Columnist CJ LaCava|
(Born in NJ and now in the UK)
Year 2001 in Review, Live In NYC and Tramps Like Us
Posted on February 23, 2002 @ 7:00PM GMT
The year 2001 wasn’t a good one for the Stone Pony London or myself. I moved my family between countries twice, work has become a fight for survival due to the downturn in the technology sector and the server was hacked and taken out of service for over six months. I’ve not been able to spend a lot of time on these WWW pages either. Hopefully that will change this year.
The year wasn’t a total loss. I really enjoyed my time in Dublin, the Live in New York CD and DVD finally came out, Springsteen’s My City in Ruins opened the Tribute to Heroes show, and the five holiday shows in Asbury Park were even more memorable than last year (the Dec 7th show soon to released by CC as Jingle Bell Night). Now we know Bruce is in Atlanta with the E Street Band recording with a new producer. Someone on the SPL message board joked, “Next year at this time we’ll be asking for artwork for ‘The Atlanta Sessions’ bootleg.” Let’s hope not!
Live in New York City
There was so much doubt at the end of the reunion tour about this release. Many sources were reporting that the project was dead or at least on hold indefinitely. Then there was the uproar about the HBO concert: would the CD/DVD include more material? Why doesn’t he just release the whole concert?
Now the final product is out there for history to judge. We all wish we could be privy to the conversations about what should be included and what is to be locked in the vault. The CD was in my car’s player for months and months. I love the full version of Tenth Avenue Freeze-out. While many people seem to pine for powerful, poignant versions from the Darkness and Born in the USA tours, I can’t get enough of the ‘Its Alright’ and ‘legendary E Street Band’ section at the end. I think it has a lot to do with the spirit of the tour.
Then there are the gems on the second disc: the versions of Jungleland and Lost in the Flood will most certainly become legendary. Ramrod and Born in the USA sound even better than I remember them. The bonus tracks make a superb coda to the whole HBO special.
I was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. I’ve been down Main Street thousands of times and bought a lot of music at Jack’s Music Shop while growing up over there. I could not believe it when I read about Bruce’s midnight appearance there the day the CD was released. What a fantastic gesture to his fans that was. I was lucky enough to buy one of the signed CDs from that night (via eBay and RMAS). It has been framed and has a place of honour on my office wall at home. I’ll always treasure it as well as the music that was given to us the day Live in New York City was released.
Then Came the DVD!!
At Jack’s in Red Bank, Bruce said there would be more material on the DVD – and he wasn’t kidding. I think I enjoy the second disc more than the first. While I know the community would have rather just have an entire show from beginning to end, I think we got just about all he could give us given the circumstances. The HBO Special would cease to exist unless it was released as part of the DVD and I just don’t think Bruce could get away with that.
Light of Day is great to see again from the comfort of my living room. I just wish the CC Rider bit wasn’t cut out of the middle – that was a big moment during the shows I saw in New York and I guess I’ll just have to relive it via the bootlegs or the Show a Little Faith VCD from June 26.
Finally, where are all the new tunes? Code of Silence opened all of the shows in New York yet it is missing from the CD and DVD. Maybe these tunes are being reworked right now in Atlanta. Time will tell.
Tramps Like Us
Tramps Like Us is a documentary that covers Springsteen’s return to NJ with the E Street Band in 1999. That summer, Bruce and the boys sold out 15 shows at the Continental Airlines Area. There was a massive tailgate party in the parking lot before each show where fans from all over the world descended on New Jersey to see these special shows firsthand.
This documentary does a great service to the Springsteen community. The filmmakers have really captured the essence of why Bruce’s music, live shows and community of fans are so important and so unique. They even head out to Freehold and Asbury Park to show the crowds of fans taking tours of these areas. This made me laugh (though I must admit I brought a mate from the UK to Federicies in Freehold for pizza during the NYC stand in 2000).
A few parts of the show really did bring a tear to my eye – mostly because I could really relate to what was being discussed. I’ll admit that the video made me homesick. When I was in high school in Holmdel, most of us couldn’t wait to graduate and get the hell out. Now I sometimes wonder why I felt that way. After I watched Tramps Like Us I felt like I was there for a few minutes – talking to the other fans, soaking up the atmosphere and experiencing the anticipation of that night’s show. It was an enjoyable experience.
The makers of Tramps Like Us are still selling the video. We should really be supporting the effort that went into making this documentary. It took a lot of time, effort and money to put it together. Also, the filmmakers made two considerable donations that went to rebuild the Stone Pony London FTP server.
It comes in both NTSC and PAL formats and can be purchased for $29.99 including shipping and it can be ordered on-line via Amazon.com (credit cards accepted and don't forget to leave your e-mail address when you order). You’ll be glad you did.