As Bruce Springsteen stepped onto British soil for the first time in 1975, this lost footage, Hammersmith Odeon London ’75, was recorded, remaining unreleased until ‘Born to Run’ reached its thirtieth birthday. It chronicles the start of a glorious career.
Having just graduated from the bars of New Jersey, the E Street band sound tight and surprisingly intricate, more like a Jazz/Funk infused quintet than the representation of the American worker that they would become. The perfectly measured bass and organ parts and the guttural saxophone combine with Springsteen and Van Zandt’s showmanship in ‘Spirit in the Night’ where Springsteen dives into a gap between the stage shouting “where’s my hat?” while the band continues to plod along.
With such a climax occurring in the third song, it is hard to imagine where this set could possibly proceed. But this is no problem at all with a gigantic rendition of both ‘Jungleland’ and ‘Rosalita’ and some impressive extended versions taking the average song time to well over eight minutes. Finishing off with a cover of Gary U.S. Bonds’s ‘Quarter to Three’ begs for the party to continue, as it indeed did. A great find; an exceptional live album.