In Concert/MTV Plugged

by: Bruce Springsteen

Released in Europe to coincide with Bruce Springsteen's spring 1993 tour of the continent, this album is a 13-track, nearly 72-minute audio version of Springsteen's video concert broadcast on MTV in the fall of 1992. It was part of the network's Unplugged series, but after performing the first, previously unheard song "Red Headed Woman" alone on guitar, Springsteen shouted, "All right, let's rock it!," and departed from the acoustic format. (The album's title has an "X" drawn through the "Un" of "Unplugged.") Eight of the selections come from Springsteen's 1992 albums Human Touch and Lucky Town, and the relatively minor tracks from the former benefit from being sequenced among the more ambitious songs from the latter and such old favorites as "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and "Thunder Road." Though Springsteen and his new band don't "rock it" too hard for the most part, a notable exception is a performance of the previously unrecorded "Light of Day," a title song Springsteen wrote for a 1987 movie. Here, he gives a taste of the enthusiasm and spontaneity he can bring to his live performances. But this is an album of small pleasures rather than a major performance statement. ~ William Ruhlmann

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