Bruce Springsteen: Under Review 1978-1982 Tales of the Working Man
Although Bruce Springsteen's huge body of work has had its highs and its not so highs, there is one distinct period within his career that remains, almost inarguably, his most creative, consistent, and satisfying. We talk of course of the trilogy of albums he released between 1978 and 1982, comprising Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River, and Nebraska. Across these records Bruce's storytelling was up there with Steinbeck's, his songs ranked with Dylan's best and the live shows were as exciting as anything James Brown had ever delivered. This documentary film looks again at these albums, and the shows he performed around them, and charts Springsteen's journey through this dark but glorious period. Some of the features of this DVD included obscure footage, rare interviews, live and studio recordings of songs such as Prove it All Night, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Hungry Heart, The River, Highway Patrolman, Mansion on the Hill, and many others.
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With Springsteen the experiment wasn't as succesful as others (i.e. Velvet Undergound or Tom Wait's double dvd or Neil Young's). I guess the problem here is the selection of the panel. If you take out the brilliant comments of Anthony de Curtis and Robert Christgau, what you have is basically a sad bunch of nerdy fans who are trapped in Bruce's personality cult. The result is a continuous uncritical exclamation for the boss' grandness.
While it's good to review Springsteen's lyrics and subject matter development at the end of the 1970s, there is little if none attention paid to his musical creation in the context of the late 70s, early 80s. Where did the boss music come from? What style was he playing and how could that relate to other styles like punk and new wave? How did the boss contribute to the conservation or progress of rock music? Apart from the usual clichè reference to Bob Dylan and Woodie Guthrie, all of these questions remain unanswered in the dvd.
All in all, if you're a fan, I think this is still worth having. If you're new to the boss and want to discover more about him, you'd better avoid this dvd and go straight into a live dvd of the boss and enjoy the fun of his music!