The Live Series: Songs of Character

On April 21, 2023 (about a year since the last release) a new playlist from Bruce Springsteen Archives was released via streaming services worldwide. It is the eleventh in a series of themed live compilation playlists from Springsteen (“the Live Series”). The collections are coproduced by the Legacy imprint of Springsteen’s label Sony and

The Live Series: Songs of Location contains 15 live tracks that all feature names of song characters. The songs are sorted chronologically, stretching from 1975 to 2017.

The playlist kicks off and ends rockin’ and rollin’. Chuck Berry’s cover, Carol, is the opener and Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally is the closer.

The second song is Kitty’s Back from The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle (1973). Kitty’s Back has been played many times live and it’s on the setlist of Springsteen’s ongoing tour. I was lucky to hear it live when visiting NY and NJ a week ago. This is a song where the instrumental parts, especially the ones that the horn section play, are very important. I’ve come to like it a lot.

Some other favourites on this playlist are:

Cynthia, a Born in the USA-outtake released on Tracks (1988). The song is a rarity that has only been played live a total of 11 times. This version from 2012 is fun and energetic.

It is followed by another rarity, the world premiere of Frankie Fell in Love in 2014 (High Hopes, 2014). According to Brucebase, it has only been played live a total of 9 times.

The only live performance of Linda Let Me Be the One (Tracks, 1998), is also included. I find it a bit amusing when Bruce interrupts the song mid through because of some mistake. He laughs and says, “We fucked the whole thing up” before they continue to play.

Sherry Darling (The River, 1980) and Janey Don’t You Lose Heart (Tracks, 1998) are personal favourites that never fail to make me happy.

Two renditions that I really don’t care for, although I normally like the songs, are Rosalita (come out tonight) from The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle (1973) and Bobby Jean (Born In the USA, 1984). They are “acoustic” versions and that never goes well by me.

Track listing

  1. Carol (Live at the Roxy, West Hollywood, CA – October 18, 1975)
  2. Kitty’s Back (Live at Captiol Theatre, Passaic, NJ – September 19, 1978)
  3. Mona / Preacher’s Daughter / She’s the One (Live at Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA – December 15, 1978)
  4. Sherry Darling (Live at Wembley Arena, London, UK – June 5, 1981)
  5. Janey Don’t You Lose Heart (Live at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA – Sep 27, 1985)
  6. Gloria’s Eyes (Live at Boston Garden, Boston, MA – Dec 13, 1992)
  7. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (Live at Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, NJ – Nov 26, 1996)
  8. Maria’s Bed (Live at the Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA – May 17, 2005)
  9. Bobby Jean (Live at Hovet, Stockholm, Sweden – June 25, 2005)
  10. Leah (Live at Sovereign Bank Arena, Trenton, NJ – November 22, 2005)
  11. Mary Queen of Arkansas (Live at HSBC Arena, Buffalo, NY – Nov 22 2009)
  12. Cynthia (Live at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – September 22, 2012)
  13. Frankie Fell in Love (Live at Perth Arena, Perth, AU – February 5, 2014)
  14. Linda Let Me Be the One (Live at BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL – April 29, 2014)
  15. Long Tall Sally (Live at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney, AU – February 7, 2017)

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