Skip to content

rock nyc Watches the Pandemic Era Southside Johnny Concert From A Car, Saturday, July 11th, 2020

Since the pandemic struck, live music has been pretty much absent from our lives, other than webcasts from artists’ homes. Among the shows I was supposed to have seen were Elton John at the Pru, Lucinda Williams at City Winery, and Steve Winwood and Steely Dan at PNC just this past week. And with virus resurgences around the country, I was wondering if we would have concerts in the foreseeable future, and if so, what form would they take? Would I be comfortable in an arena or a club with a large crowd, even if masked? Would the artists?

Yesterday I saw one way live music might return. And it was OK- not quite the same, but not bad. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes did a drive-in concert in the parking lot of Monmouth Raceway yesterday. It was sponsored by the Count Basie Theater. The idea was simple- stay in your cars, bring your own food, wear a mask to use the restroom. As we  arrived we were directed to a staggered parking spot so no two cars were next to each other. As for the masks, sadly this was not really enforced. What was especially galling was the number of uniformed security personnel who were not wearing face coverings. Way to set a good example!

Where I was parked, there was a car with a roof rack right between me and the stage, so viewing was pretty much confined to looking at screens, which were not really big enough for the size of the venue. Sound was not an issue as the concert was simulcast on radio. For an outdoor summer event, the setup had its advantages- on a hot humid day we were able to sit in our air conditioned car, and control the volume to our liking. Honking horns replaced applause.

As for the music, the Jukes did all the fan favorites. Johnny was generally in good voice when he wasn’t complaining about the sun being in his eyes. Some attempts to get the fans to honk in time to the music had mixed results. The band has a terrific horn section and the keyboard man and second vocalist was outstanding. Things did get a bit ragged at times. The key changes in “Having a Party” were pretty much disastrous. Who knows how much they’d been able to rehearse? The best songs were the ones written for the Jukes by Little Steven and Bruce: “The Fever”, “Talk to Me”, “Love on the Wrong Side of Town”, and “This Time It’s For Real”.

The six o’clock start time with gates open at 4 meant a long wait before the show, but we were snugly home by 9. Good for us old guys. There were threats of thunderstorms, but none materialized, and we still got a rainbow behind the stage. Perhaps a portent of better things to come.

Set List
1, Better Days (not the Bruce song)
2. I Played the Fool
3. All I Needed Was You
4. Spinning
5. Love on the Wrong Side of Town
6. Walk Away Renee
7. Cross That Line
8. Without Love
9. Broke Down Piece of Man
10. The Fever
11. Angel Eyes
12. Forever
13. It Ain’t the Meat (It’s the Motion)
14. Passion Street
15. Talk to Me
16. It’s Been A Long Time
17. I Don’t Want to Go Home
18. This Time It’s for Real
19. Having a Party

perhaps a portent of better times to come

Leave a Comment


Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at

Sneak Peaks: Upcoming Album Releases 10-22-21 – 10-28-21

By Iman Lababedi | October 17, 2021 |

distinct and wondrous without being obvious or obnoxious

UK Top 10 Albums: 10-15-21 – 10-21-21

By Iman Lababedi | October 17, 2021 |

except for the title track the songs are on vacation

The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 10-15-21 – 10-21-21 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | October 16, 2021 |

simultaneously self-effacing and egomaniacs

UK Top 10 Singles 10-15-21 – 10-21-21

By Iman Lababedi | October 16, 2021 |

essentially a disco remix of “Rocket Man” featuring one of the the UK’s biggest stars…

Chris Martin Wants To Reduce The Carbon Footprint Of Coldplay’s Tour… Does He?

By Alyson Camus | October 16, 2021 |

“I literally really need you to jump up and down”

Tommy Stinson At The Bowery Electric, Thursday, October 14th, 2021, Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | October 15, 2021 |

Friday night might kill us but Thursday evening is a blast

The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 10-15-21-10-21-22, Adele’s “Easy On Me” Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | October 15, 2021 |

it just isn’t the triumph she needed after six years

Gypsum At Zebulon Cafe, Wednesday October 13th 2021

By Alyson Camus | October 15, 2021 |

an impressive sonic ride.

Rockstar Review: Randy Edelman “Comin’ Out the Other Side”

By Meredith Grant | October 14, 2021 |

a high-spirited Post Pandemic anthem

The Triple A List, My Favorite Songs Ever One By One: Abba’s “The Winner Takes It All”

By Iman Lababedi | October 14, 2021 |

a world of misery

Scroll To Top