Amsterdam Magic Night (Crystal Cat Records CC 891-93)
Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands – 18 June 2008
Disc 1: Intro/The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze, Out In The Street, Radio Nowhere, Lonesome Day, The Promised Land, Spirit In The Night, The River, Gypsy Biker, Prove It All Night, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Darlington County, Because The Night, She’s The One
Disc 2: Livin’ In The Future, Mary’s Place, I’m On Fire, Backstreets, The Rising, Last To Die, Long Walk Home, Badlands, Girls In Their Summer Clothes
Disc 3: Summertime Blues, Stand On It, Seven Nights To Rock, Born To Run, Bobby Jean, Dancing In The Dark, American Land
Bonus Tracks: Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO, USA – 24 August, 208: Ricky Wants a Man Of Her Own, Cynthia, Boys, It’s All Over Now, Devils & Dust, Save The Last Dance For Me, Rockin’ All Over The World
As I stated in my review of San Siro Magic Night, Crystal Cat have recently issued several shows already released on the Godfather label. This release duplicates the Amsterdam concert which originally appeared on Godfather in July 2008 as Come On Man…Stand On It! Consequently, readers are directed to my review of the Godfather issue for comments on the quality of the performance; here I shall concentrate on comparative issues of sound quality, packaging and bonus tracks.
In my review of Come On Man…Stand On It! I referred to the sound quality as “very good, although not outstanding.” The new Crystal Cat release represents an improvement in sound quality. The tape used for Amsterdam Magic Night boasts a fuller, clearer and more detailed sound picture. This does mean that it picks up more clapping, cheering and singing from the audience, though this is not inappropriate considering the loose and raucous nature of this show.
Godfather’s release comes in the usual tri-fold packaging, the stye of which I like very much, and I commented in my review that there were some “superb colour photographs from the show.” However, as with the recently reviewed San Siro Magic Night, Crystal Cat have once again outdone themselves with the quality of their packaging. The thick jewel case features double-sided front and back inserts with the front cover showing the photo of Springsteen with a bunch of sunflowers which has already appeared on the rear panel of Godfather’s sleeve. There is a twenty-page booklet with a further selection of photographs from the show, the cover showing the same shot of Springsteen bedecked with an orange garland as appears on the front of Godfather’s sleeve, and the now-customary single sheet with tour dates on one side and the handwritten setlist on the other. Furthermore, as with San Siro Magic Night, there is a trifold booklet which contains further photographs, including a striking shot of the packed stadium, and Michael Alexander Verhoeff’s account of the show from Springsteen’s official website. As always with Crystal Cat the booklet and inserts are printed on glossy paper and the discs themselves are printed in full colour. The overall effect is stunning.
Crystal Cat provides us with seven bonus tracks from the last show of the Magic Tour in Kansas City. All have previously appeared on Godfather releases. Ricky Wants A Man Of Her Own, Cynthia and Devil & Dust feature as bonus tracks on Lyin’ In The Heat Of The Night, which showcases the St. Louis concert of 23 August, and the rest appear on the compilation of Magic Tour cover versions, Born To Be Wild (see my earlier reviews). Sound quality is comparable to the Godfather versions, though some listeners may discern a fraction more immediacy in Crystal Cat’s sound. By contrast, Godfather’s Amsterdam release contains five bonus tracks from the Cardiff show of 14 June 2008: From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come), Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Blinded By The Light, Jungleland and Thunder Road. These are splendid performances in excellent sound quality and, to my knowledge, they have not appeared elsewhere.
Obssessive collectors, or those fortunate enough to be unaffected by budgetary constraints, may wish to additionally acquire the Godfather release for the impressive bonus tracks; the majority, seeking the best version of the Amsterdam show, are now directed towards this Crystal Cat release.