In The Heart Of American Life (Eat A Peach EAP 9/10/11)
Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA, USA – 1 November, 1980
Disc 1: Born To Run, Out In The Street, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Independence Day, Factory, For You, Two Hearts, Jackson Cage, The Promised Land, Prove It All Night, The Price You Pay, The River
Disc 2: Badlands, Thunder Road, No Money Down/Cadillac Ranch, Hungry Heart, Fire, Candy’s Room, Because The Night, Fade Away, Stolen Car, The Ties That Bind, Wreck On The Highway, Point Blank, Crush On You, Ramrod
Disc 3: You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch), Drive All Night, Backstreets, [Stagger Lee/]Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)[/Hail To The Chief], Jungleland, Sweet Little Sixteen, Detroit Medley/I Hear A Train/Wabash Cannonball
In The Heart Of American Life is Eat A Peach’s take on the recently unearthed Mike Millard tape of Springsteen’s splendid LA show of 1 November 1980. There have been three other releases, all of which I have already reviewed: The Live’r In The River (Tarantura), Los Angeles 1980 3rd Night (no label) and The River Live (Original Masters Series). Comments on the performance are contained in my review of the Tarantura release.
As I stated in previous reviews, the sound of Tarantura’s version of the show has more immediacy and impact that that of the no label and Original Masters issues, but at the expense of a high level of hiss, which I found distracting. I also expressed a slight preference for the sound of the no label release, which I thought had slightly more presence than the Original Masters version. Of those two, the new Eat A Peach title is, to my ears, closer in sound to the no label version; occasionally, however (such as in Candy’s Room), I felt that the sound of this new release came across as slightly more refined. I would stress, though, that the differences that I discern in the sound of the three versions are marginal.
At The Heart Of American Life is handsomely packaged in Eat A Peach’s distinctive single card sleeve. Three inner sleeves house the discs and there is also a foldover insert with notes credited to “Billy Devon.” The sleeves and insert feature numerous onstage and posed shots from the era of The River album, as well as images of promotional material from the tour, and the overall effect is most attractive. The “Tour 80” poster forms the basis of the designs on the discs themselves.
Overall, my recommendation for this show remains Original Masters’ The River Live for the simple reason that it is coupled with another excellent performance from the era, from Seattle on 24 October, a show unavailable elsewhere on factory pressed CDs and well worth having. However, if you only want the LA show, At The Heart Of American Life will do you nicely.