2004-12-19, Harry's Roadhouse, Asbury Park, NJ

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Second holiday show of the night.

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
Maureen Shames (speical Greasy Lake reporter) wrote: For Bruce, for Bruce, we came for Bruce, and we felt his urgency!

Some five hundred fans gathered for the Bruce Springsteen and Friends Holiday show at Harry's Roadhouse in downtown Asbury Park on December 19 at 8:30 p.m.

Playing with The Boss were Bobby Bandiera and friends, plus the Jukes horns and guests Patti Scialfa, Max Weinberg and Willie Nile.

Greasy Lake Web Site was denied access to this historical holiday show by Shore Fire Media, Bruce's publicist. I'm sure that they didn't mean to put some proverbial coal in our stocking, but tickets to this small venue were in high demand.

Of course, it didn't stop us because we were "Born to Run" a review of Bruce here at Greasy Lake. This is the perfect holiday rock story. It is meaningful how Bruce is transforming his city of ruins, Asbury Park into a thriving scene through good 'ol rock and roll fundraising. In order to win one of the 10 pairs of tickets to the show and to meet Bruce, fans had to fill out forms at shops in Asbury Park, thus increasing holiday business. In addition, funds from the concert were given to eleven city based charities including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monmouth County, The Salvation Army and The Center, which provides help to those living with AIDS or HIV. Tickets each sold at $100 a pop, but were completely sold out within minutes.

Dozens of die-hard fans were unable to purchase or win a ticket, but hoped a miracle would get them in the door. They stationed themselves outside of Harry's in the bitter wet snowy weather from 8:30 p.m. until about 11:30 p.m. Two large speakers broadcast a set that would bring a variety of sentimental and spirited songs to us, causing us to dance, sing and enjoy every second of what would be a most memorable experience!

"For You" was a perfect acoustic opener. "Remember how I poured salt on your tongue and hung just out of reach" was a stingingly appropos moment. Yes, Bruce, you were out of reach, but the spice of hearing your voice, just a few feet away was worth this slight devastation.

"Talk to Me," a song Bruce wrote for Southside Johnny had a really rockin' fun beat and was a reminder of the old college days. The group outside was dancing and that was the best way to stay warm and happy!

Hearing "Spirit In the Night" sounded like a personal plea directly from Bruce for any Greasy Lake reviewers to kindly enter Harry's and provide the best coverage. Security was visibly tight, as a security guard physically grabbed and threw out one avid fan from Harry's for crashing her way in.

"If I Should Fall Behind" was an acoustic number, and it happens to be one of my all-time favorite Bruce ballads. Bruce sang solo, and Little Steven's vocals were missed. I think this song fares best with the entire E-Street band. Furthermore, it is a better choice for Bruce and Patti to sing, "If I Should Fall Behind" together rather than the surprise selection, "It Takes Two."

The Springsteen/Scialfa duo must have chosen, "It Takes Two" as some kind of joke, or perhaps to please a friend or relative. It had a retro Donnie and Marie vibe, but bubblegum music doesn't fit their rockin' repertoire. I'd prefer to hear Patti sing any number of folk/rock tunes from one of her own albums than this.

Two energetic high points in the show were "Waitin' On a Sunny Day," and "Tenth Avenue Freezeout." Many people were also hoping for the commercially successful "Thunder Road" and/or "Born to Run" but these old favorites were never played.

Election 2004 is our disappointing history, but Bruce still sang, "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding." We had heard it at the Concert for Change finale at Continental Airlines Arena on October 13. It lent itself to the Christmas mood, and it was refreshing to hear this song once popularized as a cover by Elvis Costello. People flashed the peace sign to one another throughout the tune.

When "Hava Nagila" was played some fans started to do the Horah! Was it played at the request of Max Weinberg, a Jew born to drum? During a former interview with Weinberg, he disclosed that prior to fame he had once played in a Bar/Bat Mitzvah/wedding band. It was funny to hear these artists include this festive Jewish traditional song among rock and roll tunes. If there had been chairs, we would have taken turns lifting each other into the air.

Bruce, who is surely a Santa Claus figure in Asbury Park brought some magic to his anticipated holiday anthem, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Fans waved their arms to the beat of this joyous seasonal song. "Merry Christmas Baby" shined with uplifting sentiment and some strong energy.

Fans knew that they better watch out, and we all did... for Bruce. We took turns peaking through slits in the window treatments in an attempt to see him all evening long. It was difficult, but we could just make out the tip of Bruce's head. While enjoying the music, things sometimes got silly outside. We took pictures of the speakers because on this night they served as an auditory representative of THE real live Bruce-- or at least the closest thing we had to him.

When Irene Feldman, a local fan requested that a security guard hand her note to the band, she was told nothing could be delivered to them because of safety concerns.

By the end of the evening, the outdoor die-hard crowd dwindled down to about 25 . We persevered the elements, bonded together, and had shared a rock and roll highlight that brought a glow to the holiday season. Make no mistake about it, there were chattering teeth and numb extremities for those who refused to miss one song.

Not only was the concert worth every bit of pain, but it proved to be the best gift of the holiday season.

An unexpected reward was reaped after the show, when Bruce and Patti walked closely past us while being escorted to their vehicle. A member of Bruce's staff had prepped the small crowd that Bruce should not sign autographs since he reportedly was feeling ill. Several people ignored that request, asking "Mr. Springsteen" to autograph items. In the true Christmas spirit, Bruce graciously fulfilled each of these wishes.

Bruce looked wonderfully fresh, wearing a similar cool black wool hat that I was also wearing! Patti looked very pretty, as she was whisked away.

I hoped Bruce, Patti and their friends know how much they are appreciated not only for their music, but for having kind hearts. I'm sure this effort to improve Asbury Park will be met with success in many ways. Now, Asbury Park is definitely on my shopping radar. On a personal level, Bruce will always remain an inspiration.

To the Springsteen family, I just want you to know how loved your concert was by all the fans we met. So, be sure to have a "merry Christmas baby" and a very happy and healthy New Year!

Joe in Asbury Park wrote: Springsteen and I...1978 I heard Bruce do The Fever, ...1979 First time seeing Bruce with Beaver Brown up close at the Fast Lane. I went from a Bruce fan to Bruce fanatic . Maureen's comments says it all..Standing two hours in the pouring rain, Then giant snow flakes,soaked freezing.. made it in half way through the second set. Took a couple pics of Bruce signing autographs..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFqY0tSH6-g&feature=youtu.be


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