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BTR live


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In my opinion BTR is the album that MOST comes alive on stage. The songs themselves are some of my favorite in his entire catalogue, but the studio recordings have always fallen flat for me. Any live version though and holy shit, what a powerful, epic album. After hearing the '75 and '78 versions of "She's the One," I literally have never thought to listen to the studio recording of it since. Same with '77 "Backstreets," the NYE '80 "Night," and any live "Thunder Road," "10th Ave" or "Jungleland"...

For me at least, BTR is so good live that I rarely ever listen to the studio album itself.

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I have never heard a live version of any Born to Run track I thought was superior to the original studio recording—and, yes, I have heard in some cases literally hundreds of live versions. I've heard many that were equally powerful, in different ways, but never one that was superior. It's a counterfactual so there's obviously no way to know, but the amazing version of "Thunder Road" from the Roxy in 1975, for instance, is beyond magical, but I don't think it would have nearly the (staggering!) power it has if we didn't all have the original studio recording so firmly entrenched in our minds. In fact, listening to the recent 1981 archive, I was struck by how they still hadn't learned how to play "Born to Run" live yet. 

A live version is an amazing snapshot, perfectly capturing a magical moment in time. The studio recordings are a painstakingly rendered portrait, reflecting exactly what the artist labored over, crafting until it was as perfect as they could get it. Both are or can be wonderful things, and neither is necessarily superior to the other. But if I had to pick, I'd pretty much always go with the studio version. I mean, Bruce could always go the Running on Empty route and record his new material live; the fact that he doesn't, but prefers to work on it in the studio tells me he thinks that's going to get him closer to what he's aiming for.  

Horses for courses and all that.

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5 minutes ago, Scott Peterson said:

I In fact, listening to the recent 1981 archive, I was struck by how they still hadn't learned how to play "Born to Run" live yet. 

One reason-as mentioned on this forum some time ago- Max apparently never was able to (or learned to) play Born To Run the way Ernest Carter did on the studio recording.

 

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3 hours ago, sleepyjoe said:

For me at least, BTR is so good live that I rarely ever listen to the studio album itself.

Don't give up on the studio effort.  Backstreets and Jungleland to me are transcendent.  That middle section of Backstreets starting with "endless juke joints... through "and I hated you when you went away" is my favorite Bruce vocal.  And nothing more needs to be said about the solo on Jungleland, just perfect on the record.

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Interesting. I actually consider BTR as the album that is least improved in the live setting. The album itself is just perfect as is. I’ve never heard a live version of Thunder Road, Born To Run or Jungleland that even comes close to the studio version for me.

1 hour ago, Scott Peterson said:

In fact, listening to the recent 1981 archive, I was struck by how they still hadn't learned how to play "Born to Run" live yet. 

 

I agree with this. They didn’t really nail it live until 1984/1985. Born to Run was the low point of the Darkness shows in my opinion.

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Was listening to a Bruce compilation on Spotify the other day there and Born to Run came on. 

No matter how many times I have heard that song, when it blasts off in your ears it is absolutely breathtaking.

A glorious , timeless piece of rock n roll magic that for me has never been equalled.

Always one of the highlights of any Bruce show as well...when the lights go up and the stadium is going mental.

Please that that happen again soon.

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BTR is like a living entity - maybe even a sentient being

the best moment of my life was being part of my first BTR in Moncton

nothing is yet to surpass that

and it was so loud :lol:

nothing makes me happier than to know at a particular time Bruce is playing BTR - i love that about SLV and all is well with the world

but i still think the studio version is a true masterpiece

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3 hours ago, badlands78 said:

I think the live ‘75 versions of “Thunder Road” (with only piano accompaniment) and “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” (the slow version) are inferior to the album versions.

Completely agree. '85 Thunder Road on the other hand is simply magical though IMO

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3 hours ago, Declansk said:

I’ve never heard a live version of Thunder Road, Born To Run or Jungleland that even comes close to the studio version for me.

I do agree that BTR the song cannot be topped. You have a solid argument for Jungleland, but something about the live ambience and consistently rousing crowd participation really heightens it for me personally. And nailing that sax solo live? Can't top that in a show

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2 hours ago, sleepyjoe said:

I do agree that BTR the song cannot be topped. You have a solid argument for Jungleland, but something about the live ambience and consistently rousing crowd participation really heightens it for me personally. And nailing that sax solo live? Can't top that in a show

i would prefer to see Jungleland retired

i know its Bruce's song not Clarence's and i know Jake is really growing into the sax part but its just not the same without the big man

it could make the odd appearance in full album shows but id like Bruce to play C's part on harmonica or guitar 

 

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10 minutes ago, Daisey Jeep said:

i would prefer to see Jungleland retired

i know its Bruce's song not Clarence's and i know Jake is really growing into the sax part but its just not the same without the big man

it could make the odd appearance in full album shows but id like Bruce to play C's part on harmonica or guitar 

I don't have strong feelings about it being retired, but I do have strong feelings about transcribing parts like that, and my feelings are that I love it. Make it so, Daisey. Make it happen. 

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1 minute ago, Scott Peterson said:

I don't have strong feelings about it being retired, but I do have strong feelings about transcribing parts like that, and my feelings are that I love it. Make it so, Daisey. Make it happen. 

im sure ive heard a version where Bruce played the sax parts on guitar 

i don't know where

maybe a studio demo - dedinatly not live 

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30 minutes ago, Daisey Jeep said:

i know its Bruce's song not Clarence's and i know Jake is really growing into the sax part but its just not the same without the big man

 

I agree with this wholeheartedly, although my one exception is Jake's very first "Jungleland" performance in Gothenburg 2012, which is achingly emotional in ways I haven't heard in any other live performance of the song

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17 hours ago, Daisey Jeep said:

im sure ive heard a version where Bruce played the sax parts on guitar 

i don't know where

maybe a studio demo - dedinatly not live 

I'm guessing the famous Main Point 75 bootleg where some of the BTR material was played in various stages of development. Aside from Jungleland with a guitar part instead of the sax, there is a Shes The One with lyrics from Backstreets and, most famously, the Wings For Wheels early incarnation of TR

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As for the discussion at hand, I'm a live BTR fan. My favorite version of the title song is the live cut used on the box set ( and subsequently in the video clip). There's no doubt some studio enhancements involved with getting that particular take to sound so grand, but I still prefer that to the all studio original 

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19 hours ago, Daisey Jeep said:

im sure ive heard a version where Bruce played the sax parts on guitar 

i don't know where

maybe a studio demo - dedinatly not live 

There is an early, fascinating work-in-progress version of Jungleland from Bottom Line July 1974 that was on various bootlegs; maybe that's what you heard?

Or maybe Main Point 1975 as said. By that time the BTR songs were still work-in-progress, but also somewhat different from the 1974 live versions (just like Something In The Night developed on tour in 1976 and 1977).

 

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I'm mostly a live BTR fan. I always felt that both Born To Run and Thunder Road reached their full potential in 1985 (no doubt thanks to the BTR and Thunder Road clips from Glory Days). They were - and are - big songs, and everything about their performances in '85 fit so well, most of all Bruce's voice. I like both studio versions, but to me they weren't released in their definitive versions, they grew into them during the BITUSA tour; much like Frankie, which finally found its perfect form in Gothenburg 2012.

Backstreets, on the other hand, is to my ears perfect on the album. Great vocals by Bruce, and although I preferred the live versions with Sad Eyes, I think I preferred them because of the Sad Eyes interlude and not necessarily the performance of the song. 

Jungleland: studio.

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2 hours ago, Dr. Zoom said:

reached their full potential in 1985 (no doubt thanks to the BTR and Thunder Road clips from Glory Days). They were - and are - big songs, and everything about their performances in '85 fit so well, most of all Bruce's voice. I like both studio versions, but to me they weren't released in their definitive versions, they grew into them during the BITUSA tour; much like Frankie, which finally found its perfect form in Gothenburg 2012.

Couldn't agree with this more. The version of "Thunder Road" on the LA '85 archive release is the one I listen to most. The tempo is perfect, sung so well (including the added quips, ie. "What are you waiting for? Climb in!"), and the music felt... like you said... big.

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58 minutes ago, sleepyjoe said:

Couldn't agree with this more. The version of "Thunder Road" on the LA '85 archive release is the one I listen to most. The tempo is perfect, sung so well (including the added quips, ie. "What are you waiting for? Climb in!"), and the music felt... like you said... big.

Yes, absolutely, even and especially the way it's sung; that tiny pause he makes ("...to make it -tiny pause - good somehow..."), for example, every little detail falls exactly and perfectly into place. Same with Born To Run, really. When Bruce & band explode into that last verse, and you imagine that this is played with full-on flood lights in a chock full stadium, with every audience member shouting the lyrics back at Bruce... shit, I need to go to a show soon, I reckon. 

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