Event: Soultime Comes To The Summer Stage

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Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

When you look at the history of the “Asbury Sound,” a few bands are integral parts of that history.

 

Yes, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are right in there, and perhaps the most well known.

There are a host of others, though, and a great list can be found here.

Right there….like REALLY high up there is Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (SSJ from here on out.)

They cut their teeth and made their Jersey Shore sound bones at the same time that Bruce did in the early ’70s. While Springsteen sky-rocketed, SSJ has has a more modest career, perhaps, but are still legends down the Jersey Shore.

This past Saturday evening they returned to their roots, The Stone Pony, to put on their annual 4th of July extravaganza. But this time it was outside on the Summer Stage, where the air was warm and the night was beautiful.

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But by a cool stroke of luck, I was able to get photo access to the pit for the show. It wasn’t until the day of the show that I even knew this happened, all thanks to one of the Jukes, Jeff Kazee, who I recently photographed as part of his Early Elton Trio. (John Conte, another Juke, also is part of EET.)

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Photo passes are notoriously hard to get a) at the Stone Pony and b) for a SSJ show. But Jeff was able to wrangle one for me so by 4 pm Saturday afternoon, I was headed down to Asbury Park.

The afternoon was beautiful. I parked on Grand Ave (didn’t want to feed a meter) and walked the five blocks toward the beach. When I go there, I had to hold my breathe, though, as a little mix up delayed the actual pass getting in my hands.

No matter. I got in, chatted with a few other photographer friends and awaited the opening act.

Now, there’s nothing like a warm, summer evening in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Apparently, a good number of others wanted to experience SSJ at The Stone Pony, too, because the outdoor, SRO venue maxed out at it’s 5,000 limit. In addition, Sirius XM’s E Street Radio was airing the concert live that evening.

On this evening, SSJ and the Jukes brought their Soultime tour to town. Much of New Jersey had been baking under an oppressive heatwave in the days leading up to the show, and by the time Southside hit the stage , the sun was still just starting to go down. Sunglasses were still in order.

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As the sun dipped behind the stage, Southside took off his shades, a breezy trade wind kicked in and the heatwave broke.  By the time Jeff Kazee – in his trademark porkpie hat – and Southside Johnny traded vocals on I Don’t Want To Go Home, the audience didn’t want to go home, either.

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Jeff even played a mean accordion, which was cool to see (and hear).

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Jeff Kazee

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Tom “Goose” Seguso

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John Conte

Evening slid into night, and the bright neon of the nearby Empress Hotel lit up the southside of the Asbury Park boardwalk. There was a slight ripple that The Man may actually show and play with SSJ – again – but it was not to be.

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Still The capacity crowd of nearly 5,000 were happy – happy to be spending a beautiful Asbury Park evening singing and dancing along with Southside Johnny and his Asbury Jukes.

I was happy too…as per the rules, I only got to shoot in the pit for the first three songs. But I tried to make do with what I could using my 70-200 mm lens on the side and other areas. If you want to see more pics from the show, click here.

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Tomorrow…who WAS that opening band??

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

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7 thoughts on “Event: Soultime Comes To The Summer Stage

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  3. Thanks so much for posting! Excellent photos and nice commentary. I’ve been in Arizona for a long time so it’s been awhile since my Pony days. My last outdoor show was the one where Graham Parker opened and a hurricane was on it’s way. I was enlisted to hold a tarp over the sound board when the rain started. A memorable evening featuring Kazee surfing on his piano and a certain guest vocalist. Jukes are the BEST.

    • Very cool memory! Thank you for the nice comment, glad you liked the photos. I’ve gotten to know Jeff Kazee a bit these last couple of months (shot his Early Elton Trio a few weeks ago). Hope you get too see the Jukes again soon.

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