Nils Lofgren – Night After Night

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Nils Lofgren’s earlier band Grin had some teeth, but for the most part, I find his solo records to be lacking any of that. They’re not bad so much as they are just lacking in anything ecstatic. That makes Night After Night a bit of a surprise. Steven Kurutz at allmusic.com calls the record “not an inspired effort,” but to me that better describes Lofgren’s studio records, not these live performances (culled from three shows) that transports the listener right into the venue, combining both arena boldness and small club intimacy. From the improvised Star Wars reference in “Take You to the Movies” and on throughout the record, Lofgren and his band obliterate the barrier between artist and audience, even those of us listening at home over four decades later. It has all of the beautiful imperfection and inspired beauty that comes with live music and yet is so seldom caught on live records and is precisely where most live releases miss the mark.

I never really understood what landed Lofgren his gig in the E Street Band until hearing this record. Unlike Springsteen, Lofgren doesn’t reproduce that combination of everyman appeal and raw energy in the studio, but he certainly does in his live shows as documented on Night After Night.

Released: 1977

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

3 thoughts on “Nils Lofgren – Night After Night

  1. Chuck

    I couldn’t find this one on Spotify so I checked out Back It Up! Live … An Authorized Bootleg from 1975, figuring it’s a live album from roughly the same time. I dug the opening 50 seconds of “Take You to the Movies Tonight,” which seems like a pretty great melancholy song about two people connecting. The next few songs left me cold though. I could see it being super exciting in a club in 1975 but if I’d seen this in a club even in 1995 the music would have felt very dated to me. It’s not even that the songs and performances don’t age well: I recognize that they’re good for what they are, but they have kind of a time capsule vibe that doesn’t translate for me. To make an imperfect metaphor, a ’57 Chevy is a beautiful car but I don’t want to spend my 90 minute rush hour commute riding on vinyl bench seats with a crappy stereo on a Tuesday afternoon when it’s 95 degrees.

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  2. Chuck

    In general I think you’re much more open to this kind of rock than I am. Even when I try, I don’t know that I can give records like this a fair listen. With that said, Allmusic’s blasting of Night After Night, combined with your review, makes me more interested in hearing it. Unfortunately, though, it’s still probably not my cup of tea.

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