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Bruce Springsteen's Letter To You Film - An Incredible Look Into Greatness

posted Oct 20, 2020, 8:22 AM by Brandon Thompson   [ updated Oct 20, 2020, 9:31 AM ]
We posted our original thoughts on Bruce Springsteen's upcoming album, Letter To You, this past Thursday. Now, we are going to give you a little preview of what to expect in his accompanying film that drops the same day as the new record, October 23. Springsteen opens by saying, "I'm in the middle of a 45 year conversation with these men and women I'm surrounded by and some of you." Although I wish I could say that this was true for me, it's impossible for a 27 year old fan. Bruce expresses that he picked up the guitar to communicate a message and that after all these years, he still feels that "burning need to communicate." 

After Springsteen opens up with his monologue, we cut to a scene with Bruce asking the band to gather around and Steve directing them to get out their notepads. We then get an incredible look as Springsteen demo's the title track on an acoustic guitar while the band takes notes on what to do and where while recording. As Bruce and Roy work out some details in the song, Bruce compares the E Street Band to a "finely tuned racing engine." Springsteen introduces each band member and we're off into a behind the scenes look into the bands recording of "Letter To You." I want to make one thing clear, we are not just listening to the song with B-roll footage of fields on Bruce's farm like the music videos. We are treated to a direct inside look at Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band recording the song. It's simply as great as you think it is. 

Steve makes a joke to Bruce that the band is on a Beatles schedule...three hours a song and that's it. The band did record this record in only five days. Springsteen's long time manager, Jon Landau then comes in with a joke of his own saying that if they come in on the weekend, the band will end up with a double album. Ah, to dream. 

The great thing about the film dropping alongside the album is that we get to hear Bruce's thoughts behind each song. It's similar to his Western Stars film (although the songs are not in order here) where he gives some explanation before each of the song's presented in this documentary. It is important to note that not all songs on this record appear in the film. Absent songs include "Rainmaker" and "Janey Needs A Shooter." Next up, Bruce talks about his old bandmate George Theiss and how after his recent death, Springsteen becomes the "Last Man Standing" from his very first band, The Castiles. Bruce mentions that he had meditations about him being the last man standing and it ended up being the reason for writing this new record. Springsteen says, "new music just comes sometimes, and only sometimes this is the way it happens." 

One of the cool moments that takes place after watching the band perform "Last Man Standing," is the next cutaway scene. Springsteen joins the band in the studio to do shots. Springsteen shouts, "Gentleman, here's to the road!" Which is greeted by laughs from the band. A really cool moment for our Italy readers as Little Steven cheers to San Siro. San Siro is known for incredible Springsteen audiences. The band jokes, "to opening in San Siro." Can't help but feel somber as they clearly planned to take this album out on the road. Whether or not they were actually going to open this tour in San Siro is another question but Nils jokes, "To the first of four nights!" It really is one of my favorite moments in the entire documentary. Purely based on the fact that it shows how much Bruce and the E Street Band care for their fans and want to play for them. It feels good. We are seen. We are appreciated. Not that it was ever in doubt, it's just really a neat thing for us to see played out before our eyes. I don't want to spoil too much of the conversations here but Bruce and the band members reminisce about memories they have of playing for the crowds over in Italy. I feel like this will be a highlight for many fans, and most definitely for our Italian friends. 

I don't want to give away the details of everything that is said in-between songs but it really is something special. This whole documentary is something special. You get to see Bruce demoing some songs for the band before recording, you get to see the band recording most songs on the new record (including two original songs written in the early 70's), you get to see the process that the band goes through and the conversations that the band has. The album as a whole, as we indicated in our first impressions post, is fantastic. This documentary just takes it to the next level. I think we are all going to be very grateful that we got to see the band in their environment, especially for us younger Springsteen fans. For those who don't know me personally, I'm only 27. Found Bruce on my own and have enjoyed the ride ever since. The fact that I'll have this documentary to look back on well into the future is a good feeling. Our idols...our heroes...doing their thing. Enjoy and rejoice Springsteen fans. This is exactly what we all need in this crazy year. 

You can stream this documentary exclusively on Apple TV+ on October 23