INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET

Live 05 Feb 1975 version


[Ed Sciaky spoken intro:] Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Main Point, I'm Ed Sciaky, from WMMR, and with the help of Mom's Wholesome Audio, we are very happy to be able to share with people all over the Delaware Valley what is a very special evening. Bruce will do a gig tomorrow night and Friday night at Widener, and they'll be his last two performances in Philadelphia for a few months, as he goes off to conquer America and the world. Tonight's a very special farewell to The Main Point from Bruce, as a benefit for The Main Point. Let's welcome home to The Main Point and to WMMR one more time, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band!

Spanish Johnny drove in from the underworld last night
With bruised arms and broken rhythm in a beat-up old Buick but dressed just like dynamite
He tried sellin' his heart to the hard girls over on Easy Street
But they sighed, "Oh, Johnny, it falls apart so easy and you know hearts these days are cheap"
And the pimps swung their axes and said, "Johnny, you're a cheater"
And the pimps swung their axes and said, "Johnny, you're a liar"
And from out of the shadows came a young girl's voice -- "Johnny!"
Said, "Johnny, don't cry"
And Johnny sighed, "Puerto Rican Jane, whoa, won't you tell me what's your name
I want to ride you down to the other side of town
Where paradise ain't so crowded, there'll be action goin' down on Shanty Lane tonight
All them golden-heeled fairies in a real bitch fight, pull thirty-eights and kiss the girls goodnight"

And Johnny sighed, "Goodnight, it's all right, Jane
Ah, let the black boys in to light the soul flame
We may find it out on the street tonight, baby
Or we may walk 'til the morning light, maybe"

Well, like a cool Romeo he made his moves, oh, she looked so fine
And like a late Juliet she knew he'd never be true, but she did not really mind
Upstairs the band was playin' and the singer was singin' something about going home
And she whispered, "Spanish Johnny, you can leave me tonight, but just don't leave me alone"
And Johnny sighed, "Puerto Rican Jane, word is down the cops have found the vein"
Them little barefoot boys, they left their homes for the woods
Them little barefoot street boys, they say homes ain't no good
They left the corners and they threw away all their switchblade knives
And kissed each other bye-bye

And now Johnny sat on the fire escape watchin' the kids playin' down in the street
And he called down, "Hey, little heroes, uh, summer's long, but I guess it ain't so sweet around here no more"
Janey sleeps in sheets damp with sweat; Johnny sits up all night and watches her dreamin' on
And the sister breaks down in the chapel late at night after everybody's gone
Janey wakes up and moves over to share her pillow, but she sees Johnny up and out of bed and putting his clothes on
And she sighs, "Them romantic young boys (them romantic young boys), all they ever want to do is fight"
Well, them romantic young boys (them romantic young boys), and they call in the window:
"Hey, Spanish Johnny, you want to make a little easy money tonight?"
And Johnny whispers, "Goodnight, it's all tight, Jane
I swear I'll meet you tomorrow night on Lover's Lane
And I may find it out on the street tonight, baby
Or we may walk until the morning light, maybe"
Goodnight
Ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh

Ooh, ooh, ooh
Goodnight, Jane

[Spoken outro:] What's up?


Info

The above lyrics are for the live 05 Feb 1975 performance of INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET at The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, PA, during what is considered The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour. The song was played in a stripped down arrangement featuring Springsteen backed by Roy Bittan on piano and Suki Lahav on violin and backup vocals. A "police siren" sound effect prop was used at the end of the song.

The 05 Feb 1975 Show

The Main Point was a small coffeehouse venue on Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr, PA. It was formed in 1964 by Jeanette and William Campbell and four other couples as a small folk-based coffeehouse venue inspired by the Philadelphia Folk Festival. The venue was famous for its small intimate atmosphere, homemade food and home baked goods, and inexpensive ticket prices. Over the years, various styles of music were presented; the venue hosted many famous performers in its heydays, including Bruce Springsteen who performed there on no less than 25 dates between 1973 and 1975. He started as an opening act during a 4-night residency in January 1973, and returned in April as a headliner.

The Main Point was only open for shows and seats were not reserved. The audience would queue up long in advance before the opening of the doors.
The Main Point was only open for shows and seats were not reserved. The audience would queue up long in advance before the opening of the doors.

Soon after The Main Point's opening, Bill Scarborough became co-owner and booking director from 1964-1975. When Philadelphia's Sunday Bulletin asked him in September 1973 how he made booking decisions, Scarborough cited several factors but admitted that occasionally his own musical tastes influenced him. "I think that the booking of a singer named Bruce Springsteen is the best example I can give you of personal taste and hunch entering into my final choice. Here was a new act out of nowhere, who happened to sign with a major label, and put out an album that reminded me of the best of Dylan. I decided to book him as a headliner, even though he was barely known. We did alright with him, but not as well as we'd hoped. I still feel, though, that he's going to be a big star."

The venue was popular among both musicians and listeners. Clarence Clemons commented in a special Main Point 10th anniversary publication, "The whole band had the flu. Bruce had 103 degree temperature. If it was any other place but the Main Point, any concert or club in the country, we would have cancelled."

The Main Point constantly ran into financial problems related to its intimate size. Ironically, it was its size that made it so popular. Musicians gave benefit concerts for the coffeehouse to help it out of its financial straits. Some of these concerts were broadcast over the local progressive rock radio station WMMR-FM, and many well known bootleg recordings have been made from these performances. Bruce Springsteen's 05 Feb 1975 benefit concert stands out as a particularly legendary event. The Main Point finally closed its doors in 1981.

At the request of Philadelphia's WMMR-FM disc jockey Ed Sciaky, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed a 05 Feb 1975 concert at The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, PA. This was a benefit show held for the financially struggling club, with Bruce and the band being the sole act on the bill. The show was MC'd by Sciaky and was broadcast by WMMR-FM on the same night. The station solicited for donations to be made by phone during the broadcast.

Shortly before he passed away in January 2004, Sciaky told Backstreets magazine (issue #82, Spring 2005) that the now-famous broadcast almost never happened. After a promise from Bruce Springsteen and Mike Appel to do a broadcast of the 02 Feb 1975 Main Point benefit, Springsteen decided the day of the show that he didn't want it to air. He was playing some new songs, which would soon appear on his upcoming Born To Run album, and many of them were still unfinished. Sciaky had to call Springsteen, despite Appel's objections, trying to convince him to at least do a shortened broadcast. In the end, Springsteen decided to do the whole show on the radio.

The show was not broadcast live-as-it-happened. "We didn't have a phone line from The Main Point, so they had to tape the show in hour-long segments and then drive them to the station and put them on the air," Sciaky explained to Backstreets. "And after the final reel had played, Bruce's lighting guy, Marc Brickman took all of the tapes. So we never got a good copy of the show. But it was a classic show, and it's collected to this day, and I'm glad."

This famous Main point concert was taped off the airwaves and immediately started circulating among a number of fans. In the late seventies, an edited from of the broadcast became available on vinyl bootlegs. This changed in the digital era, when pioneering Italian label and Springsteen specialists Great Dane Records released the show in 1990 on the 2-disc CD bootleg The Saint, The Incident & The Main Point Shuffle.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Saint, The Incident & The Main Point Shuffle (Great Dane Records)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Saint, The Incident & The Main Point Shuffle (Great Dane Records)

The Saint, The Incident & The Main Point Shuffle utilized the commonly circulated recording of the broadcast, but a couple of years after its release, a 10-inch reel-to-reel tape containing the first 90 minutes of the pre-FM recording of The Main Point show made its way into collectors' hands. On this recording, the sound quality is far superior to the much more compressed off-air recording. The last 70-plus minutes of the performance, or what's presumably on a second reel, were never found from the pre-FM source. The discovery of the pre-FM reel-to-reel tape spurred a host of new bootleg releases, including the first "Masters Plus" reissue by Great Dane Records itself, which paired the new 90-minute pre-FM recording with the original FM-sourced remainder of the show.

The 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point was commercially released in the UK. Since 2005 some enterprising record labels in the UK have been releasing Bruce Springsteen radio and TV broadcasts (and some soundboard recordings) from the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Though these releases are not authorized by Bruce Springsteen or his record company, they are lawful due to a legal loophole in the UK.

Bruce Springsteen -- Live On Air
Bruce Springsteen -- Live On Air

CD + DVD - American Legends Ltd (AML2041) - EU, 2005

The audio CD contains part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point and the DVD contains various TV appearances from the nineties.
Bruce Springsteen -- Transmissions
Bruce Springsteen -- Transmissions

CD - Storming (SMC2447) - UK, 2007

This release contains part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point, plus two TV appearances from the nineties.
Bruce Springsteen -- Live On Air
Bruce Springsteen -- Live On Air

CD + DVD - Southworld (unknown catalog number) - UK, 2010

The audio CD contains part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point and the bonus DVD contains various TV appearances from the nineties.
Bruce Springsteen -- The Best
Bruce Springsteen -- The Best "Live On Air" Of Bruce Springsteen

CD - KM Records (KMR 0856-2) - EU, 2010

This release contains part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live At The Main Point, 1975
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live At The Main Point, 1975

2xCD - Leftfield Media (LFM2CD503) - UK, 2011

This release contains the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live At The Main Point 1975
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live At The Main Point 1975

4xLP - Let Them Eat Vinyl (LETV035LP) - UK, 2011

This release contains the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point. It was released under exclusive agreement with Leftfield Media.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live At The Main Point 1975 Volume 1
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live At The Main Point 1975 Volume 1

2xLP - Let Them Eat Vinyl (LETV190LP) - UK, 2014

This release contains part 1 of two of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point. It was released under exclusive agreement with Leftfield Media.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live At The Main Point 1975 Volume 2
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live At The Main Point 1975 Volume 2

2xLP - Let Them Eat Vinyl (LETV191LP) - UK, 2014

This release contains part 2 of two of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point. It was released under exclusive agreement with Leftfield Media.
Bruce Springsteen -- The Spirit Of The Radio: Legendary Broadcasts From The Early 1970s
Bruce Springsteen -- The Spirit Of The Radio: Legendary Broadcasts From The Early 1970s

3xCD - Parallel Lines (PLCD022) - Europe, 2014

This release contains the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast, the 24 Apr 1973 WMMR-FM radio broadcast, and part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point.
Bruce Springsteen -- Live To Air
Bruce Springsteen -- Live To Air

2xCD - The Store For Music (SFMCD267) - UK, 2014

This release contains part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point and various TV appearances from the nineties.
Bruce Springsteen -- On The Crest Of The Airwaves
Bruce Springsteen -- On The Crest Of The Airwaves

Digital album - Rock Melon (no catalog number) - UK, 2014

This is a download-only digital album. It contains the 09 Mar 1974 KLOL-FM radio broadcast, the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point, and various TV appearances from the nineties.
Bruce Springsteen -- Live Collection
Bruce Springsteen -- Live Collection

3xCD - Bandana (BAND1011) - UK, 2015

This release contains the 24 Apr 1973 WMMR-FM radio broadcast, part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point, and various TV appearances from the nineties.
Bruce Springsteen -- Fifth Of February, Bryn Mawr - WMMR FM
Bruce Springsteen -- Fifth Of February, Bryn Mawr - WMMR FM

LP - Bad Joker (BOSS 5-1975) - EU, 2015

This release contains part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point.
Bruce Springsteen -- The Boss Live On Radio '75
Bruce Springsteen -- The Boss Live On Radio '75

CD-R - Peacock Records Ltd (unknown catalog number) - UK, 2015

This release contains part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- The Main Point
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- The Main Point

Digital album - BKC (no catalog number) - UK, 2015

This is a download-only digital album. It contains the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA. February 5th, 1975
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA. February 5th, 1975

Digital album - Doxy Records (no catalog number) - UK, 2015

This is a download-only digital album. It contains the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point.
Bruce Springsteen -- The Ultimate Main Point '75
Bruce Springsteen -- The Ultimate Main Point '75

2xCD - Rox Vox (RV2CD2055) - Europe, 2016

This release contains the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live At The Main Point, Pennsylvania, April 1975
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -- Live At The Main Point, Pennsylvania, April 1975

LP - Smalltown (SMALLT 66) - Europe, 2017

This release contains part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point.

Credits

Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.

Available Versions

List of available versions of INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET on this website:

INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Album version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Early draft]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 29 Jan 1974 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 05 Feb 1975 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 11 Oct 1975 (late show) version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 07 Apr 1976 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 25 Mar 1977 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 20 Sep 1978 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 29 Dec 1980 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 23 Oct 1999 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 08 Dec 2001 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 16 Oct 2002 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 27 Oct 2002 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 11 Aug 2003 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 08 Nov 2005 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 06 Oct 2007 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 31 Jul 2008 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 07 Nov 2009 version]
INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET [Live 26 Feb 2014 version]

Page last updated: 13 Jan 2013