In 2006 a noted L.A. film producer, named H. Thomas Jones, would come back to his hometown to do a documentary on the club he knew of as a young man.  That film would reunite the remaining members from 35 years prior for one glorious evening of music on the stage they knew so well, so many years before.

UPSTAGE JAM BAND

 

In 1968 and avant-garde artist and the “queen of Rock & Roll of the Jersey Shore”, Tom and Margaret Potter, started a club for musicians call UPSTAGE.  It was on the 2nd floor over a Tom McCann shoe store on Cookman & Bond Streets in Asbury Park.  It was intended to be a private club for musicians to come and work their skills when the bars would close.  But it wasn’t long before the public lined up to get in and hear the best the Jersey Shore had to offer in music.  The Shore’s music heroes like Billy Ryan, Sonny Kenn, Steven Van Zandt, Big Bob Williams, Vini Lopez, Danny Federici, Gary Tallent, Kevin Kavanaugh, Southside Johnny Lyons, and countless others were just cutting their teeth and refining their skills.   

When one night a young guitar slinger from Freehold, NJ, came to town.  His name was Bruce Springsteen, and he changed the future of music.  Not just for us at UPSTAGE, but for the world.  The friendships that were forged on those long nights, playing until 5:00 am each night, would endure a lifetime… and so would the music!

In the years to follow the players remained together for special events and benefit concerts, including the Light Of Day Concerts.  The members come and go depending on their touring schedules, but are never much further than a phone call away.
 
Today the boys reunited to play special events such as the Light Of Day concerts.  The documentary film, started in 2006, has resumed momentum since the partnering with the Asbury Park Press.  The film is scheduled for a 2016 release... STAY TUNED!
Joe Petillo, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Whistler
Then on April 21st, 2017, at the famed Paramount Theater in Asbury Park's Convention Hall history would be made when friends and brothers would come together for the first time in over 40 years!  It was for the World Premier of the documentary on the legendary UPSTAGE CLUB, and the musical history of Asbury Park.  The film premiered to a packed theater, but what followed next was best described by theater attendees as "EPIC"!  The curtain rose to a FIRST TIME reunion of the original Upstage members including Steven VanZandt, Southside Johnny, Ernest "Boom" Carter, David Sancious, and yes... Bruce Springsteen!
The concert that followed the film remains one of the most important performances in AP Boardwalk history and is captured in the documentary "Just Before The Dawn...Riot-Redemption-& Rock & Roll".
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© 2015 by JOE PETILLO

From the post premier concert of "Just Before The Dawn". 04/21/17