Watch Bruce Springsteen’s Surprise Set at ‘Light of Day’ in Asbury Park - EpicNews

Up till late Saturday afternoon, the chances of Bruce Springsteen exhibiting up at the annual Asbury Park charity concert Light of Day appeared fairly miniscule. He was a daily (unannounced) visitor on the present – which raises cash to combat Parkinson’s Illness – most yearly from its inception in 2000 by means of 2015, however he missed the previous 4 consecutive reveals. This yr, he was booked to host an equestrian occasion in Wellington, Florida 24 hours earlier than the beginning of the Gentle of Day festivities. Making issues worse, a winter storm simply occurred to pound the Japanese seaboard all through Saturday that made air journey a considerably dicey proposition.

However experiences that Springsteen one way or the other made his strategy to Asbury Park’s Paramount Theater to affix a lineup that included Dramarama, Jesse Malin, the Weeklings, James Maddock, Joe D’Urso, Willie Nile and Joe Grushecky began circulating on Twitter and varied fan boards a little bit earlier than 5 p.m. Even followers contained in the constructing that weren’t plugged into Springsteen Web caught a glimpse of his longtime guitar tech, Kevin Buell, perched close to the facet of the stage throughout Jesse Malin’s 7:50 p.m. set. There was additionally a second mic stand arrange subsequent to Malin for causes that have been made clear when he introduced {that a} particular visitor was popping out.

“We’re going to convey out a man,” he mentioned proper after taking part in “She Don’t Love Me Now” from his 2015 LP New York Earlier than the Warfare. “I don’t know, some native man…” He continued the talking for the subsequent few seconds, however his phrases have been completely drowned out by thunderous screams of ecstasy. Can something get a crowd going fairly like Bruce Springsteen unannounced at a present in Asbury Park?

Sporting a hat pulled tightly over his eyes and a shawl wrapped round his neck, he duetted with Malin on his 2007 ballad “Damaged Radio” (he additionally seems on the unique recording) and joined in on guitar for his 2017 tune “Meet Me on the Finish of the World” earlier than the curtain fell so the crew might put together for the subsequent act. Matt Jaffe, a 24-year-old singer-songwriter from San Francisco, had the unenviable process of taking part in a few acoustic songs in the course of the changeover, however a lot of the group was frantically texting their associates “HE’S HERE!” and posting distant, blurry pictures of Springsteen to their social media accounts.

And which may be one of many causes that Springsteen has skipped out on the occasion these previous few years, at the very least those the place he didn’t have a present booked some place else that night time. It’s very exhausting for a Jersey viewers to concentrate on anything after they know Springsteen is in the home. The opposite performers get considerably neglected within the mania that erupts.

That’s a disgrace as a result of the non-Springsteen parts of the present have been largely implausible. Dramarama delivered a killer 20-minute set of New Wave classics that climaxed with their 1989 basic “Something, Something (I’ll Give You),” which is really one of many nice forgotten hits of the Eighties. The Weeklings, a Beatles-inspired energy pop band jammed out on a psychedelic cowl of “I Am The Walrus.” British singer-songwriter James Maddock performed a young set of unique highlighted by 2011’s “Stunning Now.” And Joe D’Urso, a person so dedicated to the Gentle of Day trigger that he’s performed all 20 occasions and serves because the treasurer for the group, had all the crowd on their ft for his Springsteen-inspired anthem “Noisy Guitars.”

Springsteen’s guitar tech was milling in regards to the stage as technicians arrange for Willie Nile’s set, and the additional mic stand made it fairly clear what was going to occur. However even earlier than the not-so-surprise visitor joined him, Nile had everybody joyfully singing alongside to “Home of a Thousand Guitars.” However then Springsteen got here out for “One Guitar” and the place went ballistic.

Gentle of Day is sweet at throwing curve balls, so subsequent up was Legislation & Order actress Jill Hennessy. She carried out an acoustic rendition of “No Give up” (who knew she was a singer?) because the crew set the stage for Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers. They’ve performed with Springsteen numerous instances through the years, however the one time since 2015 was a quick, impromptu rendition of “Light of Day” on the Freehold, New Jersey launch of the Springsteen: His Dwelling City exhibit in September 2019.

As all the time, their set alternated between Grushecky tunes like “Speaking to the King,” “Pumping Iron” and “By no means Sufficient Time” and Springsteen classics like “The Promised Land,” “Atlantic Metropolis” and “Darkness on the Fringe of City.” It was outrageously enjoyable and high-energy by the requirements of most mortals, however not fairly the frenetic blast of adrenaline from years previous. Springsteen saved his hat pulled down so tight that his eyes have been largely obscured and he was uncharacteristically restrained at instances, although “Pink Cadillac” (with photographer Danny Clinch on harmonica) was pink sizzling and “Savin’ Up” (a tune he wrote for Clarence Clemons and barely does himself) was wonderful.

Per custom, it ended with everybody from the night time again onstage for a sloppy and spirited “Gentle of Day.” Amongst them was Bob Benjamin, Grushecky’s former supervisor that was identified with Parkinson’s in 1998 and the inspiration for all the occasion. He now makes use of a wheelchair, however appeared to be in nice spirits. “Bob began this 20 years in the past,” Springsteen mentioned. “Man, that’s exhausting to consider. It’s been an unbelievable expertise… let’s do yet one more tune.”

It might solely be “Thunder Street.” It was a mild model with Bruce on acoustic guitar joined solely by Grushecky’s keyboardist. Everybody within the theater sang alongside, even the ushers. It was the right New Jersey second.

The night time pushed Gentle of Day to the $6 million mark, a really unbelievable achievement for one thing that started as a little bit party to carry Bob Benjamin’s spirits 20 yr in the past. And if Springsteen doesn’t present up subsequent yr, or by no means comes once more for that matter, it’s going to proceed lengthy into the long run.

Common on Rolling Stone