Prodigal Son At The Main Point

Monday, 28 November 2011



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Prodigal Son At The Main Point

Prodigal Son - # PS-002-200304SPR1NGST33N


05.02.1975 - The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA


Disc 1

01. Incident On 57th Street
02. Mountain Of Love
03. BornTo Run

04. Intro

05. The E Street Shuffle
06. Wings Forr Wheels (Thunder Road)
07. I Want You
08. Spirit In The Night
09. She’s The One

10. Growin’ Up
11. It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City

12. Jungleland

Disc 2

01. Kitty’s Back
02. New York City Serenade
03. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
04. 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
05. A Love So Fine

06. For You

07. Back In The U.S.A.




+ Brucebase (05.02.1975): One show, held as a benefit for the ~270 seat coffeehouse, with Springsteen & The E Street Band the sole act on the bill. The show was emceed by DJ Ed Sciaky and began just after 9.00pm. It was not a true simulcast, rather it was broadcast by WMMR-FM on about a 2 hour delay the same night. Interestingly, Springsteen almost backed out of his promise to allow the show to be broadcast. He wanted to play new songs that were still unfinished - it took a concentrated effort by Sciaky on the day of the concert to talk Bruce round. An attendee review of the show from 1975 by critic David Fricke states the show took place on February 3rd, but this appears to be an error by Fricke given detailed interview comments by Sciaky and the recollections of other attendees. Press reports suggest that Springsteen raised over $1,000 for the Main Point.

The complete show was broadcast and the above-noted 18 song setlist represents the entire concert. Not only is it one of the longest (160 minutes) single-show gigs up to this point but it's one of the most compelling performances of Springsteen's entire career. There are spellbinding renditions of “Incident", “New York City Serenade” and "For You" (in the solo piano arrangement), the earliest known performances of "Mountain Of Love" and "Thunder Road" (with work-in-progress "Wings For Wheels" title/lyrics) plus a wild, majestic version of Chuck Berry's "Back In The U.S.A."

This famous show has circulated on vinyl boots and tapes since the mid-'70s, but rarely the entire show (early vinyl boots were missing the final 6 songs in the setlist) and always in variable quality. The entire performance is now available in outstanding (though not flawless - see below) sound quality on the CDs ‘The Saint, The Incident & The Main Point Shuffle', in improved quality with a 'Masters Plus' subtitle (both Great Dane), ‘You Can Trust Your Car To The Man Who Wears The Star’ (Labor of Love) and most recently (and in the finest overall quality yet) on 'Prodigal Son At The Main Point' (Prodigal Son) and ‘Main Point Night’ (Crystal Cat). Also released to retail stores in the UK on a 2 CD set entitled 'Live At The Main Point' (Left Field Media) in April 2011. This is not an official Sony release, rather an enterprising record label taking advantage of a legal loophole. Unfortunately this release suffers from the same sonic problems detailed below and sounds much the same as the other releases. In July 2011 the final 63 minutes finally emerged in improved quality, thanks to a home-taping enthusiast from Philadelphia. He recorded the concert on reel at 3-3/4 IPS, and the result is a significant upgrade. The quality may not quite match the pre-FM segment, but it is the best we can expect unless a pre-FM source of the last hour should be found. A promotion-only 7” flexidisc issued to subscribers of Austrian pop magazine ‘Rennbahn Express’ in June 1981 contains Sciaky’s intro from this show, albeit edited to avoid references to WMMR and The Main Point. Thanks to Lost in the Flood for the flexidisc info.

The final 63 minutes or so of this show (from around eight minutes into "Kitty's Back" onwards) has never surfaced in collector circles in quite as crisp, clear and dynamic a sound quality as the rest of the show. There are a couple of possible explanations for this but the most likely reason is that the early part of the show has been sourced from pre-broadcast reels (or copies of them) but the latter part of the show is sourced from a broadcast reel (which involves compression). In an interview in Backstreets Magazine #82 Ed Sciaky mentioned some important information, "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... and after the final reel had played, Bruce's lighting guy Marc Brickman (Lighting Director) took all of the tapes. So we (WMMR) never got a good copy of the show”. The concert broadcast was also likely to have been submitted to some kind of auto-limiter, designed to limit the volume difference between loud and quiet segments. This effect is audible throughout the FM broadcast.

Contrary to myth the police siren heard at the conclusion of “Incident On 57th Street” is an audio prop that had been utilized at a few of Bruce’s shows just prior to this one, i.e. it was not a real vehicle.


sqrlhntr said...

Any way you can put this back up?

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