Apollo (Crystal Cat Records CC 990-992)
Disc 1: Intro Mel Karmazin / Hosts Meg Griffin & Dave March / We Take Care Of Our Own / Wrecking Ball / Badlands / Death To My Hometown / My City Of Ruin / The E Street Shuffle / Jack Of All Trades / Shackled And Drawn / Waitin’ On A Sunny Day / The Promised Land / Mansion On The Hill
Disc 2: The Way You Do The Things You Do / 634-5789 / The Rising / We Are Alive / Thunder Road / Rocky Ground / Land Of Hope And Dreams – People Get Ready / Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out / Hold On, I’m Comin’ / Outro: Meg Griffin & Dave March / Surprise, Surprise*
Disk 3 ( Bonus disk) : Various Interviews pre show at the Apollo Theatre including Max Weinberg, Jon Landau and Willie Nile.
Released less than a month after the show itself and within a week of it’s nearest rival, the Godfather release “Folk ‘N’ Roll In The Temple Of Soul”, the newest Springsteen release from the Crystal Cat stable features the show broadcast from the Apollo Theatre on SirusXM Satellite radio.
There really isn’t much left to say after Cliff’s long and exhaustive review and as this release comes from practically the same source as the Don’s version there really isn’t much difference either. The only thing the Cat has really added is the additional track “Surprise, Surprise” from the Soldiers and Sailors Hall, Pittsburgh, PA on the 4th of November 2011 and the free bonus disk that features lengthy pre – show interviews with Max Weinburg, John Landau and Willie Nile discussing topics such as tonight’s soundcheck, the amount of songs that the band have accumulated, playing their first show without dear, departed Clarence, the importance of playing at the Apollo and, of course, the new album that they’re here to promote.
As the show is essentially the same on both disks – The Godfather release has a touch more bass but not that it makes much difference at all – so we’ll skip that part and aim straight for the bonus track on disk two.
“Surprise, Surprise” is from a slightly distant audience recording in which the audience can be heard singing along for the first few lines, hollering Bruce’s name. The Cat also omits the 2 minute explanation of how the song came to be – possibly due to time restrictions we can only assume – but I’m presuming that anyone who is a Bruce fan already knows the background ( Shades of Paul McCartney’s oft – told story of how “Yesterday” came to be. )
To say the song was played, as the name might suggest, as a surprise for the crowd then the audience sing it like they’d learned it at school and lift Bruce through the rendition.
The packaging, as also pointed out in Cliff’s review is a trifold digipack much like the Godfather’s packaging but instead of printing the eyewitness review ( Uncredited and I’m blowed if I can find where it’s from ) in the inner panel and place it within the 20 page booklet that’s inside.
Now, there’s a crux to all of this bandying about how the Cat seems to be jumping on the bandwagon on the packaging front and it’s that the Crystal Cat project seems a little rushed in that the some of the photos used are blown up above usability and while some of the photo’s inside the booklet are as good as they should be, the outer package looks a little messy. It’s obviously the music that really counts and while no bootlegger could have messed up this project sound-wise by looks, this isn’t the Cats best results.
In the end it squares up to be how big a Bruce fan you are. The show not withstanding, if you enjoy your rock, pop and soul you will have nothing to sway you from picking up either set if you see them. If you are a true, blue, dyed-in-the-wool Broose fan who has to collect everything then the CC package has it all.
Dependent on how your dealer works out his or her margins then you shouldn’t pay more than a few pounds, euros or dollars more for the Crystal Cat set if you’re lucky ( Remember, interviews cannot generally be copy-righted in the same way music can so the addition of a free disk should mean it is free. )