Bruce Springsteen

The Complete Video Anthology 1978-2000

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The original laserdisc version of this video compilation was one of the few real successes that Sony Music Video had in the late '80s, and for good reason -- it offered a fine cross section of Bruce Springsteen's music, built around some excellent concert footage from his prime years, along with all of the conceptual videos that had been such a delight on MTV in the years when the latter was new. The 17 songs from that original release are all here on disc one of this two-disc DVD collection, but disc two offers an additional 14 songs, covering his 1990s output and featuring releases right up through 2000. The fact that it is on two discs is a good sign -- rather than push the compression of sound and video information, which would have allowed this expanded program to fit onto a single DVD, the producers have made sure the sound and picture are rich and expanded by leaving them spread onto two discs. The result is the first DVD transfer of a laserdisc music video release that may actually sound better than the laser version. Good as the concert videos are, the conceptual clips have their own power -- "Atlantic City" with its minimalist approach; the more elaborate productions by director John Sayles for "Born in the USA," "Glory Days," and "I'm on Fire"; and the subsequent movie-related clips with their promotional thrust augmenting the musical considerations. The 1990s material represented on disc two is generally a little less compelling as music, apart from "The Ghost of Tom Joad" (which appears twice, as an official video and a live performance from The Tonight Show) and a bluesy version of "Born in the USA" done live on The Charlie Rose Show, than the '70s/'80s repertoire. The video productions built upon those songs are so elaborate, however, that they are captivating in this venue, and the sound throughout both discs is a match in clarity, crispness, and volume for that of any audiophile CD. The extra features include a discography of very limited utility and an alternate version of the "Secret Garden" video, set to the song with a string arrangement. The menu is reasonably easy to access and maneuver around.