Article 2017-04-21 Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, NJ

Springsteen surprise at the Asbury Park Music and Film Fest

ASBURY PARK - A Springsteen surprise rocked the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival.

Bruce Springsteen joined Southside Johnny, Stevie Van Zandt, other members of the E Street Band, Upstage Club legends, and the Lakehouse Jr. Pros kids band in a two-hour jam marking the premiere of the new Upstage documentary, “Just Before the Dawn: Riot. Redemption. Rock ‘n’ Roll.” by filmmaker Tom Jones, Friday night at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park.

“It’s great,” said Springsteen to the Asbury Park Press after the show. “It’s nice to see new talent in Asbury and the old guys still cranking it out. It’s very enjoyable.”

Springsteen and crew performed rock and R&B staples along with a few rarities and surprises. The jam began with Van Zandt on vocals for “Blues is My Business” and Chuck Berry’s “Bye, Bye Johnny.” Southside sang the blues standard “Got My Mojo Workin’,” “The Fever,” and a gentle segue of “Stand By Me” into “I Don’t Want to Go Home.” Springsteen sang Little Richard’s “Lucille.”

It’s the common language of music — specifically music of the ‘50s and ‘60s — that created a bond among the players on the Paramount stage that has lasted for more than 45 years since the Upstage closed. Springsteen and Southside shared vocals on Wilson Pickett’s “Something You Got.” David Sancious, a former keyboardist for the E Street Band, played the heck out of a guitar on a Marc Ribler sung cover of Jimi Hendrix’ “Voodo Child.” Nicky Addeo, who wasn’t a part of the Upstage scene in the late ‘60s but was an inspiration to a young Springsteen, stopped the show with a scintillating rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”

“Thank you, Asbury Park,” Addeo said.

The Lakehouse Jr. Pros, who were prominent in the film, played the evening’s only new song, Joe Petillo’s “The Hours Before Dawn,” which was also featured in the movie. The fleet-fingered Oliver Van Nostrand, 10, Ocean Township, dazzled the crowd with his guitar playing.

“The legends are here but I want you to see the new blood,” said Albie Monterrosa, music director of the city’s Lakehouse Music Academy.

Then, in an evening of big surprises, a really big surprise.

“We’re the Upstage Jam Band and we’re going to see if we can jam on this one,” said Vini Lopez, the founding drummer for the E Street Band. He proceeded to sing, with Springsteen on backing vocals, “Ballad of Jesse James,” recorded by the former Bruce Springsteen Band in 1972 at Carl “Tinker” West’s Challenger Eastern Surfboards in Highlands.

It seemed to take even Springsteen by surprise. The song was finally released on “Chapter and Verse,” which accompanied Springsteen’s autobiography, “Born to Run,” last year.

At varying times, Ernest “Boom” Carter, former drummer for the E Street Band; Jeff Kazee; Ricky DeSarno; Petillo; Richie Blackwelll Paul Whistler; Billy Ryan; Gerry Carboy; Albee Tellone; Tommy LaBella, Danny Clinch, John Conti, Eddie Manion, Clark Gayton and Stan Harrison were on stage. Southside Johnny, Sancious, Carter, Jones and Jon Leidersdorff of the Lakehouse participated in a panel moderated by Asbury Park Press writers Jean Mikle and Alex Biese. Tom Donovan, the publisher of the Asbury Park Press and, introduced the jam.

The Upstage, which was open from 1968 to 1971, was the Cookman Avenue spot where Springsteen, Lopez, Sancious, Garry Tallent, Danny Federici, Carter, Southside Johnny, Van Zandt and more would emerge from to deliver to the world the Sound of Asbury Park.

The Asbury Park Music and Film Festival, which runs through Sunday, April 23, explores the role of music in film and celebrates Asbury Park, the city where generations of musical greats, from Count Basie and Springsteen, have played before stardom. The fest, presented by RWJ Barnabas Health and the Asbury Park Press, raises funds for the music education for the kids of Asbury Park and the surrounding areas, including music programs at the Hope Academy Charter School, the Hip Hop Institute of the Asbury Park branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County, and the Asbury Park Summer Recreation Music Camp.

Friday night at the Paramount was full of magical moments, both big and small. There was Springsteen calling for his childhood pal Blackwell to take the stage with him before the curtain went up. The Boss also requested that Sancious play organ as, “When I first met Davey, he was playing the organ.” Then, on a show closing “Johnny B. Goode,” Springsteen made sure to share a mic with micless Lakehouse Jr. Pro singer Lauren Gill, 11 of Wall.

“It was a lovely night and a lot of fun,” Springsteen said.

By Chris Jordan via Asbury Park Press.
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