"The Patient Ferris Wheel" as written by and Brian Fallon....
Not tonight, not tonight
Honey I, am on fire
I can't feel a single thing but the weight of the wires

Crackin' electric light
Remember baby, we were a stone
And we would sleep where we're fallin'

We would fight about it (fight about it)
We'd fight about it (fight about it)
Then we laughed about it (laughed about it)
And we'd ride on, ride on
Ferris wheel lights on

I'd never felt so strange
Standin' in the Jersey rain
Thinkin' about what an old man said
Maybe I should call me an ambulance

I never felt so strange
Standin' in the poundin' rain
Thinkin' about what my mother once said
Maybe I should call me an ambulance

Not tonight, not tonight
Honey I, am on fire
If we don't come through, they're gonna bury us alive

In this great abyss
Of just what might have been
Where we can take a seat at the bar with the other broken heroes

Where they talk about it (talk about it)
Just talk about it (talk about it)
And do nothin' 'bout it (nothin' 'bout it)
Right on, right on
Ferris wheel lights on

I'd never felt so strange
Standin' in the Jersey rain
Thinkin' about what an old man said
Maybe I should call me an ambulance

I'd never felt so strange
Standin' in the poundin' rain
Thinkin' about what my mother once said
Maybe I should call me an ambulance

I'd never felt so strange
Standin' in the Jersey rain
Thinkin' about what Wagin' Matty said
Maybe I should call me an ambulance

Maybe I should call me an ambulance

I'd never felt so strange
Standin' in the Jersey rain
Thinkin' about what an old man said
Maybe I should call me an ambulance

I'd never felt so strange
Standin' in the poundin' rain
Thinkin' about what my mama always said
Maybe I should call me an ambulance

Carnival lights
Fourth of July
Boardwalk talks
In the dead of night

Always made you smile
Always made you smile
Always made you smile


Lyrics submitted by Keikonium

"The Patient Ferris Wheel" as written by Brian Fallon

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Patient Ferris Wheel song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentHeres what I think: (baring in mind the rest of the album)

    He is on a date at the carnival, and his date thinks that it would be a good idea to run away with the carnival, to escape. He knows that it's a bad idea so he tells her to forget about it (not tonight) and just enjoy the night, as he is (i'm on fire). She agrees with him and they laugh about the thought (were fine about it...and we laughed about it). She still wants to, however, so they argue some more and he starts to tell her how much they will be missed and if they do go (if we don't come through, they're gonna bury us alive) and she'll regret it and always wish for the life she could have had (in this great abyss of just what might have been), he also tells her that she'll just end like all the other's who have tried to get out of his town before (sit at the bar with all the other broken heros).

    I have two possible meanings about what the chorus might mean:

    She decides to go anyway, so he gets very drunk (i've never felt so strange) and is regreting how much he has drunk and considers the safest way to get home(mabey I should call me an ambulance) this all happens in the middle of a shower (rain)
    OR
    She decides to go, and he goes with her. He then unwillingly takes drugs (I've never felt so strange) and starts to have flashbacks about his mother (what my mother once said), a person he looks up to (an old mn said), as it gets worse he sees people he has never met (Wiggs and Matty said [they are the Prophets of Asbury Park, NJ, according to the lyric book]). He changes his mind and the only way he can see to get home is to call an ambulance. This all happens in the middle of a shower (rain).
    RockNRollOuton July 25, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsome corrections:

    right on, ride on (instead of ride on, ride on)
    thinking about what Wiggs and Matty said (insteady of Jemany)
    boardwalk talk (instead of boy won't talk)

    thats what it says in the album booklet anyway
    SamuelHWon October 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsome corrections:

    right on, ride on (instead of ride on, ride on)
    thinking about what Wiggs and Matty said (insteady of Jemany)
    boardwalk talk (instead of boy won't talk)

    thats what it says in the album booklet anyway
    SamuelHWon October 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHere are the correct lyrics straight from the book

    Not tonight
    Not tonight
    Honey I, am on fire
    I can't feel a single thing but the weight of the wires
    Cracking electric like
    Remember baby we were a stone
    And we would sleep where we're falling

    We were fine about it (fine about it)
    Were fine about it (fine about it)
    We laughed about it (laughed about it)
    Right on, ride on
    Ferris wheel lights on

    I never felt so strange
    Standing in the Jersey rain
    Thinking about what an old man said
    Maybe I should call me an ambulance

    I never felt so strange
    Standing in the pounding rain
    Thinking about what my mother once said
    Maybe I should call me an ambulance

    Not tonight
    Not tonight
    Honey I, am on fire
    If we don't come through, they gonna bury us alive
    Into this great abyss
    Of just what, might have been
    Where we can take a seat at the bar with the other broken heroes

    Where they talk about it (talk about it)
    Just talk about it (talk about it)
    Do nothing 'bout it (nothing 'bout it)
    Ride on, right on
    Ferris wheel lights on

    I never felt so strange
    Standing in the Jersey rain
    Thinking about what an old man said
    Maybe I should call me an ambulance

    I never felt so strange
    Standing in the pounding rain
    Thinking about what my mother once said
    Maybe I should call me an ambulance

    I've never felt so strange
    Standing in the Jersey rain
    Thinking about what Wiggs & Matty said
    Maybe I should call me an ambulance

    Maybe I should call me an ambulance

    I never felt so strange
    Standing in the Jersey rain
    Thinking about what an old man said
    Maybe I should call me an ambulance

    I've never felt so strange
    Standing in the pounding rain
    Thinking about what my mama always said
    Maybe I should call me an ambulance

    Carnival lights
    4th of July
    Boardwalk talk
    In the dead of the night

    Always made you smile
    Always made you smile
    Always made you smile
    ragefist31on March 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a great song. I think this is simply a song about a boy missing hanging out/dating a girl.
    owiseone35on March 28, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think RockNRollOut has the verses and overall song interpretation covered very well.

    For me, I have some different thoughts on the meaning of the chorus:

    I'd never felt so strange
    Standin' in the Jersey rain
    Thinkin' about what an old man said / (Thinkin' about what my mother once said / Thinkin' about what Wiggs & Matty said)
    Maybe I should call me an ambulance

    Fallon's narrators and Fallon himself are quite contemplative. I imagine a man on the brink of a major life change here, thinking back to advice he's been given - from an old man (perhaps one with regrets and advice specific to his situation), his mother and, according to RockNRollOut, a couple of prophets in Wiggs and Matty. So he's thinking of advice he's been given, while factoring in his own dreams and his own fears - a sort of cognitive dissonance that can make one feel strange.
    He feels strange enough that he thinks there may be something medically wrong with him and that he could be in need of medical care (calling an ambulance).

    Have you ever made a choice with consequences that could not be reversed and there was a high probability of risk - yet if you don't take a chance you could be equally unfulfilled? Making a big choice - jumping off the precipice into the unknown - is enough to make someone feel crazy - leaving everything you've known, starting completely over, the kinds of things that could be on the mind of the couple who are enjoying a night at the carnival and hinting at leaving. He's considering the risks of escaping and knows if he doesn't, there is lost potential, like for the broken heroes at the bar, who now only have their regrets and missed opportunities to think back upon and drink to.

    On a different level, every time I drive by the fair in the summer in my town I think of this song. There's something magical about being young and despite your troubles, enjoying the wires and lights of the Ferris wheel, with the night sky and stars beyond.
    HighLonesomeon February 15, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about a breakup.

    The first verse is about a women the narrator loves breaking up with him on a ferris wheel: "Not tonight, not tonight" and the feeling of being on fire from the heartache and feeling out of body where he can only sense the weight of the wires and hear the cracking electricity. This verse ends thinking back to before there were problems in the relationship.

    Whatever the problems were, they were even once "fine about it." Clearly that's not the case anymore. Regardless of his feelings of pain, the ferris wheel keeps spinning: time moves on even when we are in pain.

    The verse about them not coming through is about the hopes and expectations he had for the relationship. He doesn't want to be like other lovers that gave up and didn't work out their problems. "Broken heroes" is a nod to the line in Born to Run but these broken heroes are now drinking to their past rather than being on a last chance power drive. They are doing nothing. The narrator doesn't want to give up. This verse also ends noting that the ferris wheel is still on: again this is a metaphor for time as an indifferent force passing by.

    After his girl leaves him, he was left alone in the rain. I wouldn't be surprised if this part is true because of its heavy use in the song and given the odd, but poetic wording. An old man saying, "Maybe you should call yourself an ambulance" is a line someone would remember. The narrator (or Brian) looked so hurt from the breakup standing in the rain someone actually said this. The "strange" feeling is shock from someone you love leaving you. While standing there in shock he thinks of advice his mother, and others, gave him. That advice is open to interpretation.

    The song ends thinking back on the memories that made him love the woman.
    MarcoSamyon July 31, 2017   Link

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