Born To Run (30th Anniversary Edition)

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Commercially Released: November 15, 2005
Label: Columbia
Produced by Barbara Carr, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Mike Appel and film by Thom Zimny, William Rexer and Barry Rebo
Recorded by Jimmy Iovine and Louis Lahav, assisted by Thom Panunzio, Ricky Delena, Angie Arcuri and Corky Stasiak
 at The Record Plant, New York City, NY and 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY (January 1974-July 1975)
Mixed By Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain, assisted by Thom Panunzio, Dave Thoener, Andy Abrams and Corky Stasiak 
Mastered by Greg Calbi, Remastered at Gateway Mastering, Portland, ME by Bob Ludwig
Design by John Berg and Andy Engel
Photography by Eric Meola

Overview

The Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition boxset, released on November 15, 2005, includes three discs: "Hammersmith Odeon, London '75," a film of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's November 18, 1975 concert; the documentary film "Wings For Wheels: The Making of Born to Run;" and the 1975 album in remastered CD form. The package offers approximately four hours of previously unseen footage. Personally supervised by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau, the set includes a 48-page photo album of previously unpublished photographs, with an introduction written by Springsteen.

Disc 1 Remastered Born To Run
Plangent Processes specialized in transferring analogue tape only to high resolution digital files.
BTR finally remastered using this process 2014, before that 2005 remaster was on top.

"Don't expect a BTR overhaul, though. By the time of his 2005 remaster for the 30th Anniversary of Springsteen's masterpiece, Ludwig had it nailed to the point where he received "the ultimate compliment" from Springsteen: "When I got to remaster Born to Run for the anniversary box set, I saw Bruce backstage, and he told me that he was listening while driving in his car and that he heard Born to Run as he’d originally intended it to sound for the first time!… So I wasn’t about to change the approach. Yet, to me, the new transfers gave it even more life than before, and thus there are some subtle differences to the way something would be EQ'd. There would be less EQ now, as the originals sounded that much better from the get-go." The same goes for Darkness on the Edge of Town. "
From backstreets.com: (after 2005 remaster)

Disc 2 - Hammersmith Odeon, London '75
This the first full-length concert film ever released of Bruce and the E Street Band's first 25 years. The multiple-camera film presents the complete concert in its entirety and its original sequence, as newly edited by Emmy Award Winner Thom Zimny. Zimny's production team painstakingly cleaned the original negatives and digitally restored the footage, ultimately presenting this concert in vibrant color and detail. Producer Bob Clearmountain remastered and remixed the DVD in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound. Spanning roughly two hours and ten minutes, the 11/18/75 concert contains 16 tracks. A Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 audio-only version was released February 28, 2006.

Here is a review of the technical quality
As for the Odeon concert, it was a tough picture to rate because of the original elements. At best, it was never going to be very attractive, as the film was shot on 16mm film and done under dark conditions. That said, Odeon was consistently watchable and looked better than I initially expected. Sharpness was erratic. Shots varied from acceptably concise to fairly soft. The best defined images were never particularly tight, but at least the looser bits stayed reasonably distinctive. Definition was mediocre but not a real problem. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and I saw no signs of edge enhancement. Print flaws were pleasantly minor. Grain was the main distraction, but that will never change; it’s inherent in the original film, especially since they shot the flick in such poor lighting conditions. Otherwise, I noticed occasional specks, a few blotches and a couple of small hairs, but these weren’t a distraction. This was a pretty clean presentation, especially considering its age and source. Colored lighting heavily dominated the palette of Odeon. Those tones were passable at best as they shaded everything in the image. The tones could have been brighter and more dynamic, but they stayed acceptable. At least they never became overwhelming or runny. Blacks were quite deep and firm, which came as a nice surprise. Low-light shots tended to be rather opaque, a fact compounded and caused by the filming conditions. A 16mm film made in a small venue with no accommodations for lighting will look dark, and that’s what we got from Odeon. Objectively, this is a problematic image due to the source materials, but I thought it was more than fine given its origins.

No such qualifiers and excuses come when I rate the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of the Odeon DVD. This was a consistently strong auditory presentation. The show offered a nicely open and spacious soundfield. Across the front, instrumentation spread appropriately and distinctly. Elements popped up in the right spots to match the musicians’ stage locations, though things may have been a little too localized at times. It made sense to anchor the left with Danny Federici’s keyboards and to plunk Roy Bittan’s piano in the right, but I didn’t think it made much sense that some other instrumentation also focused strongly on those side speakers. Clarence Clemons’ sax and Steve Van Zandt’s guitar should have popped up between the sides and the center instead of their hard localization in the different speakers. This wasn’t a real distraction, but I’d have liked somewhat more appropriate placement. Bruce’s vocals stayed centered and didn’t bleed to the sides. His guitar came from the left instead of from the center, which would have been more accurate. However, I didn’t mind this, as it made sense to take that liberty to separate Bruce’s playing from Steve’s. The music sounded nicely integrated and airy, as the songs meshed together well and demonstrated a solid stereo image. Surrounds mostly served to reinforce the forward audio. A lot of stereo crowd noise cropped up back there, and the rear speakers provided a sense of concert hall ambience as well. The mix avoided gimmicky material and it stuck with an involving stereo presentation. The DVD presented very good sonics. Bruce’s vocals always came across as natural and accurate. I noticed no edginess or distortion as his singing appeared lively and distinct. Guitars crunched appropriately while drums snapped. Bass response sounded good. Low-end could have been a little deeper, but those elements always remained acceptably tight and lively. Across the board, I heard a lot to like in this fine soundtrack.

Disc 3 - Wings For Wheels
The ninety-minute documentary "Wings For Wheels: The Making of Born To Run" chronicles the story of the creation of 'Born To Run,' from songwriting to production and beyond. "Wings For Wheels" boasts archival film never shown publicly, including substantial footage of Springsteen and the E Street Band recording the album, 1975 concert film and other footage shot between 1973 and 1975. The film also features exclusive footage of Springsteen playing solo piano and guitar versions of songs from 'Born To Run.'

Bonus footage on the Wings for Wheels DVD was "Live at the Ahmanson Theater, Los Angeles, 1973". A three-song segment, the 21-minute and 56-second piece includes renditions of “Spirit In the Night” “Wild Billy’s Circus Story” and “Thundercrack”. This set is kind of an odd addition to this package since none of the songs maintain any connection to Born to Run. That said, it is excellent. The tracks offer a nice glimpse of Bruce circa 1973 and provide a fine presentation of the songs, although we lose the ending of “Thundercrack”.

Released

Remastered

# Song Title Running Time Release
1. THUNDER ROAD 4:50 BORN TO RUN / BTR: 30
2. TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT 3:12 BORN TO RUN / BTR: 30
3. NIGHT 3:02 BORN TO RUN / BTR: 30
4. BACKSTREETS 6:32 BORN TO RUN / BTR: 30
5. BORN TO RUN 4:30 BORN TO RUN / BTR: 30
6. SHE'S THE ONE 3:31 BORN TO RUN / BTR: 30
7. MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER 3:19 BORN TO RUN / BTR: 30
8. JUNGLELAND 9:35 BORN TO RUN / BTR: 30

Total Running Time: 39:30

Additional Information

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