Friday, July 31, 2009

The Jukes Rock the River (part 1)

Greetings friends ... hope you are all looking forward to the weekend. I know I certainly am!

Trying to "resume normal activities" (as my doctor said), I went to see Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes last night on the Rockin' the River Circle Line cruise.

Seriously, the best $50 I have spent in a LONG time.

This review is going to be in two parts because Stas (ktfcoyote) took some pictures with her cell phone so I'll post those in part 2. :-)

Anyway ... after all us wonderfully cynical NY/NJ people got over the fact that we were doing the "cheesy tourist" thing, we all knew it was going to be a beautiful night on the boat - c'mon, gorgeous skyline and one of the best bands around, how could we go wrong?

As is usually the case with Southside, the setlist was pretty much abandoned after the first song. They DID actually start with Better Days, which kicked things off with a bang, but after that it was typical par for the course with SSJ just calling out songs.

Stas and I had great spots, literally two feet in front of Jeff Kazee, who was an absolute hoot-and-a-half (a lot more about that in part 2.) I always love being so close to the Jukes because they are goofy and very interactive on stage.

Looking at the original setlist, I have to laugh because they didn't do hardly anything that was written! (oh ... and Johnny, after all these years, you really should learn to spell Renee ... it was a huge hit for you ... LOL)

Ok, though they didn't do "Under the Sun", they did do the title track from Into the Harbour which provided for some amusement given the locale of this gig.

Here are the opening lyrics:

This old ship needs caulking (hmm...not a good line to start with when we're on a BOAT!)
and the crew needs rest (...not getting better ...)
And I’m weary of the sea, I must confess
This is not the final journey I had planned (by this time we are all laughing our a$$es off)

But, its a terrific song - actually the whole record is fantastic (and for you Jovinuts, it was recorded in HRH's studio in Jersey.)

More about the show in tomorrow's post, but I did want to mention that after coveting the Jukebox (a 5-cd collection of live, rare and demo tracks) I finally gave in and purchased it. And, OH MY GOODNESS! For any of you Jukesfans, you really need to get this ... and NOW.

There's a terrific booklet included that traces the history of the Jukes' first 31 years. Of course, lots of mention of our boy, usually something like "...and Jon Bon Jovi made a surprise appearance ..." (whether it was at the Count Basie or other Jersey shore venues.)

But, I'm going crazy listening to the set ... everything from ACOUSTIC VERSIONS of "This Time Baby's Gone for Good" and "Broke Down Piece of Man" to the original demos for "I Don't Want to Go Home" and "The Fever."

So, here's a clip from waaaaay back (mid to late 70s I'm thinking) ... the video quality may not be great, but damn I love these guys!