Before Asbury Park welcomed Springsteen-quoting President Obama to the Boardwalk on Tuesday afternoon, they first welcomed Garden State heroes The Gaslight Anthem back to The Stone Pony, where they played back-to-back sold out shows over Memorial Day weekend on the venue’s outdoor Summerstage.
The New Jersey foursome (singer Brian Fallon, guitarist Alex Rosamilia, bassist Alex Levine, drummer Benny Horowitz) along with UK-native Ian Perkins, who joined as a live additional guitarist last year, played to a total of 8,000 people over the course of two days. It’s a good sign for the band’s future that they sold out the famous venue on both Saturday and Sunday. But it’s also a good sign for the future of the Jersey Shore, as the shows helped bring out people to the Boardwalk, where they could see for themselves and spread the word that things are back to business as usual since Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc last Fall.
Saturday night’s weather was not the most desirable for an outdoor show in May. Cold and overcast, with a few raindrops here and there, doesn’t exactly make for a dream concert experience under the stars. Playing to a shivering crowd while getting pelted with the cold shore winds isn’t an ideal situation for a band that recently returned from a 30+ hour-journey back from Australia only a few days before the show. Nor was it the perfect scenario for the average concertgoer who normally wouldn’t choose to be out on the beach in such weather. But the band and their devoted fans soldiered through, making it their mission to have a good time anyway.
As the band played clad in jackets, flannel and heavy sweatshirt hoodies, the audience huddled together, generating enough body heat to keep them warm as they sang along to a mellow set that drew heavily from the band’s 2008 release “The ’59 Sound” and their 2012 release “Handwritten.” Highlights included fan favorites “Angry Johnny And The Radio”, “Miles Davis and the Cool”, “Here’s Looking At You Kid”, “Blue Dahlia”, “Mulholland Drive” and a song that seemed to have disappeared off the setlist until very recently, “Meet Me By The River’s Edge.”
Sunday night, however, was another story. Sunshine and a few more degrees of warmth made all the difference. Opening with “High Lonesome”, the band set the night off with a high energy tune that got the crowd rocking right away. Mixing it up for the fans who attended both shows, they switched out some of Saturday night’s songs for different ones, including “We Came to Dance”, “Howl”, “Here Comes My Man”, “Film Noir” and “Wooderson.” Making a special guest appearance was famous photographer Danny Clinch, known for his work with the Gaslight Anthem on their Handwritten album, but probably best known for his work with that other Jersey guy, Bruce Springsteen. Clinch played harmonica on their first song of their 4-song encore, “She Loves You.” The evening ended with the band’s traditional show-closer “The Backseat”, sending the happy crowd off with a great start to their summer.
To view photos from Saturday night’s show, click here. For Sunday night, click here.
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