Bruce Springsteen jammed on stage with old friends at The Asbury Park Music and Film Festival celebrating the history of the historic Upstage Club Friday night (April 21) at the Paramount Theater in New Jersey.
Springsteen’s appearance coincided with the premiere of a new documentary, Just Before the Dawn, directed by film maker Tom Jones, celebrating the heritage and musicians that got their start playing in the venue owned by Tom and Margaret Potter.
“The Upstage was our university,” E Street Band member Steve Van Zandt told the crowd, as musical graduates Southside Johnny, David Sancious, “Mad Dog” Vini Lopez and Ernest “Boom” Carter jammed to songs by Chuck Berry and Sam Cooke.
Springsteen strapped on a Les Paul, singing lead on Little Richard’s “Lucille,” and performing the early song “Ballad of Jesse James,” an unreleased song that appears on 2016’s Chapter and Verse companion album. He also played guitar for Muddy Waters’ “Got My Mojo Workin'” and joined Southside Johnny for a performance of “The Fever.”
“It’s great,” Springsteen told the Asbury Park Press after the show. “It’s nice to see new talent in Asbury and the old guys still cranking it out. It’s very enjoyable.”
“It was really great to see all of the musicians that got their start at my grandparent’s club on stage not only still making great music, but continuing to influence a new generation of artists,” said Carrie Potter, granddaughter of Tom and Margaret Potter and author of For Music’s Sake: Asbury Park’s Upstage Club and Green Mermaid Cafe: The Untold Stories.
“This is the culmination of over a decade of hard work to bring the story to light and preserve the history for future musicians, like the kids from the Lakehouse Academy that performed last night and met Bruce. It’s a wonderful next chapter in a continuing story.”
The Asbury Park Music and Film Festival continues this weekend with Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul taking the stage at the Paramount Saturday night (April 22).