happy birthday bruce!

bruce's life, disc 5

This one's a lesser disc in the context of the set. Once again, the best stuff is the lowest-fi, the best quality is the lesser material. The only time the video/sound quality matches the performance comes when Bruce shows up for Dave Letterman's last show on NBC. He joins the World's Most Dangerous Band for a raucous "Glory Days," ending the song atop Paul Shaffer's piano.

The best material comes from the Other Band tour, 25 minutes of footage from the first of the two legendary benefit shows at the Meadowlands that closed off the tour (the Letterman stint came the night after this show). He played everything that night ... "I Ain't Got No Home" to open, "This Hard Land," the Louvin Brothers' "Satan's Jewel Crown." The first song from this show to appear on the DVD is "Leap of Faith," which is the song during which Bruce would enter the audience during that tour. This time he gets kinda overwhelmed by the fans, and when they finally roll him back on stage, he's missing one of his boots! People throw their shoes to him ... finally a woman comes on stage and puts his boot back on for him, then kisses him, then rolls on top of him ... she's having fun!

Meanwhile, the concert continues with all the standards from the early 90s, along with "Because the Night" and "Who'll Stop the Rain" and a billion others. The DVD picks it up when Southside Johnny and Little Steven come on stage for "It's Been a Long Time." The Miami Horns have joined the show as well, and up comes "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," and just before the lines about the Big Man joining the band, out walks Clarence, who hasn't been on a stage with Bruce in a v.long time. They finish the song, the crowd cheers and cheers and cheers ... they love Clarence.

Finally, the DVD jumps ahead to "Havin' a Party," and a party it is ... who the hell knows who all those people are on the stage, there's the Other Band, there's Patti and Soozie, and Steve and Southside, there's women and children that I assume are related to other people on stage. It's a terrific performance from a classic concert, marred only by the low-fi quality of the video and sound, which seems to be recorded off some fan's camcorder.

Other than the above highlights, there's lots of Other Band footage, including a nice job with "Book of Dreams" (an outtake from the MTV Plugged show), there's a bunch of awards ceremonies where Bruce wins stuff for "Streets of Philadelphia," and there's a coupla pieces from Bruce in Germany with the band that appears on that weird "Hungry Heart" video.

Next up: the Tom Joad era.