SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Live 05 Feb 1975 version

Crazy Janey and her mission man were back in the alley tradin' hands
When along came Wild Billy and his friend G-Man, all duded up for Saturday night
Well, Billy slammed on his coaster brakes
Said, "Anybody wanna go on up to Greasy Lake?
It's about a mile down on the dark side of route eighty-eight
I got a bottle of rose, let's try it
We'll pick up Hazy Davy and Killer Joe, and I'll take you all out to where the gypsy angels go
Built like light
And they dance like spirits in the night (all night)
In the night (all night)
Oh, baby don't know what it do to you
Like a spirit in the night (all night)
In the night (all night)
Stand up and let it shoot through you

Wild Billy was a crazy cat and he shook some dust out of his coonskin cap
Cried, "Trust some of this, it'll show you where you're at, at least it'll help you really feel it"
By the time we made it up to Greasy Lake I had my head out the window; Janey's fingers were in the cake
I think I really dug her; I was too loose to fake
Said, "I'm hurt," she said, "Honey, let me heal it"
We danced all night to a soul fairy band
She kissed me just right like only a lonely angel can
Felt so nice, just as soft as a spirit in the night (all night)
All the night (all night)
Baby don't know what it'll do to you
Like a spirit in the night (all night)
All the night (all night)
Stand up and let it shoot through you
Whoa!

The night grew bright, the stars threw light on Billy and Davy
Dancin' in the moonlight
They were down near the water in a stone mud fight
Killer Joe passed out on the lawn

Now, Hazy Davy, he got really hurt, well, he ran into the lake in just his socks and a shirt
Me and Crazy Janey was makin' love in the dirt, singin' our birthday songs
And then Janey said, "Hey, little brother, don't you think it's time we go?"
So we closed our eyes and said goodbye to gypsy angel row, felt so right
Like a spirit in the night (all night)
In the night (all night)
Whoa, don't know what it do to you
Like a spirit in the night (all night)
All the night (all night)
Stand up and let it shoot through you
Like a spirit in the night (all night)
All the night (all night)
All that night (all night)
Oh, all night (all night)
Oh, all night (all night)
All right, ah
Like a spirit in the night
Oh, like a spirit in the night
Yeah, like a spirit in the night
Oh, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, doo, da, da, da, da, da, da, da


Page last updated: 14 Sep 2011

Info

The above lyrics are for the live 05 Feb 1975 performance of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT at The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, PA, during The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle Tour. The song was played in a full-band, album-style arrangement, and featured a jazzy piano and saxophone introduction.

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 homebaked 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.

(Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce photo)

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.

Part of The Main Point show was legally released in the UK in 2005 by American Legends Limited as Live On Air, reissued in 2007 by Storming as Transmissions, reissued again in 2010 by Southworld as Live On Air, reissued again in 2011 by Facerock as The Best "Live On Air" Of Bruce Springsteen, and reissued again in 2014 by The Store For Music as Live To Air. The complete show was released in 2011 by Left Field Media as a 2-CD set titled Live At The Main Point, 1975, by Let Them East Vinyl (under exclusive agreement with Left Field Media) as a 4-LP box set titled Live At The Main Point 1975, and in 2014 by Parallel Lines as part of a 3-CD set titled The Spirit Of The Radio: Legendary Broadcasts From The Early 1970s that also includes a CD containing the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast and the 24 Apr 1973 WMMR-FM radio broadcast. Though these releases are not authorized by Bruce Springsteen or his record company, they are lawful due to a legal loophole in the UK.

05 Feb 1975 concert setlist:

  1. INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET
  2. MOUNTAIN OF LOVE
  3. BORN TO RUN
  4. THE E STREET SHUFFLE
  5. THUNDER ROAD
  6. I WANT YOU
  7. SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
  8. SHE'S THE ONE
  9. GROWIN' UP
  10. IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY
  11. JUNGLELAND
  12. KITTY'S BACK
  13. NEW YORK CITY SERENADE
  14. ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)
  15. 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY)
  16. A LOVE SO FINE
  17. FOR YOU
  18. BACK IN THE USA

Available Versions

List of available versions of SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT on this website:

Credits

Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake).