Blu-ray Review: Springsteen & I

This new documentary celebrates the fans of The Boss.
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Most musicians hope to have a fan base as rabid and devoted as that of Bruce Springsteen's. While there have been many features on Springsteen over the years, Mr. Wolf and Ridley Scott Associates have decided to pay tribute to his fans. Made with support from Springsteen, Springsteen & I combines homemade testimonials from fans, along with rare footage of The Boss in concert in a fitting tribute for fans and an attempt to convert the nonbelievers.

The documentary opens with bootleg footage of a Springsteen concert where he proclaims, "We're here for one reason -- because you're here. Where we want to go, we can't get there by ourselves." When Springsteen asks the fans if they can feel the spirit, they respond in kind. It's as if he is preaching a rock and roll gospel and they are his congregation. One sees right away the mutual admiration between artist and audience.

Fans were asked to describe Springsteen in three words, with one speaking in Spanish saying, "joy, passion and memories" while another adds, "hope, heart and perspective." A Danish fan recalls recording a show on his Walkman on the Tunnel of Love Express tour in 1987 as a nine year old. To this day, it brings him joy to bring out the recording and he remains a fan as an adult.

Another fan holds up a sign at a concert saying that she'll "Be his Courtney Cox," a reference to the "Dancing In The Dark" video. Springsteen not only sees the sign, but also calls the fan up to the stage to share a quick dance. Another sequence that has to be seen to be believedĀ involves a fan dressed as Elvis Presley.

Surprisingly, in the middle of the Springsteen love fest, the opposite point of view is also presented, as we see a man who is not a fan, but who has seen many Springsteen shows all around the world because his wife is a fan. His advice to Springsteen was, "Shorten your concerts." It is here that the documentary scores major points because while many artists have great fan bases, often times both members of a couple do not share the same view of these artists, but go to their shows anyhow, not for love of the artist, but for their partner.

In addition to the fan interviews is some killer concert clips from Springsteen's career. Fans get to see a young Springsteen sing "Growin' Up" in early black and white footage. There are also strong performances of "Thunder Road" and "I'm Going Down," among others. The songs are interspersed in between the interviews and often serve to illustrate the points of the interviews.

The video is presented in 1080i High Definition Widescreen 16x9 (1.78:1) and looks great. Some of the video appears to be from cell phone cameras, or is at least made to look that way, but all of it is clear. The archival footage is what it is, but is generally high quality. Audio options include DTS HD Master Audio and LPCM Stereo. Bonus material includes portions of Springsteen's set at Hard Rock Calling, including two songs with Paul McCartney before having the power turned off for breaking curfew, as well as additional fan video submissions.

Springsteen has had a career most artists dream to have and the fan base to go along with it. Springsteen & I is a film by the fans, for the fans that celebrates the 40-plus-year relationship The Boss has had with his fans. A must own for Springsteen fans and an example of what the fuss is about for those who aren't.