On April 29, 2022 (more than a year since the last release) a new playlist from Bruce Springsteen Archives was finally released via streaming services worldwide. It is the tenth in a series of themed live compilation playlists from Springsteen (“the Live Series”). The collections are the joint product of the Legacy imprint of Springsteen’s Sony label and Nugs.net, which also produces and distributes his monthly archival sets.
The Live Series: Songs of Location contains 15 performances of songs that all feature specific places or locations. The songs are sorted chronologically, stretching from 1975 to 2016.
The playlist kicks off with a haunting rendition of Lost in the Flood (1975). It’s a magnificent track that starts with just voice, piano and an eerie guitar tone, that embodies a sense of despair and grief, until Springsteen bites down on the line about Jimmy the Saint and the whole band comes slamming in. I had forgotten how much I love this song.
Across the Borderline (written by John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, and Jim Dickinson) is a fairly rarely played song. According to Brucebase Springsteen has only performed it live eleven times, However, it appears on no fewer than four (!) official live dowloads. This rendition is from the Tunnel of Love Express Tour and is played in a slow full-band arrangement.
Lucky Town was on the setlist of my first ever Springsteen show on June 15, 1992 (the Human Touch/Lucky Town Tour 1992-1993). I’ve always liked this song. It has terrific guitar solos and Springsteen’s vocals are nice and growly.
Another gem on this playlist is Balboa Park. Balboa Park is a finetuned song, which is a lyrical interpretation of an LA Times article about the real-life, homeless young youth who hustle the downtown streets of San Diego city. To survive they get involved in drugs and prostitution.
Factory with a touch of country music influence in the arrangement is also worth a mention. It is an interesting rendition.
The last song I’d like to mention is also the last on the playlist: Meet Me in the City recorded in my hometown Göteborg, Sweden (23.07.2016). This specific show was the third show of the River Tour 2016 in Gothenburg- a 35-song set opening with “Meet Me In The City” followed by the entire The River album in sequence and some more. In the middle of the song you hear Springsteen say (in Swedish) “Fint att vara tillbaka” (Nice to be back).
Bruce and the band were greeted with a stadium-wide choreographed display in blue and yellow (from the Swedish flag), that read, “Welcome Home, Bruce and the E Street Band”.
To conclude, it is a good new playlist. The only songs I don’t care much for are My Father’s House and Streets of Philadelphia.
Finally, when I was preparing to write this text I came upon an interesting article from 2017 called “Mapping the Songs of Bruce Springsteen“. In the article the writer analyses the geospatial references in Springsteen’s lyrics. Perhaps an interesting read for some of you nerds out there.
The Live Series: Songs of Location track list:
- Lost in the Flood- Live at CW. Post Dome Auditorium, Greenvale NY- December 12, 1975
- Candy’s Room- Live at The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA- July 7, 1978
- Streets of Fire- Live at Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA- December 15, 1978
- Darkness on The Edge of Town- Live at Wembley Arena, London, UK- June 5, 1981
- My Hometwn- Live at Giants Stadium, E.Rutherford, NJ- August 22, 1985
- Across the Borderline- Live at Los Angeles Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA- April 28, 1988
- My Father’s House- Live at the Christic Shows at the Shine, Los Angeles, CA- November 16, 1990
- Lucky Town- Live at the Boston Garden, Boston, MA- December 13, 1992
- Streets of Philadelphia- Live at Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA- December 9, 1995
- Balboa Park- Live at Palais des Congrès Acropolis, Nice, FR- May 18, 1997
- Atlantic City- Live at United Center, Chicago, IL- September 30, 1999
- Factory- Live at Anaheim Pond, Anaheim, CA- May 22, 2000
- American Land- Live at Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN- March 20, 2008
- Thunder Road- Live at Fenway Park, Boston, MA- August 15, 2012
- Meet Me in the City- Live at Ullevi Stadium, Goteborg, SE- July 23, 2016
The Live Series: