In last week's fix, I wrote about the wilderness years (aka the Shane and Zach era) which was a difficult period for long time fans of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. We might think of that period as a time when Bruce had a bit of a fling with some other band. Maybe he needed a change, or got bored, or just wondered what it would be like to play with some other musicians. Whatever the case, Bruce returned to his true love, the E Street Band, in January of 1995.
Bruce decided to release a greatest hits anthology in early 1995, and he wanted to include in this release a few new songs that he had written over the previous year and a half. For the first time since March of 1984, Bruce assembled the E Street Band, including Little Steven, to record in the studio for the first time since the 'Born in the USA' recording sessions. One of my favorite songs to come out of those sessions was 'Back in Your Arms'. A version from these sessions would later be released in the 'Tracks' box set.
Today's clip is an alternate take from those recording sessions. This clip was used in the 'Blood Brothers' documentary. I much prefer this version for Bruce's more raw and passionate vocal. I don't know why Bruce chose to release the version with the lamer vocal performance on 'Tracks' instead of this one. I don't know why Bruce doesn't check with me before making such decisions. Bruce, (I know you're reading this), call me next time.
'Blood Brothers' is the story of the E Street Band. '10th Avenue Freeze Out' may have been the story of how they came together, but 'Blood Brothers' tells us a lot more about their relationship and the ties that bind them. This clip is also from the 'Blood Brothers' documentary and is slightly different from the version that Bruce chose to include on 'Greatest Hits'.
The reunion of the E Street Band eventually led to this band of blood brothers hitting the road in April of 1999 and touring until July of 2000 ending with a 10 night stand at Madison Square Gardens. I was fortunate enough to catch on of those great shows in New York. On the entire tour, Bruce chose to play 'Blood Brothers' only once, on the final night of the Reunion Tour, as the last song. He added some great lyrics to the end of the song, which was clearly very emotional for Bruce and his Blood Brothers.
Here are those new lyrics added to the end of the song for this performance:
Now I'm out here on this road
Alone on this road tonight
[I] close my eyes and feel so many
friends around me
In the early evening light
And the miles we have come
And the battles won and lost
Are just so many roads traveled
So many rivers crossed
And I ask God for the strength
And faith in one another
'Cause it's a good night for a ride
'Cross this river to the other side
My blood brothers