Monday, March 5, 2012

THE RAGAMUFFIN GUNNER IS RETURNIN' HOME LIKE A HUNGRY RUNWAY: In advance of tomorrow's Wrecking Ball album drop, tell me what Springsteen song you think is most enhanced by the live version.  I'm not asking "what's the best Springsteen live song," but rather "which song has the largest Value Over Recorded Version," or some superior acronym you'll come up with.

Related: excluding all songs from The Rising to the present (because then we'd all say "Empty Sky" or "You're Missing," right?), what song have you heard quite enough of live and have no need to see again?  For me, it's "Cover Me," a song off Born in the U.S.A. whose appeal I never, ever have appreciated.  That and "Adam Raised A Cain."


  1. Joseph J, Finn9:14 AM

    Probably "The River" for me, which on the original album is a good proto-Nebraska song but took on a much bigger and sharper feel with the live version from the Born in the U.S.A. tour and recorded on Live/1975-85.

  2. Tosy and Cosh9:43 AM

    Ghost of Tom Joad. The Tom Morello/Springsteen version from the R&R HoF 25th anniversary concert is blistering.

  3. I was so impressed with Morello's stuff with the band last week on Fallon that I'd like to see him join fulltime, or at least for one tour.  

  4. Jim Bell10:14 AM

    That acoustic version of Brilliant Disguise on storytellers.  I think I've said that before at far too much length.

  5. Fred App10:24 AM

    The version of "Youngstown" on the Live in New York CD. The original didn't do much for me, but the live version has a ferocity and desperation that turn it into a very, very powerful song.

    Honestly, I'm about done seeing anything off the "Born in the USA" album, but particularly the title track and "Dancing in the Dark."

  6. I'm fine with Darlington County as a third-hour number, but otherwise more-or-less co-signed.

  7. Anonymous10:44 AM

    "Atlantic City" plugged in with the full band takes the top slot for me.  As great as Nebraska is, the power of AC doesn't hit you until they put everything behind it.  "Badlands" is always fantastic live, although maybe because of crowd interaction.  Also the band is so tight after all these years, how about "Whatevertwentyminutejamtheythrowintheencore"?  Looking your way "Kitty's Back" "Thundercrack" etc.

  8. Jordan10:45 AM

    Guest was me.

  9. I love the versions of Atlantic City and Highway Patrolman on the Live in Dublin CDs.  If I had to pick one, I guess that I'd say Atlantic City.

  10. Adam C.11:08 AM

    VORV Top 10 Leaderboard:
    1. GOtJ, hands down.
    2. "The Price You Pay," which he re-debuted at the Spectrum-closing concert in 2009 (opening the show, no less), after having mothballed it for over 25 years. 
    3. "Youngstown," which as a live cut is almost as searing as GotJ thanks to Nils Lofgren's guitar work.
    4. "Be True" - released on Tracks, the live version is far superior.
    5. The bluesy, down-tempo, 12-string version of Born in the USA.  
    6. "The River."  What Finn said.
    7-8. "Kitty's Back" and "Lost in the Flood" - I seem to get one of these deep older cuts whenever I see a show.
    9. "Rendezvous," the studio version of which was finally released on The Promise last year, suffers in comparison to the live version on Tracks.  I expect they'll be playing a lot off of The Promise on this tour, so this could rise or fall from this spot.
    10. The totally reimagined swing version of "Open All Night" from the Seeger Sessions tour.

    Songs I could do without hearing on this tour:
    Two Hearts
    Agree on Cover Me, but it's not one he plays al that often live.
    Tenth Avenue Freeze Out - I'm not ready.  Too soon.

  11. Morello joined Bruce & the band for a few numbers, including Ghost of Tom Joad, when they last played L.A. Morello was unbelievably great. I'm hoping he returns for the Wrecking Ball Los Angeles dates.

  12. Adam C.11:10 AM

    I agree with Atlantic City, but he plays it every time he comes to Philly, so for me it's shifted toward the "I Could Use A Break" category.

  13. Adam C.11:12 AM

    Having seen the show last time around when they did the full BitUSA album, I'm pretty good for a while on them as well.  But see my comment below re: the alternate bluesy version of the title track.

  14. Nigel from Cameroon11:14 AM

    Trapped, Atlantic City, and Youngstown all at the top.

    The bottom: Rosalita

    Adam, is it Lost in the Flood for you?

  15. I think it is, because I really don't much care for the album version.  And then he busted it out at the MSG show at the end of the Blood Brothers tour, and, wow.  But I have no problem with including any of those three, except that my regard for the album version of Atlantic City is so damn high anyway.

  16. I am hoping for Highway Patrolman this year in Philly.  And I sincerely loved The Price You Pay as the opener the last go-round ...

  17. Adam C.12:55 PM

    It was the infusion of Curt Ramm's trumpet that put it over the top, if you ask me.

  18. Dan Suitor1:00 PM

    Is it cheating to say "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"? Because I'm saying "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

  19. kd bart1:55 PM

    How about songs you wished he played more?  For me, it would be Roulette.

  20. We've got all week to do Springsteen stuff here.  Am happy to run with that tomorrow.

  21. Jay G.3:33 PM

    An early vote for Death to My Hometown, which was fantastic on Fallon last week and of which the recorded version appears to lack the same intensity on first listen.  Agree on Cover Me, which I can't stand.  Early votes for wished he played more -- Incident on 57th Street and Frankie.

  22. Robin3:57 PM

    KITTY'S BACK. I love the 17 minute version on the '75 Hammersmith Odeon album.  And I am normally, even when it comes to live tracks from epic bands, all about the short and sweet.  If you can keep me happily listening for that long, you're doing something amazingly right.  I don't even know what the studio version sounds like, it's been so long since I listened to it. 

  23. Adam C.7:32 PM

    Just a note that got a full redesign today and is currently streaming the whole new album (just the regular tracklist, not the special edition songs).  If you want to prepare for the midnight download, that is.

  24. StvMg8:21 PM

    Spirit in the Night. As for the album version, I could take it or leave it. But the version on the 75-85 live album is one of my favorite Bruce songs.

  25. Randy8:21 PM

    Confession: I've never liked Jungleland.  And it was a buzzkill when they played it the only time I saw them live (Calgary, 2003).  It's one thing when a band plays a four-minute song you don't like... but when it's a NINE minute song that inevitably includes extra jamming, well, it's time for a nap.

  26. Randy8:21 PM

    One thing I love about being in the western part of the continent: iTunes new releases go live before midnight.  I'll be able to get the album at 9:00.  Woo!