With the exception of the Asbury Park rendering, all photo credits go to Beth Amorosi
HAPPY NEW YEAR & WELCOME TO 2015 – THE YEAR OF LIGHT, COLOR, MIRACLES
Seeing the Light of Day from the Place Where Miracles Happen, Where the Northern Lights Flicker from Afar, Where the Stars Shine Brighter, and Where Christmas Happens Year-Round
This past week, the Light of Day Foundation, www.lightofday.org, held its annual benefit music & comedy festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey called the Light of Day Winterfest, #LODNJ2015. A group of my “Brucebuds” gathered for a series of musical and comedic events to raise awareness of and funds for research and a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. While Bruce Springsteen is never officially billed on the performance agenda and is always “rumored to possibly show up”, he has shown up 11 out of 15 years, he always performs, he stays into the wee hours of the morning, and he always exceeds expectations with his music, his enthusiasm and loyalty to his roots. Inspired by the Light of Day Winterfest, the Christmas lights still lit up in Lake Placid, NY, and the days becoming longer, I am inspired to see the light of day during this great new year ahead. 2015 is already filled with new beginnings, with my life refreshed, rejuvenated, replenished, restarted, rebooted, reinvented, and resurrected. As all years go, and so life goes, 2014 was a mixture of up’s and down’s. While the up’s were fantastic, the down’s were….well, real down-ers! As always though, the soundtrack of my life lifted me up and sustained me through those down times. Inspired also by the festivities this past week/weekend, I thought it apropos to celebrate a very special little place on the Jersey Shore where I spent much of my youth, and a place that is full of light, color, and music: Asbury Park. To celebrate 2015, I also thought sharing a little music history centered on Asbury Park was a fitting way to pay a tribute of my own to the Light of Day Foundation, as well as to wish everyone a rocking and rolling 2015.
My aunt and godmother used to take my siblings and I to Asbury, where we would enjoy the amusement park, particularly the Haunted House and the Mystery Machine, and where we would delight in the simple and very colorful savories of saltwater taffy and cotton candy. To me, Asbury Park is synonymous with color – bright and bold colors, as well as with light – the light of the sunshine glistening on the Atlantic, the lights of the boardwalk and the amusements, and figurative light symbolic of rebirth and resurrection. Bruce’s “City of Ruins” took a long time to find the light again, but thanks largely to the gay community, Asbury has been reborn into a visitor’s destination of choice, as well as a beautiful residential area replete with modernized amenities and a lifestyle filled with great restaurants and bars, shops, businesses, and yes – music – right on the Atlantic Ocean. The music scene is still thriving there, including the Stone Pony where Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band began their long and illustrious careers 40+years ago, as well as at the Paramount Theatre, where Bruce performed this evening in tribute to friend and music manager/musician Bob Benjamin who has dedicated his life’s work not only to music, but to the fight against Parkinson’s Disease.
According to the lowest-hanging-fruit-resource Wikipedia: “In the late 1960s and early 1970s there was a vibrant music scene in and around the City of Asbury Park on the Jersey Shore. Prominent in this scene were Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny as well as the early members of the E Street Band. Clemons, Federici, Lopez, Sancious, Tallent and Van Zandt honed their skills in numerous bands, both with and without Springsteen. These included Little Melvin & the Invaders, the Downtown Tangiers Band, the Jaywalkers, Moment of Truth, Glory Road, Child, Steel Mill, Dr. Zoom & the Sonic Boom, the Sundance Blues Band, and the Bruce Springsteen Band. In 1972 when Springsteen gained a recording contract with CBS he picked the cherries among Jersey Shore musicians to record – and to tour in support of – his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. By 1973 they had recorded a second album with Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.”
Though Bruce had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame years ago, the E Street Band was not – as they had just gotten back together, and Bruce was being honored for his work as the band’s leader, as well as an independent artist. The E Street Band was (FINALLY) inducted in April, 2014. I had been invited to attend but I was very, very sadly unable to be there. Tonight, he is back in Asbury Park, and very sadly – I am not able to attend – again.
10th Avenue & E Street is just 10 blocks from my grandmother’s former Jersey Shore seaside home in Spring Lake, a picture postcard village known as the Irish Riviera where I spent all of my summers, up until only 9 or so years ago. Bruce Springsteen proudly comes to see his favorite NJ town and his friends in Asbury Park regularly – as one of us. He drives himself and hits the boardwalk, the Conference Center, the bars, and the Paramount Theatre (where he performed over the weekend) to see/hear/perform with emerging talent, to perform with old friends like Southside Johnny and Gary U.S. Bonds, and to perform himself. His visits to Asbury are regular, consistent, devoted, unannounced, and he happily blends into the crowd – as one of us. As he was sound-checking and then performing in Asbury over the weekend (and I was VERY SADLY not there……..WHY WAS I NOT THERE EXACTLY!????), I thought that sharing the BEST RENDITION EVER of 10th Ave Freezeout was a great way to pay tribute to the Light of Day Foundation, to Asbury Park, the Jersey Shore, and to a rocking and rolling 2015. So on that note, here is the “house shaking, earth quaking, earth rocking, pants dropping, booty shaking, love-making, Viagra-taking, history-making LEGENDARY#ESTREETBAND” (including Danny and Clarence) & Mr. @BruceSpringsteen.
For 2015, I see bright lights ahead for all of us. While 2014 offered a few bright lights of its own – including the Spielberg/Hanks film being made about my grandfather – I am personally happy to have now bid it a fond farewell, taking with me life lessons and experiences that have left me in a much higher and better place than 2014 and ever. I am certain that 2015 is going to be my year of abundance. I intend for this year to be the best one yet for many reasons including trying something new every day; taking good care of myself, my friends, and my family; always helping others; never taking things personally; never making assumptions; being impeccable with my word, always doing my best; being more organized, disciplined, and focused; being more productive than ever; being accepting, forgiving, and kind; laughing more; dancing in the dark AND in the light; being bold; daring greatly; seeing the light of day in everything; and finally – rocking and rolling through the up’s AND the down’s.
I wish all of you success in your New Year’s resolutions, and wish you the best for a very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous, Abundant, Bold, and Rocking & Rolling 2015. Why do I think it will be the best year ever? I can see clearly now the rain of 2014 is gone, and it’s going to be a bright, bright sunshine-y year. Let’s not wait on a sunny day. Let’s make it happen, dancing and singing, rocking and rolling, raining and shining, through the darkness AND the light of day.
“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Betty in the USA, www.bettyintheusa.com
THE BRILLIANT JOHN LEGEND PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE BOSS AT MUSICARES; SINGING A SOULFUL KEYBOARD RENDITION OF DANCING IN THE DARK
See John Legend pay tribute to the Boss, with his soulful rendition of the typically more upbeat Dancing in the Dark. Bruce paid tribute back to the supremely talented Mr. Legend by saying how much he made him sound like Gershwin. Rain or shine, and dancing in the dark or light: his music is always music to my ears. Mr. Legend – and Gershwin – are pretty great too.
I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW – Jimmy Cliff
I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day. It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day.
Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone. All of the bad feelings have disappeared. Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for. It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day.
(ooh…) Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies. Look straight ahead, there’s nothing but blue skies.
I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for. It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright, bright sunshiny day. It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day. It’s going to be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day. Yeah, hey, it’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day.
THUNDER ROAD AT LIGHT OF DAY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVTsUZUeYrQ
The Asbury Park Press Interviews the Boss http://www.app.com/story/entertainment/people/2015/01/18/interview-bruce-springsteen-talks-light-day/21960777/