The Ties That Bind (The River Collection) - Overview


Springsteen celebrated the 35th anniversary of The River by releasing a boxed set titled The Ties That Bind: The River Collection on December 4, 2015. The set contains 52 tracks on four CDs along with four hours of video on three DVDs or two Blu-ray discs. On December 24, 2015, Springsteen released Arizona State University, Tempe 1980, a free download through the Bruce Springsteen Archives. The release contained audio of the ten missing songs from the concert video featured in the boxed set, bringing the total number discs released to seven. The tracks were mixed from the multi-track tapes by Bob Clearmountain in December 2015.

The first two CDs feature the remastered version of The River and the third CD contains the previously unreleased The River: Single Album, also known to collectors and bootleggers as 'The Ties That Bind'. The fourth CD, The River: Outtakes, spans the entire River sessions in 1979 and 1980 and contains eleven previously-unreleased outtakes. The fifth disc (DVD or Blu-ray) contains a 60-minute documentary, The Ties That Bind, which was produced and directed by filmmaker Thom Zimny and features an interview with Springsteen as he reflects on writing and recording The River. The film transitions between Springsteen telling the stories behind the music—and illustrating them with solo acoustic guitar performances—interspersed with period concert footage and photos. The remaining disc(s) feature Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: The River Tour, Tempe 1980, a new film produced from footage professionally filmed in 1980 using four cameras and recorded in multi-track audio. The film features 23 of 33 songs performed, clocking in at 2 hours, 40 minutes on two DVDs (or one Blu-ray), from Springsteen and the E Street Band's concert on November 5, 1980 at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Also included is 20 minutes of footage from the late September 1980 River Tour rehearsals held in Lititz, Pennsylvania. The boxed set also includes a 148-page coffee table book featuring 200 rare or previously unseen photos and memorabilia, including a new essay by Mikal Gilmore. As mentioned above, the seventh disc, the missing audio tracks from the concert, was released on December 24, 2015.

On October 16, 2015, along with the announcement of the boxed set, "Meet Me in the City", one of the eleven unreleased outtakes, was released through Springsteen's website and on iTunes to promote the release of the boxed set. On November 23, 2015, "Party Lights" was released and also made available through iTunes. Much like with The Promise, Springsteen recorded new vocals for some of the outtakes in the set.

Springsteen announced details for The River Tour 2016 on December 4, 2015. The tour began in January 2016 and features a full-album performance of The River at every show, as well as other songs from Springsteen's career. As of the end of the U.S. leg on April 25, 2016, "Meet Me in the City" opened all but one show; the song previously made its live debut when Springsteen and the E Street Band performed on the December 19, 2015, episode of Saturday Night Live.

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