Paolo's Circus Story

The Definitive Version of Every Song from Springsteen’s Archive Series

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PART 1 LINK: https://cantfindtickets.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/the-definitive-version-of-every-song-from-springsteens-archive-series-part-1/

Firstly, credit must go to @fadeaway for the idea to do this blog. 

So, another blog post, another definitive listing from me. This time it's the most subjective topic of discussion: which versions of songs we think are the best. 

You can read the full details in the blog post, but basically I've decided to find every officially released live Springsteen song played more than once and list the definitive versions of each and every one of them. 

I was originally going to do a 171 song like setlist, but that seemed daunting, so I thought I'd break it down and do 25 or so per post, meaning there's another five of these to come - don't worry though, there won't be 5 new threads like there was for the Archive Series guide. 

As mentioned, these are just my own opinions - as are all my blogs, clearly - so if there's any you disagree with (I doubt anyone will agree with them all) please, discuss and let me know which versions you consider to be definitive.

Likewise with all my Springsteen blogs, this was done to help people, primarily newer fans and archive-unaware fans, who find the amount of content a bit daunting. Enjoy! Part 2 is coming soon :)

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2 minutes ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

PART 1 LINK: https://cantfindtickets.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/the-definitive-version-of-every-song-from-springsteens-archive-series-part-1/

Firstly, credit must go to @fadeaway for the idea to do this blog. 

So, another blog post, another definitive listing from me. This time it's the most subjective topic of discussion: which versions of songs we think are the best. 

You can read the full details in the blog post, but basically I've decided to find every officially released live Springsteen song played more than once and list the definitive versions of each and every one of them. 

I was originally going to do a 171 song like setlist, but that seemed daunting, so I thought I'd break it down and do 25 or so per post, meaning there's another five of these to come - don't worry though, there won't be 5 new threads like there was for the Archive Series guide. 

As mentioned, these are just my own opinions - as are all my blogs, clearly - so if there's any you disagree with (I doubt anyone will agree with them all) please, discuss and let me know which versions you consider to be definitive.

Likewise with all my Springsteen blogs, this was done to help people, primarily newer fans and archive-unaware fans, who find the amount of content a bit daunting. Enjoy! Part 2 is coming soon :)

Alrighty!!! Thanks .. looking forward to it!! 

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Nice reading, thanks! Of course I disagree here and there, but also I think it's a good thing that versions of songs played late in Bruce's career - like Racing or Lost In The Flood - are chosen as definitive versions. It shows that there is something to those versions and they should not be shrugged off. I don't agree with those two particular choices (and the Bus Stop from Brisbane in 2014 is arguably the best), but that's just how it is. 

It's also interesting to see that a few key songs (Growin' Up and Sandy) are the same that were included in the Live box. I mentioned it before, but BruceInc really hit their mark and picked some excellent versions for the box. 

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12 hours ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

As mentioned, these are just my own opinions - as are all my blogs, clearly - so if there's any you disagree with (I doubt anyone will agree with them all) please, discuss and let me know which versions you consider to be definitive.

Maybe you should have run a poll first :P

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49 minutes ago, Born To Walk said:

Maybe you should have run a poll first :P

I concur! 

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4 hours ago, Dr. Zoom said:

Nice reading, thanks! Of course I disagree here and there, but also I think it's a good thing that versions of songs played late in Bruce's career - like Racing or Lost In The Flood - are chosen as definitive versions. It shows that there is something to those versions and they should not be shrugged off. I don't agree with those two particular choices (and the Bus Stop from Brisbane in 2014 is arguably the best), but that's just how it is. 

It's also interesting to see that a few key songs (Growin' Up and Sandy) are the same that were included in the Live box. I mentioned it before, but BruceInc really hit their mark and picked some excellent versions for the box. 

Glad it wasn't a waste of your time. While fadeaway suggested the idea I did want this to be purely my own favourites, which is why I don't mind disagreement and it's also why (even though I'm retired) I didn't do a poll asking for "help". 

You mention the Live box set so it might be worth saying don't be surprised if you see anymore versions of songs that were featured in that box included, even ones that feature in shows that haven't been released through the Archive Series yet.

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9. “Lost in the Flood”: November 22nd, 20009 – Buffalo, NY

 

I can't put my finger on it but something looks wrong about that date.

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I think the Bus Stop from Upper Darby 1975 trumps any of the latter ones. That is just off the scale energy wise, and while Bus Stop is a bit of a take it or leave it song for me I'll never skip that 75 version.

The 1980 Sandy was also for a long time my favourite version of the song, and largely for the reasons Paolo mentioned. But the recent version that came out on Roxy 1975....wow... there's something going on there I can't place my finger on, but that version is now my favourite.

As for Born In The USA.... yes yes yes, that Stockholm performance is the one. I thought MSG 88 may have trumped it, but once the excitement of 'something new' passed it was clear Stockholm is still the gold standard. They had this song absolutely nailed in 88... if there is another version to trump Stockholm, it's coming from a future 88 tour release.

The definitive Racing is yet to be released.... I think Paolo picking a 'non-Archive' version there is testament to this. I like the world weariness of Hyde Park, but the definitive Racing vocal is circa 80-81 and that's where the definitive version is lurking. If they release the show from which the 75-85 box set version is taken, that might be it. (Special mention to the Freehold 96 version... can't be definitive in that arrangement, but wow what an alternative take on the song).

 Also interested that you picked the slow versions of E Street Shuffle and For You as 'definitive'... I think you could allow yourself scope there (and in the future) for 'definitive' slow / acoustic versions versus definitive 'band' versions. My personal ones in each case would be Apollo 2012 for E Street Shuffle and Roxy 78 for For You.

Looking forward to you rating The River songs... with 20 plus full album shows plus vintage versions to dissect, good luck with that one. And now you are also going to finally need to make a call on the definitive Tenth Avenue....

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48 minutes ago, Bosstralian said:

I think the Bus Stop from Upper Darby 1975 trumps any of the latter ones. That is just off the scale energy wise, and while Bus Stop is a bit of a take it or leave it song for me I'll never skip that 75 version.

The 1980 Sandy was also for a long time my favourite version of the song, and largely for the reasons Paolo mentioned. But the recent version that came out on Roxy 1975....wow... there's something going on there I can't place my finger on, but that version is now my favourite.

As for Born In The USA.... yes yes yes, that Stockholm performance is the one. I thought MSG 88 may have trumped it, but once the excitement of 'something new' passed it was clear Stockholm is still the gold standard. They had this song absolutely nailed in 88... if there is another version to trump Stockholm, it's coming from a future 88 tour release.

The definitive Racing is yet to be released.... I think Paolo picking a 'non-Archive' version there is testament to this. I like the world weariness of Hyde Park, but the definitive Racing vocal is circa 80-81 and that's where the definitive version is lurking. If they release the show from which the 75-85 box set version is taken, that might be it. (Special mention to the Freehold 96 version... can't be definitive in that arrangement, but wow what an alternative take on the song).

 Also interested that you picked the slow versions of E Street Shuffle and For You as 'definitive'... I think you could allow yourself scope there (and in the future) for 'definitive' slow / acoustic versions versus definitive 'band' versions. My personal ones in each case would be Apollo 2012 for E Street Shuffle and Roxy 78 for For You.

Looking forward to you rating The River songs... with 20 plus full album shows plus vintage versions to dissect, good luck with that one. And now you are also going to finally need to make a call on the definitive Tenth Avenue....

Ah, yes - the definitive 10th, can't wait to see which one that is!

Because The Night from Houston 78 is likely the best... until they release Portland, December 19th 1978.

Agree with @Bosstralian regarding BITUSA, it will be very, very difficult to top that one.

I was thinking Bus Stop from Upper Darby for a bit, but Brisbane 2014 clearly stands out as being very playful and very 70-ish. Maybe I thought Bruce didn't have it in him? The breakneck speeds of the songs on the 75 shows make them hard not to choose, though. Saint In The City,for example is clearly best on either Hammersmith 75 or Upper Darby 75.

Never grew fond of Sandy from NYE 80, I actually used to f. fwd past that on the Live box. Then the Glory Days doco came along, and there was my favorite Sandy, from London 75 (dated November 24th, but it's the 18th). It's that little electric guitar figure between verses that does it for me, it sounds at odds with the sweeter tone of the song, more bitter than sweet. Roxy 75 is just as good a version. 

Racing, I absolutely agree that the definitive version is on a 80-81 recording. The one on the Live box is very, very close, but the outro has to have that chord change at the end, signalling that the song is about to end. For some reason, it's not on the Live box version. But the vocals are so, so perfect. 

For You solo piano i good, but For You from Roxy 78 is It. Fantastic version. 

E Street Shuffle is a bit more tough, but I do prefer the 2012 versions actually; the 2000 versions aren't anywhere near as tight. For a slow version, the Roxy 75 version is likely the best. 

I used to need Prove It with the intro, but the NYE 80 version makes me not miss the intro; it's the end that is relentless, Bruce just squeezes everything from the song, I'd love to see Max play there, he just keeps - or has to keep - going and going. And going. But yeah, Prove It from Passaic is probably the better, that or Houston 78.

Darkness from the Live box is my choice for definitive. In fact, every song from Darkness played in 80-81 likely has its definitive version on a recording from that tour. The placement of Darkness on the August 20th show, however, is brilliant. 

Kitty's Back: although I love Danny's lengthy organ soloing on the 75 versions, I always preferred the Passaic versions of the song. 

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1 hour ago, Bosstralian said:

The definitive Racing is yet to be released.... I think Paolo picking a 'non-Archive' version there is testament to this. I like the world weariness of Hyde Park, but the definitive Racing vocal is circa 80-81 and that's where the definitive version is lurking. If they release the show from which the 75-85 box set version is taken, that might be it. (Special mention to the Freehold 96 version... can't be definitive in that arrangement, but wow what an alternative take on the song).

Now I've started writing Part 2, I might get some criticism for not including the "Racing" from the box set given one selection, but I'll stand by Hyde Park being definitive.

1 hour ago, Bosstralian said:

 Also interested that you picked the slow versions of E Street Shuffle and For You as 'definitive'... I think you could allow yourself scope there (and in the future) for 'definitive' slow / acoustic versions versus definitive 'band' versions. My personal ones in each case would be Apollo 2012 for E Street Shuffle and Roxy 78 for For You.

Speaking of Part 2, wait until you read one of my selections there. There'll be hell on :lol:

1 hour ago, Bosstralian said:

Looking forward to you rating The River songs... with 20 plus full album shows plus vintage versions to dissect, good luck with that one.

I don't know if this counts as a spoiler, but Part 2 is going to focused on The River, so you won't have to wait long! I'm already up to "I'm a Rocker" as far as writing that goes! 

1 hour ago, Bosstralian said:

And now you are also going to finally need to make a call on the definitive Tenth Avenue....

34 minutes ago, Dr. Zoom said:

Ah, yes - the definitive 10th, can't wait to see which one that is!

There's a reason I decided to do this in parts and not write everything at once...

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1 hour ago, Bosstralian said:

I think you could allow yourself scope there (and in the future) for 'definitive' slow / acoustic versions versus definitive 'band' versions.

I forgot to respond to this. 

I originally had it written down that I'd include full band and acoustic versions as well, but as I started I felt it would be a bit much for the reader with like up to 50 possible songs mentioned. 

Maybe in future though, as you say.

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24 minutes ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

I forgot to respond to this. 

I originally had it written down that I'd include full band and acoustic versions as well, but as I started I felt it would be a bit much for the reader with like up to 50 possible songs mentioned. 

Maybe in future though, as you say.

I think it would work and be worthwhile for those songs that are well known in both formats in live performance, have a history of being performed both ways and are likely to have multiple versions of both band and acoustic performances. Thunder Road is the most obvious example, but E Street Shuffle and For You are both well known for appearing in slower / acoustic arrangements live as well as full band. The Ghost Of Tom Joad is probably another that immediately comes to mind.

As you say, it would be too cumbersome if going down the road of noting every band song that may have an occasionally played acoustic version out there or vice versa.

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6 hours ago, phantomengineer said:

9. “Lost in the Flood”: November 22nd, 20009 – Buffalo, NY

 

I can't put my finger on it but something looks wrong about that date.

None of this has happened yet, none of this has happened yet, none of this has happened yet...

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19 hours ago, Dr. Zoom said:

 

 picked some excellent versions for the box. 

Also: All Darkness songs, Because The Night, Cover Me, No Surrender and Tenth Avenue.

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41 minutes ago, Lampi said:

Also: All Darkness songs, Because The Night, Cover Me, No Surrender and Tenth Avenue.

... and Born To Run. 

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On 2/10/2019 at 12:04 AM, Paolo's Circus Story said:

I was originally going to do a 171 song like setlist, but that seemed daunting, so I thought I'd break it down and do 25 or so per post, meaning there's another five of these to come - don't worry though, there won't be 5 new threads like there was for the Archive Series guide. 

Just to clarify here. Part 1 had 25 songs, Part 2 will feature 26, the rest are going to be 30 songs per post. 

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2 hours ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

Just to clarify here. Part 1 had 25 songs, Part 2 will feature 26, the rest are going to be 30 songs per post. 

When will Part 2 hit the streets 

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9 minutes ago, davemunday said:

When will Part 2 hit the streets 

To be honest I haven't thought about it yet mate, later this week I'd guess.

I'm still not finished part 2 as it goes so it won't be posted tonight. 

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I'm really interested in how many of the definitive versions of the TOL songs you will list from later tours. I can't think of one..

Edit: Valentine's Day! 

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28 minutes ago, Silvia said:

I'm really interested in how many of the definitive versions of the TOL songs you will list from later tours. I can't think of one..

Edit: Valentine's Day! 

There's definitely one that isn't from the ToL tour. 

It's not "Valentine's Day" though because there's only one official live release of it, so it would be a bit pointless at present to include it. 

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44 minutes ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

There's definitely one that isn't from the ToL tour. 

It's not "Valentine's Day" though because there's only one official live release of it, so it would be a bit pointless at present to include it. 

I should have posted with a :D

Valentine's Day is the only TOL song which was never played on the original tour. 

And yes, pointless, having just one version. :)

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