On Monday night, storied Jersey Shore bowling alley/concert venue Asbury Lanes celebrated their grand re-opening with a star-studded blowout featuring Portugal. The Man, Danny Clinch‘s Tangiers Blues Band, and a rare appearance by local hero Bruce Springsteen in his adopted hometown.
Springsteen, a native of the Jersey Shore, got his start playing in clubs in the area and has always maintained a musical connection to his New Jersey roots, from his 1973 debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., through today, with his frequent onstage praise of “the great state of New Jersey.”
Springsteen is in the midst of his extended Broadway residency at the Walter Kerr Theater but, as Rolling Stone notes, joined the opening night festivities as a billed “special guest” after the venue pledged a $125,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Club in his name. While many assumed the Boss’ big appearance with Clinch and company would close the performance, the Tangiers Blues Band took the stage first, building anticipation with blues-style covers of Talking Heads‘ “Life During Wartime” and Beastie Boys‘ “You Gotta Fight For Your Right (to Party!)”, followed by a situationally appropriate rendition of Velvet Underground‘s “Waiting For The Man”.
Non-beat photo pic.twitter.com/eLwHljrI0g
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 19, 2018
The band then welcomed Springsteen to the stage for a run of blues classics including Huey “Piano” Smith‘s “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” and Muddy Waters‘ “I Just Want to Make Love to You”. An extended reading of Don Raye‘s “Down the Road a Piece” followed, and saw the Boss give audible directions to the band as he continued to push them deeper into the blues jam. Finally, the band delivered a celebratory “Twist and Shout” to cap their performance, before ceding the stage to Portugal. The Man, who took on the unusual task of following Bruce Springsteen.
You can watch a full crowd-shot video of Bruce’s 30-minute sit-in with the Tangiers Blues Band at the grand re-opening of Asbury Lanes below:
Tangiers Blues Band w/ Bruce Springsteen – Asbury Lanes – 6/18/18
— PAUL (@PMAM88) June 19, 2018
As previously reported, Asbury Lanes initially operated as a regular bowling alley in the 1960’s before transitioning into a 350-capacity alternative music venue in the early 2000s. After closing in October of 2015 due to structural and mechanical issues, Asbury Lanes finally got the makeover it needed, complete with a new platform system that allows them to cover the lanes during big shows and increase venue capacity to more than 700. The renovated venue also includes a custom sound system and lighting from Nashville’s Cour Design. To fill the stage, the venue has entered into a promoting partnership with Bowery Presents, the NYC-based company that books Terminal 5, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Steel and more. However, according to David Bowd of Salt Hotels, the company that operates the “new” Asbury Lanes, they hope to retain “the same anything-goes local hangout it always was and reborn as a state-of-the-art music venue.”
“Everyone has an Asbury Lanes story,” explains Bowd in a press statement posted in the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. “Emotions ran higher with this project than with anything we’ve undertaken. What mattered to them matter to us: keeping the soul of this incredible venue while making changes necessary to guarantee its figure.”
For more information, or to check out the list of upcoming shows at the newly re-opened Asbury Lanes head to the venue’s website.
[H/T Rolling Stone]