Concert Review: Southside Johnny And the Asbury Jukes at Hard Rock Rocksino by Bear
I have seen Southside Johnny And The Asbury Jukes, oh hell I don’t know how many times. I’ve seen him at venues in the Cleveland area like the Richfield Coliseum, Blossom and the Kent Stage. I’ve seen him at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. I saw him that famous night in 1978 at the old Agora Ballroom when Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Van Zandt and Clarence Clemmons joined him onstage for the final part of his show after themselves just played at the Richfield Coliseum. (Luckily I was at the Coliseum backstage that night when my cousin who was working Bruce’s dressing room pulled me aside and told me let’s go, Bruce is heading to the Agora. Soon there was a convoy of cars heading up to Cleveland).
Needless to say, I’ve seen Johnny a lot over the decades. Why…I like his music and I like his style. I wrote a piece about 20 years ago talking about this. Quoting myself from back then “when I want to hear New Jersey rock and roll, I don’t put on Bruce, I put on some Southside Johnny.”
Last night at the Hard Rock Rocksino, he didn’t disappoint the sold out crowd. He mixed in some of the new tracks off his latest album “Soultime!”. He mixed in some Philly Soul and Motown with a great rendition of David Ruffin’s “My Whole World Ended” and “Expressway To Your Heart” but what kept bringing the crowd to it’s feet was the classic Southside Johnny staples like “Walk Away Renee”, “Love On The Wrong Side Of Town”, “The Fever”, “I Don’t Want To Go Home” and the perfect encore with “Hearts Of Stone” and “Were Having A Party”. He doesn’t disappoint his fans on or off the stage sticking around after to sign whatever they needed signing.
How does someone still sound that good after 40 years on the road? I don’t know but he did tell the crowd “I’ve been coming to Cleveland for 40 years, I’m going to do another 40 then I done, that’s it!” which is exactly what the crowd wanted to hear.