SPRINGSTEEN: Sweden Broadcast 1988


For Bruce Springsteen, the 1980s were as turbulent as they were rewarding and accomplished. The release of 84 s Born In The U.S.A. and the quintuple live LP collection Live/1975-85 were met with the kind of success very few music artists ever achieve. Selling in excess of 50 million copies combined (and counting), their respective triumphs and the subsequent media frenzy pushed Springsteen onto rock s top table, and between 15th June and 10th August 1985, every one of his seven studio albums featured on the UK Albums Chart, the first time in history that an artist s entire catalogue had charted simultaneously.

His 1980s output concluded on a surprisingly sombre note however, with the release of Tunnel Of Love in 1987, an album on which Springsteen recorded most of the instruments himself with only occasional appearances from members of the E Street Band. The tone was more subdued than his mid-decade output, reflecting on his failing marriage to Julianne Phillips through slower, reflective ballads. But, while nowhere near as successful as Born... or Live..., the record still garnered a respectable four million sales worldwide.

In 1988, Springsteen and the E Street Band embarked on the Tunnel Of Love Express Tour, which further bemused his faithful audience. In comparison to the Born In The U.S.A. Tour, each show began more theatrically with the band entering to the sound of a five piece horn section. The band s usual positions on the stage were switched, and backing vocalist Patti Scialfa - whose relationship with Springsteen would be made public during the European leg of the tour - took centre stage.

Spontaneous onstage antics were also kept to a minimum. Many of Springsteen s most popular live numbers were dropped completely from his now shorter sets, replaced by a selection of B-sides, previously unreleased tunes and covers. In spite of this though, the shows were warmly received by critics and fans alike, with Springsteen s Rocking The Wall performance in East Germany on 19th July, before an audience of 300,000, becoming recognised as one of the most historically important concerts of the era.

The gig included on this CD was recorded on 3rd July 88 at Stockholm s Olympic Stadium. Simultaneously broadcast across FM radio in exceptional audio quality, Springsteen mixes some older numbers - The River , Adam Raised A Cain , Born In The U.S.A. - with a selection from Tunnel Of Love, as well as playing covers from the likes of John Lee Hooker and Edwin Starr. The result, which thanks to this release can now be heard by all, is a truly dynamic, albeit unconventional, live performance by Bruce and the E Street-ers, and one that is certain to prove a welcome addition to the finest Springsteen libraries the world across.

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