Preceding a headline slot by Portugal. The Man, Bruce Springsteen reconnected with his New Jersey roots, and played four songs with Danny Clinch’s Tangiers Blues Band on June 18 at the reopening of Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ.
The reopening of Asbury Lanes comes in the midst of a years-long revitalization effort by the city. Profits from the reopening event went to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monmouth county, and most tickets will be exclusively available to Asbury Park residents via a lottery.
“We didn’t know if we would ever see Asbury come back or not, in our lifetime, so it’s been a joy watching what’s been happening in town over the past 10, 15 or 20 years,” Springsteen told the crowd. As well as serving as the inspiration for his debut record Greetings from Asbury Park, the New Jersey town was where Springsteen met many members of his E Street Band. “It was an unusual place … the best musicians of the area ended up there,” Springsteen told Monmouth University students in 2017. “I don’t know of another place like it anywhere in the country, that you could be 18, could be in there 5 a.m., and it was a fantastic place to network with other musicians and play with people from a lot of different backgrounds.”
The first number The Boss played with the Tangiers Blues Band on June 18 was Johnny Rivers’ “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu,” followed by Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want to Make Love To You.”
Springsteen was loose onstage, enjoying the low-stakes nature of the show (On the show announcement, he was billed as a “special guest” with TBB, below Portugal. The Man)
He dedicated “Down the Road Apiece,” to “all the folks from the old Asbury Lanes who kept this such a funky place” and closed with “Twist and Shout.”
Watch clips of Springsteen’s New Jersey homecoming below: