Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band London Calling Live in Hyde Park

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street BandLondon Calling Live in Hyde Park
In one of the most intimate, least mediated reflections of their power as a live outfit, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band stand tall, conquering the 2009 Hard Rock Calling Festival, as evident in this epic concert film. Shot almost entirely in the daylight, right up to a moody sunset, there's starkness to the production values that accentuates the songs and performance, which are staggering. The E Street Band are pushing 40 as a unit, but they run now like a well-oiled machine, more precise and passionate as sexagenarians than they were unhinged and ferocious as young adults. Their leader, of course, is something of an exception ― an eerily powerful musical force with a limitless well of energy. Springsteen is pouring sweat by the third verse of "London Calling," a tribute to the Clash and the event, and only the first song of the show. Halfway through the set, he looks like a dude who took a shower in his clothes. After the roar and battering of "Night" and "She's the One," the Boss tries to get personal with his fans during "Out in the Street." He traverses the comical gulf between him and the audience for some close-up face time and ends up a tad winded. "Are you fucking nuts," he exclaims jokingly; "Someone get me a fucking elevator! I'm fucking 60!" For his part, guitarist Nils Lofgren elevates himself, ripping through a crazed, acrobatic solo during "Youngstown," which precedes a relatively new tradition among Springsteen fans: brandishing song requests on signs that Bruce gathers up and calls out randomly down E Street. On this night, the segment bore the predictable ("Bobby Jean"), the unpredictable (Jimmy Cliff's "Trapped") and a certain treat for a disciple. Earlier during the festival, old man Springsteen dropped in on the Gaslight Anthem's set, and Brian Fallon in turn was tapped to join the E Street Band on a particularly emotive and soulful "No Surrender." All of this and more occurs on disc one. The wide-ranging locomotive of a show steams on, with "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" eliciting pure joy among fans and the band, while the encore includes a raucous "Glory Days" that Steve Van Zandt can't help but giggle through. In the bonus clips, Springsteen's voice sounds majestic on "The River," captured at last year's Glastonbury Festival, and the performance looks spooky, as steam rises into the dark, cool air from a sweat-soaked Springsteen's shoulders. The package is rounded out by a video of "Wrecking Ball," a so-so number written especially by Springsteen for a multi-night stand in Jersey by the E Street Band for the last ever concerts at the doomed Giants Stadium. London Calling Live in Hyde Park showcases the latter-day E Street Band at their mightiest. (Columbia)