ACROSS THE BORDER
Where the banned are
Released 41 years ago today. It's aged nicely.
While I really enjoyed the River album, I've got to admit I had a hard time absorbing it all at first, and the value of some of the songs eluded me. The thing that made me appreciate The River fully was the release of Nebraska. That album blew me away from the get-go, and suddenly the whole River album kicked in for me. The atmosphere, the lyrics. I can't really articulate why it worked this way for me, but I associate Nebraska with The River just as much as I associate it with BItUSA.
Didn't Bruce say writing the song The River led directly to his writing Nebraska?
Top 5 for me. It’s also the first album that I had to get on first day of release.
I had become a fan over the prior year or so. The radio replays of 78 shows on New York’s WNEW hooked me. The River cemented my devotion going forward.
I vividly remember getting out of school, running to the big department store next to my high school and getting that fresh vinyl right out of the box. Then the bus ride home to the turntable. …then cranking it up!
It was probably nudged out of my top 5 by WS, but it has a very special place in my heart and the tour - nothing will ever top that.
Feel the same way about the tour. 2 of the greatest nights of my life and yes I have shared that with the significant other!
Around place 8,9, I guess for me. Some great songs on the double album, some sadly underrated (Point Blank, Jackson Cage...) The original tour was magnificent, and this is the only album that got a reunion tour, with the unprecedented approach of playing the album in its entirety night after night. Well, in some parts of the world....
I'm an accountant, and that's why these facts probably seem worth mentioning.😋
The River 2016 Tour was the top grossing worldwide tour of 2016 pulling in $268.3 million globally and was the highest-grossing tour since 2014 for any artist topping Taylor Swift's 2015 tour which grossed $250.1 million. Springsteen and the E Street Band also hold the biggest Boxscore for 2016, with the May 27 and 29 shows at Dublin's Croke Park taking in $19,228,100 from 160,188 attendance for two sellout shows.
Arguably, album wise it is the best one stop shop to get a taste of everything Bruce is great at. Which, I suppose, is understandable given it is a double album and Bruce himself states the aim was to cover the joyous party music alongside the more serious and sombre material.
On the other hand, whenever a discussion starts up amongst fans speculating how you would 'improve' a Bruce album by swapping in out-takes, a majority of the conversation appears to centre on rebuilding The River album from the wealth of material he had at the time.
In all my efforts, I don't think I've ever come up with an alternative that topped Buce's sequence. I still think some of the outtakes are among the best songs from those sessions, but, for instance, I can't fit the magnificent Roulette properly into the album no matter where I put it.
He could have released a triple album rather than a double, though, without losing any of its integrity.
@Jerseyfornia: Here's a quote from Wikipedia's entry for The Clash's Sandinista!:
According to Joe Strummer, the decision to release a triple-LP was their way of mocking CBS for resisting their desire to release London Calling as a double album, then releasing Bruce Springsteen's double album The River less than a year later. Strummer took pleasure in the abundance, saying "It was doubly outrageous. Actually, it was triply outrageous."
If only The River had been a triple album, we could have enjoyed a quadruple album by The Clash!
Top 3 album for me and best (original 80/81) tour. Title track Has always been my favourite Bruce song.
I'm with you on the tour. Sacrilege among the fan base, but I think it slays the Darkness tour. The River tour built and expanded on everything that had come before and the band sounds bigger than the same seven guys did two years earlier. It was widescreen Springsteen.
@Jerseyfornia I obviously never saw either a Darkness or River show live in person. The Darkness tour has always loomed large for us who can only go back and listen in hindsight due to the 5 heavy hitting broadcast bootlegs. But now that we have several professional quality officially released River shows that we can compare directly to similarly presented Darkness shows (I.e. we are no longer needing to account for sound quality and can simply compare performance against performance) I agree with you. On band performance, musical and emotional range, and most particularly Bruce's vocals, I'll take 80/81 ahead of 78 now.
Of course, a live show is just that... a SHOW. By definition, there is a visual element beyond just the criteria listed above. So someone who has been lucky enough to actually see and experience both tours live in person may have a differing opinion.
I always know it's a few months older than my son as I played it incessantly when I was at home with a baby.
Jaysus, where's the time gone?
Down the river.
It's sixth or seventh for me, but as you say, that hardly takes away from how great it is.
Where does it fit my fellow Bordercrossers' Bruce LP rankings? Top 10? Top 5? #1?
For me, it does't quite crack the Top 5, which says more about how I feel about some of his other albums than it does about this phenomenal piece of art.