Sunday, June 03, 2007

All Together Now

Went to a preview of the Bruce Springsteen Live In Dublin DVD in order to see it on a big screen. It's an odd thing watching anything like this in a theatre. A few people tried to get a bit of audience reaction going. They do the lowing noise and you're not sure whether they're being satirical or not. Nor are they in all probability.
The performance is great and it's good to have some kind of record of just how exceptional these shows were but you despair at how formulaic concert films have become. And this one has made some kind of curious executive decision not to show you the audience until the last number, at which point they look as if they've been cut in as an afterthought. When I saw this show at Wembley I was up on the side and at least half of the value of the experience came from looking at the way the audience were embracing it all. He always says that he wants shows to be part-dance, part-hootenanny, part-gospel show, part political meeting. This one was, so why wouldn't you reflect that? You wouldn't cover a church service by keeping your camera on the preacher, would you?


  1. You're absolutely right. I was at the shows that this DVD was recorded at and I can't believe how little of the audience is used. Last week i watched his DVD from thee 75 show in London and it was the same. Bad lighting and nothing but shots of the band. But you could forgive the 75 DVD it's poor quality since it was never really meant to be released and the crowd reaction really was muted on the night. In Dublin last year he had the crowd at fever pitch but you wouldn't know it from this recording. To see how a crowd really reacts and contributes to a Springsteen show check out the Live in Milan DVD from The Rising tour. On that show the crowd, to borrow a football cliche, really were like a twelfth man. Actually the way the E Street Band has expanded over the years they probably already have a twelfth man but you get my point..

  2. Anonymous9:54 pm

    Cue Terry Jones squawk: "He's not the messiah, he's a very...[insert choice of alternative bathos]."

  3. Anonymous12:05 pm

    I can't comment on Bruce as I haven't seen any of the shows myself. But it's worth noting that Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense, which I feel still stands up as a concert movie benchmark (if benchmarks can stand up), resists showing the audience for most of the film. There are a few shots where punters are visible at the end which almost come as a surprise. Maybe the nature of the SMS show meant that it was best observed, but you can dance to it. The SMS DVD commentary is good about all of this as I recall.

  4. I watched some of the DVD today. Were the concerts really that dark? Wanting to see more of the audience is one thing but it would be nice to be able to see more of the band through the murky darkness (and HD murky darkness at that). Great music though.