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The Friday Morning Listen: Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes – Better Days

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This is already starting to feel kinda funny: me and TheWife™ are going off this weekend to see Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. Funny? The Jukes usually come to our area just before the labor day holiday. So we celebrate the end of summer with a giant slab of Asbury Park goodness sometime during that last week of August. For whatever reason, the South is here two months early. What the hell?

Hey, no matter. The show is nearly always spectacular and maybe it'll be good to switch things up a bit. See, that's the thing about making an event like this a yearly tradition. Yes, the show is fun, cathartic, and a release of sorts. But it can become a milepost that gets all manner of life issues attached to it. Last year is a good example. The summer had been a rough one, with work difficulties and way too much family health issue cruft. By the time September came into focus, I was more or less exhausted. The show lifted me tremendously.

Is that what I want this annual ritual to become? A tonic to alleviate spiritual anguish? Hmmm…maybe that's unavoidable — and maybe not a bad thing after all. I've been seeing these guys play for so many years now that the show feels like a family reunion. It's going on 25 years now and I can see the changes in Southside (though the bastard looks amazingly good), the changes in the crowd (canes, limps, lots of gray hair), and yeah, I'm not blind to what the mirror tells me.

Every year at this time, I go all the way back to my first Springsteen show (The River tour, Cleveland, Ohio), to the amazing moment when Bruce brought Southside out onto the Richfield Coliseum stage. I stood there stunned as they knocked out "I Don't Want To Go Home." I remember thinking, "OK, I can die now." It's moments like that that keep me coming back year after year.

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About Mark Saleski

  • Glen Boyd

    When it comes to Southside Johnny, people always point to Hearts Of Stone as being the definitive record — mainly because of songs like “Trapped Again” (which is an absolutely amazing tune).

    But I’ve always preferred “This Time It’s For Real.” The Jukes horn section has always been one of the most under-heralded in music, and on this record they just flat out BLOW (and I mean that in a positive way).

    Have fun at the show Mark.


  • Mark Saleski

    yes, i agree…which is why Better Days is so great, a nice return to the sound of those records you mention.