This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

24Apr/11

THE PROMISE: THE MAKING OF DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN

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City Winery
155 Varick St. at Vandam St.
Monday, April 25, $10, 8:00
212-608-0555
www.citywinery.com
www.brucespringsteen.net

After the breakout success of Born to Run in 1975, Bruce Springsteen became embroiled in a lawsuit over control of his music that prevented him from going into the studio to make the highly anticipated follow-up. Springsteen found himself at a crossroads; “You didn’t know if this would be the last record you’d ever make,” he says in the revealing behind-the-scenes documentary The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town. Combining archival footage of the Darkness sessions shot by Barry Rebo with new interviews with all the members of the E Street Band in addition to producers Jimmy Iovine, Jon Landau, and others, editor and director Thom Zimny melds Bruce’s past with the present, delving deep into Springsteen’s complex, infuriating, and fiercely dedicated creative process. “I had to disregard my own mutation,” Springsteen says at one point, regarding his battle to avoid getting caught up in the hype that came with Born to Run, so he decided that his next album would be “a meditation on where are you going to stand.” Rebo captures Springsteen and the E Street Band — from a bare-chested Bruce to a bandanna-less Steve Van Zandt — rehearsing and recording alternate takes of familiar songs as well as tunes that would later wind up on such albums as The River and Tracks, opening up Bruce’s famous notebooks and examining his intense creative process, which included throwing away dozens and dozens of songs that he believed just didn’t fit within his vision of what Darkness should be. Two of the most fascinating parts of the The Promise involve Patti Smith discussing “Because the Night,” which is about her waiting for her boyfriend at the time, Fred “Sonic” Smith, to call her, and Toby Scott talking about mixing the Darkness record to get the sound pictures in Bruce’s head onto vinyl. The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town is screening April 25 at 8:00 at City Winery as a benefit for the American Red Cross, with all proceeds going to Japanese tsunami and earthquake relief; the screening is just one of many being held around the country over the coming week, all of which will include special giveaways.

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