Live 22 Jun 2005 version
[Bruce Springsteen:] All right, here's one, uh, let me see... Yeah... This is a song, uh, this is a birthday song, I'm gonna send this out for somebody's birthday, asked for it. Let's hear the birthday boy? No, I don't think it's you. (chuckles) Huh? Dennis? Is that you? You are? What was the song you wanted?
[Dennis:] Wild Billy!
[Bruce Springsteen:] All right. (laughs) All right, this is for Dennis. How old were you, hold old are you?
[Bruce Springsteen:] No, how old are you?
[Bruce Springsteen:] You're 28? Hell, man. (chuckles) I don't think you were around when I wrote this one. (chuckles) Happy birthday.
[P]The machinist climbs his Ferris wheel like a brave
And the fire eater's lyin' in a pool of sweat, victim of the heat wave
Behind the tent, the hired hand tightens his legs on the sword swallower's blade
Circus town's on the shortwave
Well, the runway lies ahead like a great false dawn
Yeah, Fat Lady, Big Mama, Missy Bimbo sits in her chair and yawns
And the man-beast lies in his cage sniffing popcorn
And the midget licks his fingers and suffers Missy Bimbo's scorn
And circus town's been born
Yeah, and a press roll, drummer go, ballerina to-and-fro
Cartwheelin' up on that tightrope, with a cannon blast, lightin' flash
Movin' fast, through the tent, Mars bent, he's gonna miss his fall
Oh, God save the human cannonball
And the flying Zambinis watch Margarita do her neck twist
And the ringmaster gets the crowd to count along: "Ninety-five, ninety-six, ninety-seven"
Ragged suitcase in his hand, steals silently away from the circus grounds
And the highway's haunted by those carnival sounds
They dance like a great greasepaint ghost on the wind
Man in baggy pants, a lonely face, crazy grin
Runnin' home to some small Ohio town
Jesus, send some good women to save all the clowns
You know who I'm talkin' about [chuckles]
And circus boy dances like a monkey on barbed wire
And the barker romances with a junkie, she's got a flat tire
Yeah, and the elephants dance real funky, and the band plays like a jungle fire
Circus town's on the live wire
The strong man, Sampson, lifts the midget, little Tiny Tim, way up, way up on his shoulders
Carries him off down the midway
Past the kids, past the sailors, to his dimly lit trailer
And the Ferris wheel turns and turns like it ain't ever gonna stop
And the circus boy leans -- leans over and...
The circus boss leans over and whispers into the little boy's ear, "Hey son, you wanna try the big top?"
All aboard, Nebraska's our next stop
The above lyrics are for the live 22 Jun 2005 performance of WILD BILLY'S CIRCUS STORY at Forum København in Copenhagen, Denmark, during the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour. The song was played in a solo acoustic guitar and harmonica arrangement. This was the first ever performance of WILD BILLY'S CIRCUS STORY outside the United States.
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.
List of available versions of WILD BILLY'S CIRCUS STORY on this website:WILD BILLY'S CIRCUS STORY [Album version]