Bruce Springsteen Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition

Far from a nostalgia-soaked cash grab, this commemorative edition of Bruce Springsteen’s breakthrough record is an emotionally-charged look at the formative period of a great, vital artist’s life. Fans are not only treated to a new-fangled CD version of Born to Run, but also two remarkable DVDs that chronicle the construction of the classic E Street Band line-up. The digitally remastered edition of the album itself sounds great, bringing new definition to its dense instrumentation, including Roy Bittan’s lovely piano on "Meeting Across the River,” Max Weinberg’s thudding Not-Fade-Away-tom drums on "She’s the One,” and Clarence Clemons’s epic sax solo in "Jungleland,” among many other nuanced improvements that Springsteen audiophiles will surely notice. In short, this classic album gets the paintjob it deserves. The accompanying DVDs are each revelatory for different reasons. In 1975, Springsteen was seething when he arrived at the Hammersmith Odeon for his first concert in the UK. Upset with his label’s shameless "London is finally ready for Bruce Springsteen” hype, the singer spent the afternoon tearing posters to shreds before leading his still-fresh gang through an incredible 16-song set that evening. This never-before-released concert finds the band playing it cool onstage, nervous tension curbing the all-inclusive party vibe of later E Street shows. From "Spirit in the Night,” "The E Street Shuffle,” and a blistering "Detroit Medley,” the Jersey boys were out for blood that night and they floored an expectant crowd of critics and fans. A 90-minute documentary takes a more subdued look at the difficult atmosphere that fostered Born to Run. Featuring new interviews with past and present band members and the production team (including former manager Mike Appel, who tied Springsteen up in court for the latter half of the ’70s), Wings For Wheels is a comprehensive, up-close-and-personal look at the gruelling paces Springsteen put people through to fulfil his artistic vision and satisfy his incredulous label. Eighteen-hour studio sessions and countless instrumental tracks were required to bring the Born to Run opera — what Springsteen describes here as eight stories over one hot summer night — to fruition. Band members recall Steve Van Zandt’s daring in dictating the key horn parts of "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” and improving the lead riff of the title track for a surprised Springsteen. These vignettes are an insightful window into what helped make Springsteen such a grand artist in his youth, someone whose ambition was atypical yet somehow attainable. Born to Run changed Springsteen’s life and altered the perception of American rock music forever. If it wasn’t clear enough in the first place, this anniversary edition shows you how. (Columbia)