Bruce Springsteen – Down In The Gothenburg (Social Graces 012/013/014)

 Down In The Gothenburg (Social Graces 012/013/014)

Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Sweden – June 22nd, 2003

Disc 1 (52:18):  Promised Land, The Rising, Lonesome Day, Jackson Cage, My Love Will Not Let You Down, Atlantic City, Empty Sky, The River, Waiting On A Sunny Day

Disc 2 (70:25):  Darlington County, Growing Up, Worlds Apart, Badlands, She’s The One, Mary’s Place, Racing In The Street, Into The Fire, No Surrender

Disc 3 (68:42):  Thunder Road, Hungry Heart, Ramrod, Born To Run, Detroit Medley, City Of Ruins, Land Of Hope And Dreams, Dancing In The Dark, Twist And Shout

The release of Born Again (Social Graces 005) earlier this year not only gave the excellent soundboard recording of the Born To Run LP played in its entirety in 2009 in Michigan, but offered tantalizing bonus tracks as filler.  Hinting of the number and quality of more soundboard tapes from both Rising and Magic tours, it has two songs (“Atlantic City” and “My City Of Ruins”) from the June 22nd, 2003 Gothenburg gig.

The entire show has been available on an excellent audience tape and pressed on Midsummer Second Night (Crystal Cat CC 700-02).  But after the release of the bonus tracks, there were many requests made to Social Graces to release the entire Gothenburg soundboard.

Startling in its clarity, it achieves almost perfect balance between the instruments and vocals.  Every instrument is audible when it needs to be, even the secondary instruments such as the violin. The audience noise is pushed down quite a bit, but are still audible between numbers. 

The Brucebase site suggests this to be a IEM device for the hearing impaired available at the venue.  If it is, it’s not top-heavy and screechy like some, but is very nicely mixed.  

Several blemished are on the tape. Springsteen’s microphone cuts out during “Empty Sky” and the first half of “The River.”  He can be just barely heard over the other instruments.  It cuts out again for several seconds in the middle of “Racing In The Streets.”  It also has a small cut that runs from the very end of “Born To Run” to the opening of “Detroit Medley.”  Social Graces fill the gap with the excellent audience recording. 

Springsteen played two nights at the Ullvi Stadium in Gothenburg on June 21st and June 22nd.  The second of the two is one of the longest concerts of the entire Rising tour, lasting over three hours.  Gothenburg consistently gets some of the best Springsteen show.  One collector even calls it “the Philly of Europe” and Springsteen himself says “this is a real home away from home.” 

On this night the audience are treated to “Jackson Cage,” “My Love Will Not Let You Down” and the first all band version of “Growing Up” played in Europe since 1975.  “Atlantic City” is performed in the slower, all band version.

“Badlands” sees the double ending again, and “Mary’s Place” is given its penultimate performance of the tour, lasts nineteen minutes and includes a reference to “Dancing In The Streets” and Springsteen’s long band introductions.

“Ramrod” is given what in some people’s opinion is its definitive live version.  Roy Brittan gives a boogie solo that is perhaps the best of his career.  Also, “Detroit Medley” gets a rare outing.  The final encore is “Twist And Shout.”  The band ends the song, leaves the stage, and return again doing the song because  the crowd won’t stop chanting.  It is a magical end to an extraordinary performance.

Down In The Gothenburg is one of the best soundboards to surface from Lincoln Park Mark, the source mentioned on the artwork and who was responsible for many other great professional tapes.  The artwork, packaged in a quad fatboy, is tastefully done and is worth having.  

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  1. Bring on the Magic soundboards! The 2007 US and 2007 European legs of that tour were the best next to his 992000 tour since reuniting with the E-Street Band.


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