Saturday, November 9, 2013

New York City Serenade

I'm one of those (seemingly) relatively rare hardcore Bruce Springsteen fans who doesn't feel that he's always better live, that his songs only truly come to life when he performs them in concert. And as I wrote here, I think his original studio recording of "New York City Serenade" is one of the most gloriously perfect things he's ever done.

But sweet flying spaghetti monster, is this an impossibly wonderful version.

He sounds fantastic, and judging by how much he stretches it out—but never too much, not even close—he's having a good time. And the string section appears overjoyed. Roy and Max are superb and it may be the best and most interesting bass playing I've ever heard from Garry; listening to this, you can see how much he picked up from James Jamerson (about whom he once wrote a book).

Never a song he's played often, this version sounds like they'd played it dozens of times, rather than this being the first time the E Street Band had played it in four years.

I'm just staggered by how beautiful this is. Someone sent it to me a few days ago, but I didn't really pay attention; for whatever reason, these days (unlike years past) I'm much more interested in listening and relistening to Springsteen's studio stuff, especially his more recent releases, than his live performances. But I finally clicked on this, intending to let it play as I worked. But damn if I wasn't unable to pull my eyes off the screen for a moment. Simply mesmerizing.

Homeboy's still got it. He's singin'.

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