Mönchengladbach Wrecking Ball Night (Crystal Cat Records CC 1022-24)
Stadion im Borussia-Park, Monchengladbach, Germany – 5 July, 2013
Disc 1: Intro: Big Boss Man, Jackson Cage, My Love Will Not Let You Down, Better Days, Shake Rattle And Roll, One Way Street, Mary’s Place, Wrecking Ball, Badlands, Death To My Hometown
Disc 2: Point Blank, Trapped, The Promised Land, Hungry Heart, Man’s Job, Because The Night, Candy’s Room, She’s The One, Leap Of Faith, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), Shackled And Drawn, Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
Disc 3: Radio Nowhere, Thunder Road, Rocky Ground, Born In The U.S.A., Born To Run, Dancing In The Dark, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Rockin’ All Over The World
Bonus Tracks: Olympiastadion, Munich, Germany – 26 May, 2013: Who’ll Stop The Rain, Seaside Bar Song; AWD-Arena, Hanover, Germany – 28 May, 2013: Drift Away, Roll Of the Dice
The second of Crystal Cat’s four recent Springsteen sets (like the first, Stade De France Wrecking Ball Night, already reviewed) brings us the label’s version of a concert already issued by Godfather. I reviewed the Italian label’s release, entitled We’re Going To Play It Loose Tonight, in October 2013 and concluded that the show was “excellent,” and I also quoted Backstreets writers Karl Birthistle and Ralf Dissmann, who referred to it as, “an utterly compelling show, with excitement all the time.” Readers are directed to my review of the older release for more in-depth comments on the performance itself; this review with concentrate on a comparison of sound quality, bonus tracks and packaging.
In my review of We’re Going To Play It Loose Tonight, I commented that, “the source for this release is a punchy and dynamic audience tape that is very enjoyable to listen to, though it lacks the last ounce of clarity” and I quoted some very positive comments on sound quality from posters on the Jungleland site. However, as with Stade De France Wrecking Ball Night, Crystal Cat provides upgraded sound by utilizing an IEM/audience mix which gives the sound greater depth and clarity.
This new release has the advantage over the Godfather release with regard to bonus tracks. We’re Going To Play It Loose Tonight has none; by including Shackled And Drawn and Waitin’ On A Sunny Day on the end of disc two, Crystal Cat makes room on disc three for four additional songs from two other German shows. First up are two songs from the Munich show of 26 May. Who’ll Stop The Rain, played in response to the wet conditions, was the show’s solo acoustic opener and Seaside Bar Song, an old favourite I (and I suspect many others) first came across on the vinyl bootleg Fire On the Fingertips, was given a vivacious workout (it’s first performance in Germany) in response to a sign request. The final bonus tracks, Dobie Gray’s 1973 hit Drift Away and Roll Of The Dice, come from the Hanover show of two days later already released by Godfather with the title You And me And Lady Luck. In my review of that release, I quoted Backstreets writer Ralf Dissmann, who states that Springsteen, “started [Drift Away] by himself on an acoustic guitar, with the singers joining him for the chorus and the band joining in only at the end. A great version – one of the [show’s] many highlights.” Tour premiere Roll Of The Dice is played for the very first time in a slow solo acoustic version which is most effective.
As usual, Crystal Cat provides packaging of exemplary quality. The front and rear inserts, the twenty-eight page booklet, the additional tri-fold insert and the discs themselves also display numerous onstage photographs from the show and there are also shots of request signs made by fans, hand written and printed setlists, a ticket for the show and the customary view from the centre microphone. In addition to the track listing and list of band personnel, the booklet reproduces the Backstreets write-up of the show by Dissmann and Karl Birthistle. Crystal Cat uses its usual attractive glossy paper.
Unsurprisingly, as with the Paris release, the splendid packaging, upgraded sound and bonus tracks make Mönchengladbach Wrecking Ball Night the recommended version of this show.