Wherever This Flag’s Flown (Apocalypse Sound AS 207)
Hard Rock Calling, Hyde Park, London, UK – 4 July, 2012: Thunder Road, Shackled And Drawn, Because the Night, We Are Alive, I Saw Her Standing There, Twist and Shout, Goodnight Irene; Isle Of Wight Festival, Seaclose Park, Isle Of Wight, UK – 24 June, 2012: Wrecking Ball, Death To My Hometown, Shackled And Drawn, Twist And Shout; Pinkpop Festival, Landgraaf, The Netherlands – 28 May, 2012: Death To My Hometown, Spirit In The Night, I’m On Fire, Shackled And Drawn; Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Studio 6B, GE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY, USA – 27 February, 2012: We Take Care Of Our Own, Wrecking Ball; 2 March, 2012: Sexy And I Know It, Death To My Hometown, Jack of All Trades, The E Street Shuffle; 54th Annual Grammy Awards, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA – 12 February, 2012: We Take Care Of Our Own
In my review of the Godfather release Seekin’ Shelter From The Storm, I referred to the label as, “the only label to be chronicling the Wrecking Ball Tour,” (though Crystal Cat is about to release its recordings of the London and Gothenburg shows), and now Godfather’s sister label supplements the numerous CD issues with a DVD of broadcast performances, which ensures high quality picture and sound, though does make for some repetition of material.
The disc kicks off with the Hyde Park show, broadcast on Sky Arts in the UK and Palladia in the USA. The songs have already appeared in audio-only form on the Godfather CD Twist And Shush and readers are directed to my review of that release for fuller comments on the performance. I found that this DVD added an enjoyable visual dimension, giving viewers the chance to focus on, for example, Nils Lofgren’s energetic whirling during his guitar solo on Because The Night, Cindy Mizelle during her vocal slot on Shackled And Drawn, and, of course, Springsteen and Paul McCartney together on stage for I Saw Her Standing There and Twist And Shout.
Next comes a terrific quartet of songs from the Isle of White Festival, also broadcast on Sky Arts: Wrecking Ball, Death To My Hometown, Shackled And Drawn and Twist And Shout, of which tremendously energetic versions of Wrecking Ball and Shackled And Drawn are the highlights. Before Twist And Shout Springsteen tells the audience that he had heard there would be fireworks, and that the band would not leave the stage before seeing them, and so the song comes with the accompaniment of a spectacular fireworks display. Referring to his tumble down the stairway at the previous show in Manchester, Springsteen introduces Curt Ramm as, “Curt Ramm and his flying trumpet!”
As in 2009, Springsteen headlined the Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf. Here we get four songs: Death To My Hometown, Spirit In The Night, I’m On Fire and Shackled And Drawn. The show is noteworthy as the first occasion that Michelle Moore joined the “E Street Choir” for the entire performance. Spirit In The Night sees Springsteen forgetting the words, and, after two or three unsuccessful attempts to get it right, he is bailed out by a member of the audience, who provides the correct lyrics. The song is also marred by loud fireworks, which, irritatingly, can be heard but not seen, so that the tracklisting adds “(w/fireworks)” to the song title.
The final substantial section of the disc consists of performances recorded on 27 February and 2 March for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and broadcast on 28 February and 3 March. From the former broadcast we get We Take Care Of Our Own and Wrecking Ball, which feature trumpeter Curt Ramm but not the remainder of the horn section. Then we see Jimmy Fallon impersonating Neil Young and performing a spoof of LMFAO’s Sexy And I Know It, which causes much hilarity among the audience. Part way through the song he is joined by Springsteen, who appears as a parody of his Born In The U.S.A.- era self (see above). This is a reprise of Springsteen’s 2010 appearance on the show, when Fallon and Springsteen performed Willow Smoth’s Whip My Hair. On that occasion, Springsteen appeared as his Born To Run-era self. After this, as Brucebase describes, “Bruce and the E Street Band are joined by Tom Morello for the live premieres of ‘Death To My Hometown’ and ‘Jack Of All Trades,’ accompanied by the tour horn section of Curt Ramm, Barry Danielian, Ed Manion, Jake Clemons and Clark Gayton. Show closer is an uproarious ‘The E Street Shuffle’ with The E Street Band, Tom Morello and The Roots,” the show’s house band.
Finally, there is the performance of We Take Care Of Our Own from the Grammy Awards. For this song, which also appears on Twist And Shush, Springsteen and the E Street Band were augmented most effectively by a fourteen-piece string section. Readers are again directed to my earlier review for fuller comments.
This release comes with the usual Apocalypse Sound tri-fold packaging. The front shows Springsteen with McCartney, with Fallon and alone and there are also numerous other onstage shots, both in colour and black-and-white. It does not include all available broadcast footage; there are six songs (Spirit In The Night, Because The Night, No Surrender, She’s The One, I’m On Fire and Shackled And Drawn) from the Rock In Rio show in Lisbon on 3 June which have appeared on a couple of DVD-R releases. It would have been nice had they been included here. However, most of what is here appears on factory-produced discs for the first time. To my knowledge, only the footage from the second Late Night With Jimmy Fallon broadcast and the Grammy Awards are available elsewhere on this medium, on the Pignon release Back On Thunder Road, which also includes two interviews from Fallon’s show. Overall, this release is a pleasing visual addendum to Godfather’s numerous Wrecking Ball Tour CDs.