For the second time in 2018 Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes managed to sell out the Hard Rock Rocksino and the lovefest between Cleveland and this hard-working band of amazing musicians continues to grow.
I’ve been watching Southside perform since the 70’s – he was a summer staple at Blossom Music Center back in the day – I think the Why Is Love Such A Sacrifice tour was the first one I attended – have been hooked ever since. I’ve seen them play at fairs, under freeway underpasses, at small clubs and giant venues but I don’t think I have ever seen them as on fire as they were at the Rocksino on Saturday night.
Words like timeless and classic get bantered around pretty freely but Southside Johnny has truly spent a lifetime honing his craft – it’s all about the music and not just how it sounds but – how it moves you – how it relates to your life. As I’ve aged, and as the band and Johnny has aged, the music has taken on a depth and meaning that makes this concert experience far more moving than most.
With this show coming so soon as their last visit to the Hard Rock – only a few months – this evening seemed more like a family reunion than a show. The bond between artist and audience is always a high point of a Southside show and always a given but this night, it was instant and intense. You could sense the band recognizing it and the energy of the show reached a fever pitch in record time. Dancing in the aisles, singing along, smiles from ear to ear. That’s what this evening brought.
The band performed a tireless 23 song set that included 2 encores and a beautiful tribute to Aretha Franklin. Southside pulled from all facets of his nearly 50-year catalog and every song, every note was pitch perfect. It was a stellar performance.
Southside Johnny and his Jukes are like a fine wine – aging perfectly and going down oh so smooth.
If you’ve never attended a show – remedy that. Go ahead, what are you waiting for.