The Angel is refreshingly unromantic and avoids cliche…the words work better when considered as a twilight reverie, without insisting on coherence. Musically, it’s an easily overlooked gem.
This recording is a beautiful document, with a higher-than-usual quota of “you haven’t heard this before.” At the start, Springsteen asks for “as much quiet as I can get,” and that’s a good way to listen. This is music for grown-ups – pour a Scotch, sit back, and save your red Solo cup for the Magic tour.
Lost in The Flood frequently appears on “best-of” lists by Springsteen fans, probably because it presages the clichéd cinematic imagery of Jungleland; that song is saved by magnificent musicianship. Unfortunately, in 1972 Springsteen wasn’t yet working with collaborators who could muscle out his grandiose visions.
The concert on the whole is wonderful – part of the pleasure is the thrill of discovery, and part is how much of a departure the tour concept was… If this concert doesn’t have the manic, sometimes desperate energy of Springsteen’s 1970s concerts, it solidifies his reputation as a master showman.
Springsteen at his most Dylan-esque, a mantle he wore poorly while protesting he didn’t want it in the first place. Does This Bus… is a trifle of wordplay that doesn’t quite hold together – the rhymes are sloppy, sharp phrases are undermined by non sequiturs.
One of my favorite pop lyrics is Cat Stevens’ Father and Son (1970). “You’re still young, that’s your fault.” It’s the kind of line you struggle against: “How can it be my fault?” The older I get, the more I understand. I realize that youth was, and still is, my fault.
Springsteen’s harmonica work on the song is beautiful. He plays mostly single, pristine notes, high above the melody. These create an air of wistful loneliness during the beginning and ending; in the middle passages the harp bounces around the voice.
Super Trouper is the greatest song ever written about a stage light. The lyrics bring a shiver of pleasure to even the most jaded stagehand…
Toby Scott’s entire job lately seems to consist of bringing joy to Springsteen fans. Back in 1984, we waited years between Springsteen releases and now every six weeks brings another gift, miraculously cleaned up, mixed and presented whole… The very best way to experience Springsteen is to listen to one of his concerts start to finish, and ride the ups and downs to the inevitably ecstatic conclusion.
Awesome use of superlatives; also, wisely differentiates between “opinion” and “official” pronouncements. The writer clearly has anger issues but apologizes, a welcome folksy touch. Concludes with hope, something too many critics neglect (although said hope might arguably be more clearly communicated with the interrogative possessive pronoun “whose;” still, it is unlikely the target audience will be confused.)