The Promise - Studio Sessions - Overview


The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story is the long-anticipated boxset finally released by Columbia Records. It was expected for the June 2, 2008 30th anniversary of the release of Darkness, but that didn't happen, possibly due to Springsteen's touring schedule, but probably because he was fussing over it's contents, just like he fussed over Darkness, thus creating the vast surplus of material we are anxious to hear. The box set was finally announced on August 26, 2010.

Disc 1 is "Darkness On The Edge Of Town", digitally remastered by Bob Ludwig on June 2, 2010, which comes in a paper sleeve housed inside a cardboard sleeve.

Disc 2 and disc 3 are "The Promise", a two-CD album, a collection of unreleased songs from the Darkness On The Edge Of Town recording sessions (described by one hypster as "unearthed material"). It features photographs taken by Eric Meola on August 17-20, 1977, on a trip to Utah & Nevada with Bruce and Steve Van Zandt. It was also released separately, and it came in a 4-panel cardboard sleeve.

Disc 4 is the Blu-Ray/DVD "The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town", a documentary directed by Grammy- and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny, which comes in a paper sleeve housed inside a cardboard sleeve. The ninety-minute film combines never-before-seen footage of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band shot between 1976 and 1978, including home rehearsals and studio sessions, with new interviews with Springsteen, E Street Band members, manager Jon Landau, former manager Mike Appel, and others closely involved in the making of the record. Stephen Whitty For Inside Jersey reported from the Toronto Film Festival on September 13, 2010, that "Darkness" is now also "The Promise: The Making of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'", a documentary that shows the building of that album, track by track, song by song. It will be shown on HBO on Oct. 7, and released by Columbia Records as part of a mammoth 3-CD, 3-DVD boxed set on November 16. On Tuesday evening (Sept 14), the hour-and-a-half film gets its first open-to-the-public showing at the Toronto Film Festival. Hear Bruce admit, "More than rich, more than famous, more than happy – I wanted to be great." It was released separately on May 3, 2011, in both DVD and Blu-Ray formats, with some bonus features.

Disc 5 "Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Paramount Theater, Asbury Park 2009" and "Thrill Hill Vault 1976-1978", comes in a paper sleeve housed inside a cardboard sleeve.. The former is a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band's live performance of the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album in its entirety, shot in HD on 13 Dec 2009 at Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ, without an audience. Thrill Hill Vault 1976-1978 is a collection of archival footage from Springsteen's personal vault It consists of an about-an-hour's worth (it clocks at about 56 minutes) of home rehearsals footage from 1976, studio sessions footage from 1978, and live in concert footage from 1978. It was produced and edited by Emmy- and Grammy-winner Thom Zimny and the audio for the live 1978 footage and some of the 1978 studio footage was mixed by Bob Ludwig. Zimny re-edited the 1978 concert footage making use of previously unseen camera angles. The home rehearsals and studio session footage was originally produced and directed by Barry Rebo, while the live in concert footage was originally directed by Arnold Levine.

Disc 6 is "Thrill Hill Vault Houston '78 Bootleg: House Cut", comes in a paper sleeve housed inside a cardboard sleeve. a video of the complete December 8, 1978 concert at The Summit in Houston, TX. The footage was taken from the in-house video screen at The Summit, which was one of the first arenas in the United States to have this system at the time. This gave the release its title "Houston '78 Bootleg: House Cut". Considering that it was taken from the mono soundboard, the sound is only available in PCM stereo and not in 5.1 surround. The video was produced by Emmy- and Grammy-winner Thom Zimny and the audio was mastered by Bob Ludwig. It clocks at around 176 minutes.

The five cardboard sleeves are placed in the pockets of an 80-page spiral-bound reproduction of Springsteen's original notebooks called the "Promise notebook" (of greatest interest to hardcore fans), with facsimiles of Bruce's original handwritten lyrics, production notes, song ideas, recording details, and many album sequencing lists, in addition to a new essay by Springsteen on the album and never-before-seen photographs. The set is housed inside a hard cardboard outer slipcase. The box set won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package.

The album features one of the last appearances of Clarence Clemons before his death in June 2011. Clemons is featured on the song "Save My Love", which was the only song on the album completely re-recorded by Springsteen and the E Street Band for the project.

This boxset was under development for years, which was why so few Darkness outtakes were included in Tracks. Difficult choices were made, and finally the master tapes from 1977-78 were assembled. Unfortunately, Bruce still felt that many of the tracks were incomplete, and required re-recording or overdubbing. Recording sessions were held in the Summer of 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, at Springsteen's home in Colts Neck, NJ. For reference, we have produced a table below that lists known modern elements in the songs. However, it is extremely likely that other modern elements exist that have not yet been identified. Tracks that appear untouched from 1977 include "Candy's Boy", "City of Night" and "The Way". Please contact Brucebase if your perception differs, we want to hear your thoughts, and we have changed this table on occasion, based on good arguments or convincing information. Let's get to the truth.

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