Billboard — The last time Thom Zimny edited a Bruce Springsteen concert film, it was “Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75,” a recording that — as the legend goes, anyway — was literally forgotten and left in a cold dark corner of Springsteen’s vaults.
When the tapes were finally discovered a few years ago, it took Zimny a while to figure out what they contained, as they had no labels, set lists, track titles, scribbled-on notebook paper, sticky notes — anything that would have offered the slightest hint what he was looking at.
The new “Live in Dublin,” due June 5 via Columbia, was probably a little easier. Shot at the Point in Dublin over three nights in November, it captures the final stand of Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions band (credited on the live set as only The Sessions Band) as it roars through nearly two dozen traditionals (“Jesse James,” “Eyes on the Prize”), resculpted folk and rave-up gospel numbers (“When the Saints Go Marching In,” “This Little Light of Mine”).
There are also radically reconfigured takes on songs from Springsteen’s own catalog, including a 10-minute big-band take on the “Nebraska” track “Open All Night,” a shimmering, violin-flavored “Atlantic City” and an effervescent run through “Blinded by the Light.”
To capture “Live in Dublin,” which will see release as a concert DVD, a Blu-ray disc (both featuring stereo and 5.1 surround sound), a two-CD release and a combination DVD/CD package, Zimny set up nine HD-ready cameras in the Point and operated under a rule he uses whenever shooting Springsteen in performance: try to stay out of the way.
“In all my experiences working with Bruce, the music is the central focus,” he tells Billboard.com. “You want to make sure the energy is translated, but in a way that doesn’t interfere with the dialogue between performer and audience.”
Zimny’s relationship with Springsteen began back in 2000, when he edited the Emmy-winning “Live in New York City,” which documented Springsteen’s reunion tour with the E Street Band. Since then, he’s worked on 2003’s Emmy-nominated “Live in Barcelona” and Springsteen’s 2005 edition of “VH1 Storytellers.”
“Each film really has its own unique journey,” Zimny said, “With ‘Storytellers,’ for instance, it’s a smaller space and you want to incorporate the sense of audience. But this was a really different experience. It’s such a large band, and a great band, and it’s crazy to see the effects of all the performers in this footage.”
Zimny adds that Springsteen plays as big of a role behind the scenes as he does on stage. “Bruce and (manager Jon) Landau are always involved in the filmmaking process,” Zimny said. “Bruce is very aware of that film process; he’s always been there in the cutting room. I imagine it’s what it’s like to be working with him as he makes the albums: all the details are examined, from the writing to the stage design to how things translate to screen. All the choices are tried. That’s the beauty of the cutting room: that’s where you find the soul of the piece.”