Directed by: #ThomZimny
Netflix Film Review by: #ChrisOlson
Having been a mega fan of Bruce Springsteen for many years and seen “The Boss” live in London a few years back, I had some idea of what to expect in his newest live performance. What I was not prepared for was the utterly moving, transcendental storytelling that is loaded with a potent intimacy in this show. This is one of THE defining live recordings of all time.
Springsteen on Broadway the live shows came to a close recently and when #Netflix announced they would be showing the whole thing on their streaming service, audiences and fans worldwide rejoiced. He is a musician that has established demigod status and yet, after watching this, viewers will be taken back by his talent and humble nature.
As with any legendary music act, live albums are always wrought with playlist issues and Springsteen on Broadway is no exception. When you have recorded so many amazing songs and albums over decades, with fantastic new material (Wrecking Ball is one of my favourite Bruce albums) still emerging, it is never going to be possible to curate one ultimate setlist. What is fabulously brilliant about this show, however, is how the songs and their emotional introductions, come together to form one complete tapestry of an incredible life and journey.
Bruce himself is an enigmatic presence on stage, regaling the crowd with anecdotes and jokes aplenty. He also debunks his own rock and roll mythology and how his blue collar status is fairly undeserved. This only makes him even more of a man of the people. His heartbreaking admissions surrounding his father, his saxophone player Clarence, and his mother who inspired Dancing In The Dark are gut punchingly affecting, making the music that follows all the more poignant.
From a #filmmaking perspective the approach for Springsteen on Broadway is fairly stripped back. Lighting is used to create transitions, as with most classic theatre productions, and the swift instrument changes ensure the rock show atmosphere is never lost. There were some lovely moments where Springsteen veers away from the microphone and lets his booming voice carry naturally across the audience. This cemented the connection for the viewer who feels like they are witnessing the real time revealing of a icon in the most intimate way.
Essential viewing for music fans, this is human and heartbreaking in the best way possible.