If you are a long standing Bruce Springsteen fan it would be surprising if this "bootleg" album has not crossed your path some time in the last 30 years in one of its many guises. It has been previously titled "Prodigal Son At The Main Point - February 5th, 1975", "The Saint, The Incident & The Main Point Shuffle" and most famously "You can trust your car to the man who wears the star". What we have here is one of Springsteen's most famous live bootlegs recorded on the cusp of him becoming one of rock's great poets and icons, in short a fascinating document of evolving songs which are about to become legendary.
This is the great man shortly following Jon Landau's famous/infamous "Born to Run" proclamation that "I have seen the future of rock n roll and its name is Bruce Springsteen". Recorded live at the Main Point club in Brynmawr (yes the Welsh get everywhere), Pennsylvania, February 5th, 1975 and broadcast across the area on FM Broadcast WMMR - Main Point benefit show. Springsteen was at this gig still trailing new songs for Born to Run and thus we see the premiere of Thunder Road, actually called at that time Wings For Wheels and containing a very different verse and lyric structure. There are also pretty faithful roll outs of the early live versions of "Born To Run" and "Jungleland". There are in addition covers including a raved-up version of Harold Dorman's 1960 hit "Mountain Of Love.", and a brilliant take on Bob Dylan's "I Want You'. At the time of course many Springsteen supporters seemed to go out of their way to write off any connection between the music of these two great artists, well here it is in all its glory.
Perhaps the most special of the nicely spruced up recordings here are associated with one of Springsteen's most underrated album "The Wild. The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. It is your reviewers all time favourite "Boss" album that is packed with great music particularly two songs which would make any self respecting Springsteen top 10 - namely New York City Serenade and Rosalita. The latter is so well known because of the famous Old Grey Whistle Test video of one of Springsteen's Arizona concerts when he is mobbed on stage by female fan after female fan while he and the E Street Band demonstrate the true redemptive power of rock n roll. In this excellent live version he manages to introduce a segment of the "Theme from Shaft' and after all these years you still smile like a blithering idiot when he emphatically announces that "the record company Rosie, gave me a big advance". "New York city serenade" was always a long song but here it is turned into 20 minutes of rare beauty including a monologue and a building piano which climaxes as Bruce sings, "This is midnight in Manhattan, it's no time to get cute," with the force of nature that is the E Street Band rising up and flexing all their muscles. Frankly it is as good as it gets and worth the price of the album in its entirety.
Other great highlights include the opener "Incident On 57th Street" which is different to the album version and probably better. A very dramatic "For You" sees Springsteen at his most passionate while the encore Back in the USA would have clearly caused structural damage to the building! Live at the Main Point according to Uncut sees the transition from Bruce Springsteen to the "Boss". It also shows that only a short point into his career that he and the E Street Band had already become supreme masters of stagecraft. You don't need me to tell you what to do next...