Mix in hot jazz, a bit of gospel, blues, zydeco, bluegrass and country. Season with Bruce Springsteen and bake at high temperature in an Irish oven for what is perhaps the tastiest concert video of 2007.
This is not your anthemic, rock-til-you-drop, Born-in-the-USA Bruce. That energy is still there, but directed here into the American folk songbook, music written between mid 19th to mid 20th century and reflecting the concerns of the agrarian and working class, from the Oklahoma farmer of My Oklahoma Home, to the slave Old Dan Tucker, to African American dock workers of Pay Me My Money Down. This music was appropriated in the 1950's and 60's by politically active singer/songwriters such as Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, and through them the music comes down to us in the 21st century through Springsteen.
Ten of the songs from the original 2006 Seeger Sessions disc are here, as are a handful of new numbers and songs from the extended Seeger Sessions release (How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live, When the Saints Go Marching In, This Little Light of Mine, American Land, Long Time Comin'), as well as new arrangements of some of Springsteen's less well-known songs (If I Should Fall Behind, Growing Up, Blinded By the Light, Atlantic City, and Highway Patrolman).
For long time fans the old songs in new-old clothes will be unrecognizable by the opening melody alone. It's not until Bruce starts singing that your mind begins racing to place that particular set of lyrics with a title. All of these newly outfitted tunes show some inventiveness, but the ones that worked best for me were If I Should Fall Behind and Highway Patrolman, quiet performances showcasing the lyrics, and Blinded By the Light, which like it's original rock incarnation is a wild, foot-stomping show closer.
In fact most of this show will have you tapping your feet and signing along. This is a joyous performance, and you can see that the musicians are enjoying themselves as much as the audience. If you have some room in front of your television, clear out that space and get ready to dance.
About the only downside to this release is that it's not a document of one evening, but a compilation of three. In itself that decision was not as critical as the one to delete all on stage banter, including song and band introductions, often one of the more enjoyable parts of any Springsteen show. The editing work is also noticeably poor at times with the action not in sync with the sound, presumably where the director chose to insert shots from nights other than those from which the sound was recorded.
Otherwise, this is a great DVD and watching it was the most fun I've had in front of the television in months.