Occasionally, along comes a live album that makes me wonder, “What on earth could have been so pressing that I missed out on this?” Of course, nothing can be done now about missing Bruce Springsteen’s November 2006 performances in Dublin, Ireland, with the Sessions Band—a collection of fiddlers, banjo players and the like with whom Springsteen recorded We Shall Overcome, an album of Pete Seeger songs.
But, lordy, did I miss out. The evidence is in more than two hours of music captured on Live in Dublin, a double-disc trip through folk standards, Springsteen classics and oddball covers pumped up with goose-pimpling energy and verve straight from the first track.
That opener is a strung-up, tricked-out “Atlantic City”—Spring-steen’s penchant for grandiosity piped through folk strings, gospel singers and organ. Other treats include the shotgun-shack mythology of “Highway Patrolman” and a pensive rendition of “When the Saints Come Marching In” that could put even Satan’s minions in a welcoming mood. Never mind “This Little Light of Mine,” horn-heavy church music for heathens if I’ve ever heard it.
We missed out on a heck of a show. But as an artifact, Live in Dublin ain’t bad. (Jason Wiener)