Can You Solve Widener – Springsteen Mystery?

March 6, 2012

With the opening of the Bruce Springsteen exhibit at the National Constitution Center, and today’s release of his new album, Wrecking Ball, there is renewed interest in Springsteen’s career, especially the early years.

For nearly four decades, fans have debated the origin of some of the earliest concert footage of “The Boss” filmed at Widener College in February 1975.

One theory is that the filming of the Widener concert was approved by Springsteen himself, while others argue that it was just a random fan. For years, the university has received calls and e-mails from fans and Springsteen scholars about his concert and we have been unable to provide those answers.

If you have any information about who filmed the historic concert at Widener, please post to the blog and help us solve this mystery once and for all!



  1. I was in the top 100 or so people to get in the doors that night so I sat/stood fairly close to the stage. I do remember waiting outside for like 2 hours – the concert was supposed to start around 7 and my friend and I were about only 20th in line. Then somewhere around 8:30 the crowd got restless and surged the door and we got pushed back. Before the surge there was one automobile parked close to the door – the surge had people clambering over the top of that car – it got trashed. It was shoulder to shoulder to squeeze in the gym door (I think they only opened one side) and we just ran as far forwards as possible. Based on the camera angle in the above segment, the cameraman was to the left of us and possibly behind us. I don’t recall ever seeing any 8mm cameras being operated. As you can see there was also plenty of smoke in the room despite any ban on smoking in the gym.

    Another friend in college who was into photography asked Bruce if he needed a photographer and he was told he already had one! Perhaps it was a Bruce hire. Has anyone asked the man himself?

    BTW – I do remember that song being played that night!

    • Michael: Part of the controversy comes from the fact that segments from the concert were shown as part of a Springsteen documentary in the 1990s and they were from the same angle but of much better quality — maybe from the original. The other possibility is a second videographer, perhaps on the grassy knoll ;).

      I could try to go through Springsteen’s publicist to see if I can get an answer, but I thought I would give our alumni first crack at solving the mystery. Thanks for your response. Sounds like it was a great concert despite the wait.

  2. The Springsteen — Widener video mystery has been solved! The video was actually shot by two friends working together. It’s a story of success, loss, and a questionable breathing problem. More details in the days to come.

  3. Wow. This is incredible…as a Boss fan, but not a historian, seeing early footage, especially this song which would become one of the most Iconic songs in American music, “Thunder Road”, performed right here on campus is amazing.

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