Friday, June 14, 2013

Video Spotlight - "Hungry Heart" from 1980



We are in the prime of the summer concert season, and I hope everyone here has been taking in some fantastic live music.  I was at the Governor's Ball on Randall's Island in New York City last weekend, and it is fascinating to see how differently every set goes.  For instance, Icona Pop's audience was perhaps the strongest of the weekend, as their energy carried the set, making it impossible not to have fun.  Furthermore, on Friday, there was a torrential downpour, which hurt the size of the audience.  However, those bands that did perform (we saw the Local Natives) gave it their all to reward the die-hard fans who were braving the weather.  On the flip side, Animal Collective's set had some technical issues, and they ended up leaving mid-song with about 10 minutes to go.  It just goes to show how difficult it is to perform live - you need everything to go right with not just the performers, but the equipment, the weather, and the audience.

This all goes to make Springsteen's 40+ years of fantastic shows even more impressive.  This is all obvious, so why am I spotlighting "Hungry Heart"?  Well, there are a few Springsteen live songs that I prefer over the studio versions ("The Promised Land" and "Prove It All Night" both come to mind), but "Hungry Heart" takes the cake.  The studio version sounds too clean, especially given the lyrical content of the song.  Plus, with Bruce's voice sped up, it barely sounds like him.  The live version of "Hungry Heart" has it all, from the audience participation to Bruce's true voice giving the song the touch of sadness it needs.  Plus, this video has Bruce in a spiffy sport jacket!  What's not to love?