Bruce Springsteen’s The Live Series: Songs of Love was released earlier in the summer on digital streaming services. It’s a 15 track compilation of love songs plucked from live recordings between 1975 and 2016.
So far, four “The Live Series“-playlists featuring live rarities related to certain themes, have been released. The songs on the playlists are selected from a vast collection of live recordings and put together as albums/playlists, available for streaming and as digital downloads on streaming services such as Amazon, Deezer, iTunes and Spotify. The first “album” to be released, on 28 November 2018, was Songs of the Road, followed by Songs of Friendship in 25 January 2019. Songs of Hope was released in 29 March 2019 and, as mentioned above, the fourth part; Songs of Love was released on 13 June 2019.
As the name of the series suggests, the albums are compilation albums featuring live renditions of songs related to different themes. To me, who actually never downloaded any of the digitally remastered concerts that are released regularly on nugs.net. (am I the only Springsteen fan who never bought and downloaded any of them?), these playlists are a gem. They give you an opportunity to listen to rare live renditions of songs from different venues and different times throughout Bruce Springsteen’s career. They offer a variety of songs, from the biggest hits to raritets that are seldom played, such as Action in the Streets, Back in Your Arms, Highway 29 and This is Your Sword. What I enjoy almost as much as the songs themselves are the talks to the songs, some of them directly to the audience and some short stories or narratives.
Songs of Love, featuring songs of love and devotion, includes a fantastic rendition of I Wanna Marry You from Wembley Arena, London 1981 with a lovely intro that I last heard live in Frognerparken in Oslo during the River tour 2016. Back In Your Arms from Croke Park, Dublin 2016 is also one of my favourites from this particular playlist.
Lands of Hopes and Dreams (sic!) from Apollo Theatre, New York 2012, launches the Songs of Hope playlist, which contains an excellent version of My City of Ruins (Olympiastadion, Helsinki 2012), with story and band introduction (“roll call”) and a rare version of The Promised Land (not necessarily my favourite rendition😖, but interesting) from King’s Hall, Belfast 1996.
To me, hearing live versions of No Surrender are always a treat. The one featured on Songs of Friendship is from Wachovia Spectrum, Philadelphia 2009. A rousing Spirit in the Night from New Year’s ’75 (Tower Theatre, Upper Darby) and an emotional take on Blood Brothers from the closing of the Reunion Tour in Madison Square Garden 2000 are also included on this setlist, that portray the unbreakable bonds of comradeship. It was when I listened to this playlist earlier this year that I (re)discovered the song The Ties That Bind (the Summit, Houston 1978) and that inspired me write a blogpost on that song.
Very fittingly Thunder Road (the Palace Theatre, Albany 1977) kicks off the Songs of the Road playlist. The contents of this playlist revolve around cars, road songs and songs involving streets, such as rarely heard Highway 29 (King’s Hall, Belfast 1996) and Action in the Streets from the Palace Theatre, Albany 1977, the latter with excellent saxophone work. An outstanding rendition of Incident on 57th Street (the Capitol Theatre, Passaic 1978) is my personal favourite along with a magnificent Racing in the Street (the Agora, Cleveland 1978) and a fun version of Cadillac Ranch, which closes the playlist.
The only song featured twice is If I Should Fall Behind (Songs of friendship: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville 2014/Songs of Love: The United Center, Chicago 1999). The Chicago-version is a beautiful collaboration where Bruce, Little Steven, Nils, Patti and Clarence take turns singing the verse and they also sing in harmony.
Altogether, the collections/the albums are a testament to the power of Springsteen’s live shows, the talents of The E Street Band, and the enduring quality of these songs. So, if you haven’t yet, take a listen and enjoy. I mean it’s Bruce Springsteen live, what’s not to like?
The Live Series: Songs of the Road
1. Thunder Road (the Palace Theatre, Albany, NY – 02/07/77)
2. Highway 29 (King’s Hall, Belfast, UK – 03/19/96)
3. Incident On 57th Street (the Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ – 09/20/78)
4. Open All Night (New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans, LA – 04/30/06)
5. Stolen Car (the ASU Activity Center, Tempe, AZ – 11/05/80)
6. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out (the Auditorium Theatre, Rochester, NY – 02/08/77)
7. Out In the Street (the Wachovia Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA – 10/20/09)
8. Drive All Night (Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – 11/08/09)
9. Born to Run (the Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ – 08/05/84)
10. Used Cars (St. Rose of Lima School, Freehold, NJ – 11/08/96)
11. Action in the Streets (the Palace Theatre, Albany, NY – 02/07/77)
12. Racing In the Street (the Agora, Cleveland, OH – 08/09/78)
13. Working On the Highway (Ippodromo delle Capannelle, Rome, Italy – 07/11/13)
14. The E Street Shuffle (TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA – 11/19/07)
15. Cadillac Ranch (the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – 12/31/80)
The Live Series: Songs of Friendship
The Live Series: Songs of Hope
01 – Lands of Hopes and Dreams (the Apollo Theater, New York, NY – 03/09/12)
02 – Badlands (the Agora, Cleveland, OH – 08/09/78)
03 – The Rising (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – 08/30/16)
04 – Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street? (HSBC Arena, Buffalo, NY – 11/22/09)
05 – Night (Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA – 12/31/75)
06 – The Promised Land (King’s Hall, Belfast, UK – 03/19/96)
07 – My Lucky Day (Ullevi Stadium, Goteborg, Sweden – 06/25/16)
08 – Tougher Than the Rest (Stockholms Stadion, Stockholm, SE – 07/03/88)
09 – This Is Your Sword (the Times Union Center, Albany, NY – 05/13/14)
10 – My City of Ruins (Olympiastadion, Helsinki, Finland – 07/31/12)
11 – From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come) (Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC – 04/19/14)
12 – The Promise (the Palace Theatre, Albany, NY – 02/07/77)
13 – Living Proof (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – 08/30/16)
14 – Lucky Town (Ippodromo delle Capannelle, Rome, Italy – 07/11/13)
15 – This Hard Land (Estadio de Anoeta, San Sebastian, Spain – 05/17/16)
The Live Series: Songs of Love
- She’s the One (the Roxy, West Hollywood, CA – 10/18/75)
- Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (the Palace Theatre, Albany, NY – 02/07/77) with the E Street Band
- Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – 09/21/79)
- Fade Away (Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – 12/31/1980) with The E Street Band
- I Wanna Marry You (Wembley Arena, London, UK – 06/05/81)
- I’m On Fire (Los Angeles Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA – 04/23/1988)
- Tougher Than the Rest (Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – 05/23/88)
- Brilliant Disguise (the Shrine, Los Angeles, CA Set 1 – 11/16/90)
- Human Touch (Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ – 6/24/93)
- If I Should Fall Behind (the United Center, Chicago, IL – 09/30/99)
- For You (the United Center, Chicago, IL – 09/30/99)
- Tunnel of Love (the Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI – 8/3/05)
- Back In Your Arms (Croke Park Stadium, Dublin, Ireland – 05/27/16)
- Secret Garden (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – 08/30/16) with the E Street Band
- Save My Love (Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA – 09/05/16)