Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

  • Live/1975-1985 [Columbia, 1986] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Live/1975-1985 [Columbia, 1986]
Any event this public will provoke backlash, and any album this monumental is sure to arouse unreasonable expectations and unlikely to satisfy the reasonable ones. So if not one of the eight songs from Born in the U.S.A. improves on the studio version, how bad does that make them? If what little remains of the mid-'70s shows that turned him into a legend is overblown enough to make you wonder if you got taken, trust yourself. If the three new originals and four covers don't leap out, figure they weren't supposed to. This album is about continuity and honest reassurance, a job very well done. Although it takes some smart chances (e.g., "War"), it wasn't meant to shock or enlighten or redefine--it was meant to sum up, and it does. There isn't one of its ten sides that excites me end to end, and there isn't one I couldn't play with active pleasure now or five years from now. If anything, it isn't long enough. A-