Badlands_89

Its Wembley June 5th 1981! holy shit!

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The shows end up being about 20 minutes apart as far as original Bruce music.

I meant to say in my post that Nassau has twice as many covers.

Anyway, I like the covers, especially back when they helped form the bones of the setlist.

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5 hours ago, badlands78 said:

After buying and listening, this show is solid but definitely not a 10/10 and most certainly not the holy grail of the River Tour.  A distant third to Tempe and Nassau for sure.

Wembley ‘81 suffers from pacing problems that get under my skin.  After a solid start, we get a one-two drag of Follow That Dream and maybe the slowest and most blah Darkness ever.  Yes I know that a Springsteen & ESB setlist is supposed to have slow parts, but there are too many weirdo moments and experimental arrangements in this show.  At some points it feels like a Devils & Dust set.  When I think of The River tour, I think of a scrawny ritalin-loaded Bruce rocking at 110% balls-to-the-wall.  My how Wembley loses momentum compared to Nassau.

And Jesus, the comparatively shit-ton number of COVERS in this show!  Wtf?!

And I’ve already pointed out the use of bootleg tapes to complete the show.  That’s cheating IMO, and uncomfortable that Nugs/Bruce is now effectively in bed with bootleggers.

Opinions will vary, and yes I’m glad to have this release, but based on this download I can’t say that 1981 was their performance peak by any means.

It's early days for this release, but at this point I do agree with some of the points you've made. It may be just because these arrangements are unfamiliar to me but  find that having Follow That Dream, Johnny Bye Bye and This Land.. in such close proximity really makes it feel like the show is dragging. I have absolutely no issue with them using 95 secs of an audience recording though! Onto disc two...

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Just noticed that he didn't sing the line "on the streets of Brixton" in This Land Is Your Land" as he had done at other London shows.  Seems like a minor quibble, but it would have given the show a little historical context as to what was happening on the streets of Thatcher's Britain at that time.

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1 hour ago, riverdude2 said:

You say there's pacing problems, to which I'll return.

This was a different era and for Europe, the first real chance to see Bruce and the ESB. The people that attended these shows really wanted to as opposed to nowadays when it's the thing to do for many to brag about on social media. To get tickets for these Euro 81 shows it was either a queue all night outside the venue or it was to send off a postal order and pray that tickets came back in the mail. It took dedication and real effort to get in the door given the size of the venues.

The venues were tiny by today's arena standards, never mind stadiums. I saw three shows and the combined attendance was full capacity at 8000 total (2000 + 3000 + 3000). The people next to you weren't holding drinks, they didn't get up and go to the bar/toilet every five minutes, they sat (or later stood) absolutely transfixed by what they were seeing and hearing. This brings me back to your pacing comment. At one of the shows I saw, Bruce opened with Ties, then Out In The Street followed by Prove it. He then played Darkness, Factory, Independence Day. Johnny Bye Bye and Thunder Road. On opening, Bruce had shown the power of the band, his and their performance and then knowing he "had" the crowd (we all knew that before he stepped onstage) he slowed things right down with great story telling and of course fantastic contemplative songs. I somehow doubt if you'd been there, you'd have been thinking about pacing, I think you'd have been as rapt as we all were.

It's only my opinion, but I believe Bruce maybe was at his peak on the 78 tour but that summer of 81 tour Bruce and the band hit theirs.

As far as this release is concerned, I think it's fantastic.

Complete agreement, Dude. Over the years I've tried to convince myself that they've delivered live experiences that have matched or, in some cases, exceeded the 2 Edinburgh shows I saw. I was kidding myself and this release has called me out. For us European fans who didn't have the chance to experience the stuff of legend that is 78, this was and is as good as it gets. IMHO, of course. 

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7 hours ago, Jerseyfornia said:

 

Anyway, I like the covers, especially back when they helped form the bones of the setlist.

Exactly. They're not throw away - rather they're integral to the structure of the set and the themes he was seeking to articulate. 

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20 minutes ago, Walker in the sun said:

Complete agreement, Dude. Over the years I've tried to convince myself that they've delivered live experiences that have matched or, in some cases, exceeded the 2 Edinburgh shows I saw. I was kidding myself and this release has called me out. For us European fans who didn't have the chance to experience the stuff of legend that is 78, this was and is as good as it gets. IMHO, of course. 

Press clipping.

288966079_EEEN(1)81.thumb.png.6da30ec1df1a7f4357b891c336e3b6c1.png

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This @riverdude2

On opening, Bruce had shown the power of the band, his and their performance and then knowing he "had" the crowd (we all knew that before he stepped onstage) he slowed things right down with great story telling and of course fantastic contemplative songs. I somehow doubt if you'd been there, you'd have been thinking about pacing, I think you'd have been as rapt as we all were.

So spot on RD. You never felt "oh i wish he wouldn't play these slow songs" because they were meaningful...because they were beautiful...and because you knew that before you went home you were going to be rocked into a sweaty breathless frenzy.

These shows had it all.

 

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3 hours ago, riverdude2 said:

This was a different era. The people that attended these shows really wanted to as opposed to nowadays when it's the thing to do for many to brag about on social media. 

The people next to you weren't holding drinks, they didn't get up and go to the bar/toilet every five minutes, they sat (or later stood) absolutely transfixed by what they were seeing and hearing.

This is such a valid point. I know this is like old coot rant but it was so different then. Way before online setlists and social media, it was more of shared adventure. people didn't go to concerts to talk through songs. Bruce is of course now a rock icon but then he was the young turk proving his merit every night. Like so much else so much has changed. Such is life.

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I can’t help but notice another issue that has arisen as I have been reading online reviews and posts over the last two days regarding the Wembley ‘81 release.

On the one hand, people rave and rave about how the European audiences are just oh so much better Bruce fans and they listen better and they generally align with his politics and they don’t make beer runs etc etc etc.

Yet on the other hand there are some who have pointed out that at the ‘81 Wembley stand, Bruce and the band were still trying to prove themselves and win over a European audience after what happened in 1975.

Which is it?  Am I way off base here?

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3 minutes ago, badlands78 said:

I can’t help but notice another issue that has arisen as I have been reading online reviews and posts over the last two days regarding the Wembley ‘81 release.

On the one hand, people rave and rave about how the European audiences are just oh so much better Bruce fans and they listen better and they generally align with his politics and they don’t make beer runs etc etc etc.

Yet on the other hand there are some who have pointed out that at the ‘81 Wembley stand, Bruce and the band were still trying to prove themselves and win over a European audience after what happened in 1975.

Which is it?  Am I way off base here?

These two things have nothing to do with each other.  The audience can be quiet and attentive as Springsteen works hard to establish a touring presence overseas.  

 

This release is great.  The most revelatory aspect of the show for me is Springsteen’s  singing.  

Anyway, love the show.   

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2 hours ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

Springsteenmania doesn't really roll of the tongue well.

They should've gone with Bruceamania. It's runnin' wild brother.

I've gotta agree with you Mean Gene!!!!!!

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26 minutes ago, badlands78 said:

I can’t help but notice another issue that has arisen as I have been reading online reviews and posts over the last two days regarding the Wembley ‘81 release.

On the one hand, people rave and rave about how the European audiences are just oh so much better Bruce fans and they listen better and they generally align with his politics and they don’t make beer runs etc etc etc.

Yet on the other hand there are some who have pointed out that at the ‘81 Wembley stand, Bruce and the band were still trying to prove themselves and win over a European audience after what happened in 1975.

Which is it?  Am I way off base here?

Can't speak for other Euro countries but in the UK by 1981 Springsteen had a fairly large and fanatical fan base. He'd already won us over with BTR / Darkness plus there were those amazing '78 live recordings. Perhaps he hadn't quite won over some elements of the UK rock press - but who cares what those tossers thought? 

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9 minutes ago, Demos said:

Can't speak for other Euro countries but in the UK by 1981 Springsteen had a fairly large and fanatical fan base. He'd already won us over with BTR / Darkness plus there were those amazing '78 live recordings. Perhaps he hadn't quite won over some elements of the UK rock press - but who cares what those tossers thought? 

I’m not sure what fairly large means in U.K. terms.  Prior to the ‘81 tour  In the States Springsteen had not yet broken though as a major (filling arenas ALL OVER as opposed to just LA and the east coast) rock act.  He had yet to have any radio hits.  His reputation as a monster live act was in tact, and that certainly helped but as the ‘81 tour began he was not the commercial giant of 1984-85.     

And regarding the press:  Springsteen cared a great deal what those tossers thought.  His manager was one of those tossers and they both knew how important those tossers were to building a local act into a national and international cultural force.  And they used those tossers to do just that.  

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2 hours ago, Wout said:

6 pounds!? 

 :o 

£5.50 Birmingham! London weighting no doubt!

image.jpg

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