Live in New York City
First Appeared in The Music Box April 2002, Volume 9, #4
Written by John Metzger
Bruce Springsteen's latest album Live in New York City was recorded in Summer 2000 on the final two nights of his lengthy stand at Madison Square Garden. The two-disc set features some sterling work that showcases exactly why it was time for Springsteen and the E Street Band to reunite. Unfortunately, there are moments when it also falls a bit flat. At times, this is due to a lack of continuity — Born to Run seems completely out of place; at other times, it just doesn't translate all that well to an aural-only medium — the band introductions on Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out tend to drag.
Despite this, Live in New York City is a solid concert recording from one of the greatest touring acts. Long-time fans of Springsteen will most likely gravitate towards the older material, which runs the gamut from rote (Born to Run) to revitalized (Born in the U.S.A.), and includes everything from old workhorses (Jungleland; Lost in the Flood) to relatively obscure selections (My Love Will Not Let You Down; If I Should Fall Behind). Nevertheless, it's the newest material that truly resonates. Land of Hope and Dreams rises out of a clatter of guitar, organ, and piano to become an anthem for those seeking redemption and rebirth in America. But the subsequent American Skin (41 Shots), which recalls the horrifying murder of Amadou Diallo, shows how quickly those aspirations can be taken away and how much the United States still has to grow. It's a frightening prospect, but in the end, the optimism of Land of Hope and Dreams — much like the sheer jubilation of Springsteen's concerts — wins out. ½
Live in New York City is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box