a silhouette in a couple of shots). This is the more effective of the two because the footage is a better match to the theme of the song.
"The Ghost of Tom Joad": The second video for the same song, this was taken from Bruce's appearance on the Tonight Show. I don't have anything against this performance or this song, but if they were going to take a second video for a song from a talk show, I would have preferred the version of "Murder Incorporated" he did on the Letterman show earlier that year.
"Highway Patrolman": Here's a video with a long, unique history. A song recorded in 1982 inspires a Sean Penn film in 1991 and the two get combined for a music video in the year 2000. I'll say this much, it made me want to see the film ("The Indian Runner").
"If I Should Fall Behind": Shot during rehearsal for the 1999-2000 reunion tour, this features a single camera shot of the E-Street Band trading vocals on Springsteen's 1992 song. Unfortunately, the vocals are a bit overwrought. The version on the second disc of the "Live in NYC" DVD is more restrained and more effective.
"Born In The U.S.A.": If the last video was OVERwrought, this video is badly UNDERwrought. From Bruce's appearance on the "Charlie Rose Show", the best description I can offer of Bruce's performance is "autistic." It's a kinder word than "lifeless." If I had been a member of Springsteen's inner circle, I would have sat on Bruce until he came to his senses and left this video off this collection. It brings the second disc to a limp and unsatisfying conclusion.
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on March 10, 2001
This is truth in advertising to its extreme. The DVD has all of Bruce Springsteen's music videos. And that's it. No extras (ok, a discography, big whoop), no interviews, no commentary, not even some lousy titles at the beginning of the videos to introduce them. So if you like Bruuuuuce and want a collection of his videos on DVD, this is perfect. If you're expecting more from a DVD--and you should--it'll be a bit disappointing.
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on February 23, 1999
This Anthology is great. It really gets the fan into the band's "vibe". It shows great renditions of Bruce's most popular work, as well as the amazing talent of the E Street band. A must have, especially if you have never seen Bruce in concert.
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on April 4, 2001
Bruce Springsteen and his songs stand for everything every young guy dreams about ... and every young guy fears. Songs by Bruce Springsteen are the reason to pack your girl on the back seat of your motorcycle, cool wind blowing in your faces. I practically grew up with the Boss, listening to his songs with passion and intensity, and still feel the wind blowing in my face when I turn up the volume of my stereo, still feel my girl sitting behind me on my tuned Honda, while listening to the Boss. There is something special about his music, a reality that captures your mind and your heart, making you face the hopes and dreads of a whole generation. From Born in the USA, No Surrender or Atlantic City to Born to Run, these songs have a story to tell and you better be listening. When I think of it now, there is no other band or singer I lisented to in my youth, that survived the whole way to being grown up. This DVD is essential, it is rich, it is intense, but most of all it is full of heart. Buy this together with Blood Brothers.
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on January 23, 2001
Springsteen's songs are so cinematic in nature, that on some levels, videos seem a good match. Sure enough, that is reflected in the titles here. We have no less than 3 videos here with film clips, all stellar films. We have John Sales directing a short story version of I'm on Fire. Brian DePalma, Jonathan Demme, Tim Robbins, & Sean Penn also make appearences in the credits.

This is a fine collection of videos, like the music, that is basic, non-flashy, and direct. It also contains many live concert videos, which, of course, are wonderfull glimpes into the magic that Springsteen brings to the stage.

The Atlantic City, I'm on Fire, Brilliant Disguise, Human Touch, Secret Garden, Ghost of Tom Joad, Streets of Philidelphia, and Highway Patrolman videos are the highlights of the non-performance selections. Of the live footage, an extremely energetic 'Rosalita' from '78, a hilarious 'Fire,' a totally reworked and beautiful 'Born to Run,' an angry 'Spare Parts,' a spectacular 'Leap of Faith,' and a moving If I Should Fall Behind are the best.

Best of all is the closing clip of Bruce reworking Born in the USA solo on guitar for the Charlie Rose show. This ledgendary athem of rage is transformed into a dying whisper.

This is video collection with very few misses, and a rich collection of Springsteen's quiet but successfull stroll into the world of videos.
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on August 22, 1999
I just recently saw Bruce on his 99 tour but these clips are from the 70s and 80s. These performances are fantastic and I wish I had seen him back then, his shows now are calm compared to back during his 80s heyday. (great video highly recommended)
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on June 29, 2003
This chonological colection of Springsteen's work is great for any Springsteen fan. The 2 DVD set is essentially his greatest hits in video form. A lot of these videos are live performances and show how great Bruce Springsteen is as a live performer. Bruce Springsteen truly is The Boss, and this video collection adds to the legacy. Highlights of the DVD include a rivoting live performance of War, found on the bos set, and a rare version of Fire, a song he wrote for the Pointer Sisters. This also shows some of the later work, including Secret Garden from Jerry Maguire, and Murder Incorporated from his greatest hits album. 4 out of 5 because of Weak representation form the pre-BITUSA era.
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