London Calling Live From Hyde Park

January 01, 1970

(Columbia 2DVD; 163 minutes)

 

www.brucespringsteen.net

 

BY JOHN B. MOORE

 

Just a couple of
songs into his set at London’s Hyde Park last summer, Bruce Springsteen
responds to a fan about 30 feet away from the stage trying to get the singer to
reach out and touch him:  “Are you
fucking nuts? Get me an elevator… I’m fucking 60!”

 

Jesus, if that’s
Bruce at 60, he should start selling vials of his blood online. The amount of
intensity and energy Springsteen expels in the three-plus hour set is enough to
put the 20-something who played the venue earlier that day into a coma.

 

By far still the
greatest rock showman performing today, (yes, the greatest! Who would you put up
against him? U2? Pearl Jam?) whether he’s playing songs off of Nebraska (“Johnny 99”), covers (a brilliant take on Jimmy Cliff’s “Trapped”) or
something from his latest record (“Outlaw Pete”), there are simply no low
points in this 26 song set. Even his by now easily quotable banter (“Is there
anybody really alive out there”) comes off sounding as fresh as the first time
he said it (decades ago?). Yes, “Born to Run” and “Glory Days” are included,
but its remarkable how some of his relatively new material – songs like “The
Rising” and “Radio Nowhere” fit perfectly alongside iconic songs from the late
70’s and have become concert staples themselves.

 

There is also a great
moment towards the end of the first DVD when Springsteen invites fellow Jersey native and self-identifying Bruce acolyte Brian
Fallon from the band Gaslight Anthem on stage to help him sing “No Surrender.”
Fallon, who sounds more than a little like his idol with his own signature raspy
vocals, looks like every boyhood dream is coming true at that moment.

 

The two disc set is
capped with a couple of bonus songs: the much talked music video for “Wrecking
Ball” (Giant Stadium’s swan song in 2009) and a beautifully eerie version of
“The River” recorded at Glastonbury
that same year. Nothing can ever capture the intensity of a Springsteen show,
but London Calling does a damn fine
job trying to do just that.    

 

Special Features: The River (Glastonbury), Wrecking Ball (Live at Giants
Stadium)

 

 

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