Sound — 9
Recorded just after the release of the monster Born To Run at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon in London on November 18, 1975, Bruce Springsteen's Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 album is the perfect cap to his early 1970s obscurity. Within weeks of playing this show, he would finally explode onto the US market. Here he plays all the songs - just as you've never heard them. "Born to" Run shines in it's passionate roll, a far cry from the anthemic rocker it would become as the decade continued, "Rosalita" is performed in all that early E Street fire that made it a crowd pleaser, and "Thunder Road" grasps the listener in it's stark, piano driven performance. The sound quality is surprising for a live album recorded so many years ago, although I have a feeling the album's been heavily remastered and balanced.
Lyrics — 10
Springsteen's lyrics are just fantastic. Songs about young love, holding on tight to your dreams, and growing up fly all over this recording. I came of age during the mid-1970s, and Springsteen's lyrics took ahold of my emotions and helped me identify with something. My generation was left to fend for itself in the wake of the massive Vietnam War/hippie era of the late 60s and early 70s, but was too old to fit in with the punks and art rockers of the late 70s and early 80s. These songs, these lyrics, allow me to revisit my young adult years - all thanks to beautiful songs like "Thunder Road", "She's the One", and "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City".
Overall Impression — 10
Hammersmith Odeon is my favourite Springsteen live record by far. It's not as mish-mashed as the Live 1975 - 1985 set that came out a long time ago, nor is it the awkwardly eclectic Live in Dublin. There is no single highlight on this record, every song packs a strong and furious punch into the listener's ears. I'd love to get the DVD off the Born to Run Special Edition to be able to see the performance visually, but I'm quite content with just having the audio. Whether you use this record to woo new Springsteen devotees, or you simply want to hear great live music captured onto disc, Bruce Springsteen's Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 is a brilliantly entertaining listen from start to finish.