Live 05 Feb 1975 version
[Spoken:] Let's do, uh, let's do, uh, let's do, uh, The E Street Shuffle. Okay. Ah. Bring the beat down, yeah.
Do the song!
[Spoken intro:] Did I tell you how I, how I ran into this guy here? No? Well, the way, the way I met this kid was, it was like, I don't know if I should tell, it was like, 3 in the morning, 3:30, right? In Asbury Park. Bring the band down a little bit. And, uh, all the bars closed, all the bars closed down. And, uh, and it was a night, it was a night like last night, except it was raining like crazy, like, the wind was blowing, it was raining, and I was out, you know, down by the Prince. You know where that, remember that? I was down by this place, it's called the prince. And I was walking down the street. And there's nobody else out on the street, it's, it's windy, the rain's coming down, and I got my jacket, my other one, this, this is my fancy jacket, you see. If, uh, I got my, I got my other jacket, all bundled up, you know, cool, I was hustling down the street. And, and way 'bout, about three blocks down, you know, way down the street, I see this, this, this, this form coming towards me. So it gets a little closer, and there's this cat, what, you know, and he gets a little closer, and I say, "Well, I, I don't wanna take any chances, I'm gonna, you know," so I cross the street, I didn't even walk on the same side. And I, wait, when I crossed the street, he crossed the street. So, I tried to, I tried to make believe I didn't notice, and I sort of, like, tried to nonchalantly cross the street again! He crossed the street again. He's getting, he's getting closer all the time. And about a block away was this guy — I mean, it's windy, it's like, like eighty mile-per-hour gale force winds, right? Right? Wet, yeah! And, uh, and down the end of the street, here comes this guy dressed in a white suit, right? With a walking stick, a cane, a white hat, with a hot top button leather coat thrown over his shoulders, walking real slow in my direction. So, uh, we got closer, we got closer, then we got about half a block away. I was getting really scared, so I jumped in the doorway, and I figured I was gonna stand there, let him pass me by. But this guy walks up, stands right in front of the doorway where I'm standing. Right? Puts out his hand, you know. So, I took all the money out of my pockets, threw it on the ground, took my coat off, threw that on the ground. This guy didn't budge, right? Didn't budge an inch. Just standing there with his hand out. Diamond-studded cane. So, slowly I sorta eased my hand down to his, you know. Slowly I eased, eased it down, and, and, and, uh, what happened when we, when we touched,
Sparks light on E Street where the boy prophets walk it handsome and hot
The little girls' souls grow weak when the man-child gives them a double shot
Them schoolboy pops pull out all the stops on a Friday night
Come on, boys!
And them teenage tramps in skin-tight pants do the E Street dance and it's all right
Well, they're either out there dancin' or hooked up in a scuffle
Dressed in snake-skin suits packed with
[Clarence Clemons:] East Coast muscle
Doin' the E Street Shuffle
Let's sing it together!
Well, them E Street brats in twilight duel like flashlight phantoms in full star streams
Whoa, down fire trails on summer nights chasin' little blondies pledged sweet sixteen
Well, Power Thirteen said it's been bad since he gave a trooper everything he had in a late summer scuffle
Now this girl, Little Angel, she's out there on the corner, tryin' to keep them crazy boys out of trouble
Oh, Little Angel dance the shuffle like she's got no brains
She's deaf in combat way down on, oh, down on, oh, down on
Down on Lover's Lane
She drives all the local dudes insane
Little Angel says, "Hey, everybody
Everybody form a line, now"
Everybody form a line, one time
Sparks light on E Street where the boy-prophets walk it handsome and hot
And the little girls' souls grow weak when the man-child gives them a double shot
Little Angel works at Easy Joe's, a joint where all the riot squad goes when they're checking in on the hustle
Now, them boys are forever out there on the corner, loose, lazy, listenin' to the radio, doin' the E Street Shuffle
Oh, and as summer nights turn into summer dreams
Little Angel picks up Power and he slaps on his jeans
And they move on down to the scene
Everybody loose, dancin'
Makin' love, makin' love, makin' love
And they're havin' a party (havin' a party)
Oh, they're havin' a party (havin' a party)
Oh, they're havin' a party (havin' a party)
Whoa, havin' a party (havin' a party)
Now, we're havin' a party (havin' a party)
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, na, na, na, na, na, na, na (havin' a party)
Now we're... (havin' a party)
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa (havin' a party)
Havin' a party (havin' a party)
Havin', havin', havin' a party (havin' a party)
Havin' a party (havin' a party)
Havin' a party (havin' a party)
The above lyrics are for the live 05 Feb 1975 performance of THE E STREET SHUFFLE 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 its well-known mid-seventies "slow" arrangement and concluded with a snippet of Sam Cooke's HAVING A PARTY.
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 heydeys, 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.
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.
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 Europe. Since 2005 some enterprising record labels in Europe (mostly 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 Europe.
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.
List of available versions of THE E STREET SHUFFLE on this website:THE E STREET SHUFFLE [Album version]