Bruce Springsteen In Focus 1980-2012
Springsteen & I

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen fan or not, you're bound to enjoy the photo book Bruce Springsteen In Focus 1980-2012 by Debra L. Rothenberg. Like yours truly, Rothenberg is from a north New Jersey town, has a love for The Boss bordering on the fanatical (lots of us Jersey people feel this way), and truly can boast about seeing Springsteen in concert - a lot! Rothenberg has photographed many of the shows she has attended - from her first in 1980 when Springsteen came through Jersey during The River tour to tours behind Born In The U.S.A. and The Rising to smaller surprise appearances by The Boss at Asbury Park's Stone Pony and even on a video shoot.

Along with all these amazing, mostly live shots featuring the man himself, we get essays and anecdotes from other fans, journalists, musicians, etc. Rothenberg's own thoughts, not only about Bruce but on her life and how much she loves what she does, are also included. Bruce Springsteen In Focus 1980-2012 is as much her journey as it is a photographic tapestry for music fans who have grown up loving this Springsteen. Yes, I might be slightly biased here seeing as I am a Springsteen fan myself. I assure you this is as great a read as it is a photo journalistic essay. And let's face it - the man looks great in too many of these shots to ignore!

A longer period of time and decidedly a much more interactive vision of The Boss can be found in the Springsteen & I documentary. One probably needs to be a heavy Springsteen fan to understand, yet this film, made up mostly of fan footage (supposedly director Baillie Walsh had to wade through 300 hours worth), does include some killer clips and fun stories.

Hearing fans from around the globe relating their sometimes a-little-too-creepy adoration for Springsteen could be a little unsettling, but the rare concert shots more than made up for that. There's early black and white moments included in this Ridley Scott (yes that Ridley Scott!) produced movie, and more modern clips capturing the by-now famous ritual of when The Boss gathers the big signs passed up to him on stage. At first, this started as a way for him to take requests, but this fan favorite has now morphed into ways for people to pass messages to their idol. One great moment here is when Springsteen hugs a fan whose sign says he just got dumped.

Fully endorsed and supported by Bruce Springsteen, Springsteen & I comes to DVD and Blu-ray after a successful theatrical run. What you get in Bonus Material more than make up for any shortcomings of the film with six live performances from Springsteen's 2012 Hyde Park performance, including "Twist and Shout" and "I Saw Her Standing There" with Paul McCartney. There is also additional fan contributions not included in the film. Whether you read Bruce Springsteen In Focus 1980-2012 or check out Springsteen & I — or do both — you're sure to get a whole lotta Bruce Springsteen from the fans who made him The Boss this season.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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