The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story (3CD/3DVD Boxed Set)
5 out of 5 stars
Columbia Records delivers yet once again with the remastered boxed set of Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town — one of Springsteen’s most underappreciated albums. The release is superbly packaged in a 3-CD/3-DVD boxed set that features nearly six hours of film, more than two hours of music and an 80-page full-color notebook containing facsimiles from Springsteen’s original notebooks from the recording sessions, which include alternate lyrics, song ideas, recording details, and never-before-seen photographs.
In addition to the remastered album, which was in dire need of an updated re-release, the boxed set also includes a 2-CD set titled The Promise (which can also be purchased separately), featuring 21 studio outtakes and alternative versions of album tracks. Those outtakes breathe new life into the album itself and the 2-CD set is filled with phenomenal ones. These songs could have easily found their way onto the original album and it’s nice to see them get their due.
The 3 DVDs are where the real goods of this boxed set lie. Much like the bonus concert footage that was included in the 2005 Born to Run: 30th Anniversary Edition, this set dug deep in the vaults and came through admirably. The footage in the Darkness box includes a 90-minute film directed by award-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny, documenting the recording of the album, the complete 2009 performance of Darkness on the Edge of Town at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, N.J., a complete 1978 concert performance from the Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour in Houston, Tex., and a dozen individual song performances culled from private band rehearsals, studio sessions and live concerts from 1976-1978.
No corners were cut with this boxed set and it’s an absolute treasure for anyone willing to spend the time to comb through it. It is simply one of the nicer boxed sets I’ve ever come across. — Jonathan Keller