Bruce Springsteen with The Sessions Band Live in Dublin is a two CD (and optionally a DVD) of concert performances recorded over three nights in Dublin in November 2006. Previously the band had been billed as the Seeger Sessions Band but that had caused early parts of the tour to be poorly attended.
That’s a great shame because anyone who comes to this album with an open mind will want to have had the chance to join in the fun personally. That’s my warning that in no way is this a traditional Springsteen album.
In fact, it’s almost as if this album has been beamed in from a parallel universe where Springsteen didn’t record Born To Run, Darkness, The River and Born In The USA but continued the inspiration of his first two albums with a deep interest in folk and jazz influenced music.
This has opened my eyes. It seems that I was very blinkered about Springsteen. Anything between 1974 and 1978 is fantastic and essential. The rest ranges from very good to OK. Bruce with the E Street Band is better than without.
Listening to this album time and time tells me that I was wrong and I should pay more attention.
Review of Bruce Springsteen with The Sessions Band Live in Dublin
Set List Rating – 9/10
- Atlantic City – 5:10 (originally on the studio album Nebraska)
- Old Dan Tucker – 3:31 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- Eyes on the Prize – 6:03 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- Jesse James – 5:35 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- Further On (Up The Road) – 5:55 (The Rising)
- O Mary Don’t You Weep – 6:57 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- Erie Canal – 4:34 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- If I Should Fall Behind – 5:13 (Lucky Town)
- My Oklahoma Home – 8:25 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- Highway Patrolman – 5:47 (Nebraska)
- Mrs. McGrath – 5:03 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live – 3:20 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- Jacob’s Ladder – 6:59 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- Long Time Comin’ – 4:48 (Devils & Dust)
- Open All Night – 8:04 (Nebraska)
- Pay Me My Money Down – 5:59 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- Growin’ Up – 4:31 (Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey)
- When The Saints Go Marching In – 5:12 (a traditional gospel song, first recorded by
- Louis Armstrong)
- This Little Light Of Mine – 3:08 (a traditional gospel song written by Harry Dixon Loes)
- American Land – 4:17 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
- Blinded By The Light – 4:41 (Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey)
- Love Of The Common People – 4:39 (originally recorded by John Hurley)
- We Shall Overcome – 5:46 (We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions)
In total that’s 123 minutes of fascinating music that unfortunately leaves me wanting more. Having checked the set list I know that extra songs were played:
- 17 November – John Henry, Devils & Dust, My City Of Ruins, You Can Look (But You’d Better Not Touch)
- 18 November – John Henry, Johnny 99, Bobby Jean, The River, Shenandoah, You Can Look (But You’d Better Not Touch),
- 19 November – John Henry, The Ghost Of Tom Joad, For You, Jesus Was My Only Son,
Wikipedia report that there has been a PRS bonus for donations which added five of these missing songs – Bobby Jean, The Ghost of Tom Joad, Johnny 99, For You and My City of Ruins. Even more songs were done at other venues on the tour.
This is such an interesting concert that I’m greedy for everything I can get. The missing track make me think that I’ll be asked to buy the album again when there is a special edition.
Performance Rating – 10/10
I can’t remember ever hearing an album with so many different styles of music. It’s hard to describe as it brings together folk, country, jazz, gospel and rock in a way that seems to make perfect sense.
I also can’t remember an album where it’s clear that the performers are having so much fun.
The Sessions band is big and diverse. As well as Bruce Springsteen we have:
- Sam Bardfeld – violin, vocals
- Art Baron – sousaphone, trombone, mandolin, penny whistle, euphonium
- Frank Bruno – acoustic guitar, vocals, field drum
- Jeremy Chatzky – Bass guitar, double bass
- Larry Eagle – drums, percussion
- Clark Gayton – trombone, vocals, percussion
- Charles Giordano – accordion, piano, Hammond organ, vocals
- Curtis King Jr. – vocals, percussion
- Greg Leisz – banjo, vocals
- Lisa Lowell – vocals, percussion
- Ed Manion – tenor and baritone saxophones, vocals, percussion
- Cindy Mizelle – vocals, percussion
- Curt Ramm – trumpet, vocals, percussion
- Marty Rifkin – steel guitar, dobro, mandolin
- Patti Scialfa – acoustic guitar, vocals
- Marc Anthony Thompson – acoustic guitar, vocals
- Soozie Tyrell – violin, vocals
Looking through the instruments gives you some idea of the many different sounds you’ll hear. I think you’ll be astonished (perhaps shocked) at how different some of the well known Springsteen songs sound when they are given the Sessions Band treatment.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Further on up the road
If I Should Fall Behind
Atmosphere and Authenticity – 9/10
The majority of the crowd are very enthusiastic although it sounds like someone may want the normal Springsteen. I can’t decide if some is booing with disgust between songs of wooing in excitement.
It’s a good time concert and I feel the good times when I play it.
I have deducted one mark for authenticity as part of the ying and yang of my rating system. The originality shown in adapting the songs gained points in the performance sector but this is far removed from the normal rocking Springsteen or gloomy acoustic version heard of albums like Nebraska and Tom Joad.
Overall Rating – 28/30
I love it and it slots in behind my current favourite Springsteen album Hammersmith Odeon 75. I suspect it would also fall behind a well recorded version of one of his 1978 Darkness tour gigs. They are the albums I’d play if I want to hear Bruce Springsteen live.
I think it’s the most interesting thing he’s done for many years but it doesn’t have a place in my Springsteen mindshare. Instead it’s created a new category where it stands on its own as good time folk, country, roots music.
If you love or hate Springsteen, I urge you to listen to it without any preconceptions.
What Other People Say
Buying Bruce Springsteen And The Sessions Band Live In Dublin
You can get this live album from:
Other Bruce Springsteen Live Albums
- Bruce Springsteen Live At The Main Point, Bryn Mawr 1975
- Bruce Springsteen Hammersmith Odeon London 75
- Bruce Springsteen Live At The Capitol Theater, Passiac NJ 1978
- Bruce Springsteen Live 1975 – 85
- Bruce Springsteen Live In New York City 2000
Is Live In Dublin the best Bruce Springsteen live albums?
Please cast your votes in my poll and you can see what other readers think.
What Are The Best Live Albums Of All Time?
This album is hard to classify but I’ve included it in the poll to find the best folk and folk rock live albums.
My aim is to help you to find the best live albums through readers polls, my own reviews and from bringing in Amazon reviews.
You can see the complete list of readers polls at Live Album Polls.
If You Like This, I Think You Will Also Like…
This is a unique live album and, when I’m in the mood, I think it’s terrific. It’s quite hard to think of similar albums but here goes:
- Ronnie Lane Live At Rockpalast 1980
- Bob Dylan Live 1975 The Rolling Thunder Revue – Dylan rocks out with a big band
- Bob Dylan At Budokan 1978 – another big band behind Dylan but this time, the songs get a Las Vegas style workout. It sounds horrible but I really like it.
- Grateful Dead Europe 72 – the Dead as country rockers.