Bruce Springsteen – We Gotta Stay Cool Tonight (Godfatherecords G.R. 892/893/894)


We Gotta Stay Cool Tonight (Godfatherecords G.R. 892/893/894)

Stadio Euganeo, Padua, Italy – 31 May, 2013

Disc 1: The Ghost Of Tom Joad, Long Walk Home, My Love Will Not Let You Down, Two Hearts[/It Takes Two], Boom Boom, Something In The Night, The Ties That Bind, who, We Take Care Of Our Own, Wrecking Ball, Death To My Hometown, Spirit In The Night

Disc 2: Born To Run Album Intro, Thunder Road, Tenth-Avenue Freeze-Out, Night, Backstreets, Born To Run, She’s The One, Meeting Across The River, Jungleland

Disc 3: Shackled And Drawn, Waitin’ On A Sunny Day, The Rising, Badlands, Pay Me My Money Down, Born In The U.S.A., Dancing In The Dark, Twist And Shout[/La Bamba]

Bonus Tracks: Stadeo Eugeneo, Padua, Italy – 31 May, 2013 (pre-show): The Promised Land, Growin’ Up

We Gotta Stay Cool Tonight brings us Godfather’s take on Springsteen’s first ever performance (rescheduled from the following evening) at Padua’s Stadio Euganeo, home of Serie B football team Calcio Padova.  The show begins with a sprightly solo acoustic performance of The Ghost Of Tom Joad.  “It was a great rendition of a song that we all would like more often,” contends Mauro Regis on the Backstreet website.   Springsteen does stumble over he start of one verse, singing, “Whenever there’s a cop,” hesitating and beginning again.  A fine version of Long Walk Home is followed by two uptempo numbers, a vigorous My Love Will Not Let You Down and a nicely vibrant Two Hearts, which ends with a brief snippet of It Takes Two.

Memories of 1988’s Tunnel Of Love Express Tour are awakened by the performance, by sign request, of John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom.  “It was spectacular,” writes Regis, “a wall of sound with this horn section in perfect shape.” One member of the horn section, Ed Manion, was, of course, also present during those 1988 shows.  Although a great surprise , Boom Boom was not a tour premiere having been played in Boston in August 2012.  The next request is another highlight of the show, a beautifully haunting Something In The Night and then The Ties That Bind completes a mere trio of requests.

Very effective renditions of  three numbers from the Wrecking Ball album, We Take Care Of Our Own, Wrecking Ball and Death To My Hometown made me feel that more frequent inclusion of other songs from the album would be welcome.  Spirit In The Night then brings the initial section of the show to its conclusion.

What follows is a complete performance of Born To Run.  As with Darkness On The Edge Of London Town, Godfather makes the wise decision to place the complete album performance by itself on the second disc.  Regis effectively sums up this “epic performance” as follows:

“Silence welcomed the harmonica notes of ‘Thunder Road’ before everyone sang along.  ‘Tenth  Avenue Freeze-out’ was the moment of  memories, and ‘Backstreets’  seemed to never end – the inclusion of the ‘Sad Eyes’ portion was one of  the deepest moments of the concert.  Lights  on for ‘Born to Run’ – seeing eight-year-old-children and 70-year-old grandparents, we  all had the feeling that Springsteen’s art, his music and his words, have crossed borders, times,  and  generations.  ‘Meeting Across the River’ was probably the best performance of the night, Curt Ramm’s gorgeous trumpet leading the way for Bruce and the Professor.  Fiddle  and piano introduced the incredible story of ‘Jungleland,’ featuring  one of the best vocals performance that I ever heard form Bruce. The sound exploded then went almost silent, as Jake reminded us of the best days of Clarence.”

There were few surprises in the rest of the show with the remainder of the main set consisting of just four songs.  A splendid Shackled And Drawn allows Cindy Mizelle to make her usual very welcome vocal presence felt, and Waitin’ On A Sunny includes the customary (and in this case pretty good) singing from a child drawn from the audience.  The main set is then completed with strong performances of The Rising and Badlands.

Encore opener Pay Me My Money Down, as Regis relates, “brought a lucky fan   to the stage, a percussion player from a local band who  got to join in for a more fiesta-like rendition of the song.”  The percussion in question consisted of a washboard and spoons!  NorthSideJimmy, posting on the Greasy Lake website, describes the scene thus:

“The spoons and washboard guy explained to Bruce when he was asked up that he used to play in a band called the Fireplaces that did Bruce covers.  He was very good on his little solo and seemed as mad as a hatter, a mad professor!  Bruce and Steve loved it but I reckon Bruce was glad that he didn’t hang around for more than the one song, he sort of ushered him safely off.”

It was the start of an encore described by Regis as a “party,” though is was a relatively short celebration, as only three more songs, Born In The U.S.A., Dancing In The Dark and Twist And Shout (with a snippet of La Bamba to provide some call-and-response with the audience) followed.  In all, the show lasted for a relatively short two hours and forty-seven minutes.

As has happened on occasion of late, Springsteen took the stage more than three hours before the show began to treat those already in the venue to a couple of solo acoustic performances, in this case of The Promised Land and Growin’ Up, and Godfather includes these two songs as bonus tracks.

We Gotta Stay Cool Tonight is derived from a full, clear and nicely dynamic audience recording by Godfather’s own taper, which enhances the enjoyment of listening to this show, though there are some fluctuations in quality, with the sound occasionally become constricted.  Audience noise is distinctly present but adds to the atmosphere of the show without being overly intrusive.  The two bonus tracks are derived, in very impressive sound quality, from the Zapatista recording.  The Promised Land is subject to a brief fade-in.  This release comes with Godfather’s usual tri-fold sleeve featuring numerous onstage photographs (including a couple of the washboard and spoons guy), many more of which adorn the eight-page booklet with the customary “Joe Roberts” notes.  Overall, though not of the same exalted quality as Wembley or Turku, this is a very good and most enjoyable show, making We Gotta Stay Cool Tonight another desirable Wrecking Ball Tour release from the Godfather label.

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