Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ, 12.09.11 – I chased rumors of Bruce Springsteen appearing at various venues all summer in 2010 and once came close to capturing him. And one of those times was at The Gaslight Anthem show at the Stone Pony Summer Stage. Yes, I was shooting the show anyway, but once someone put in my head that he may make an appearance, it’s all I thought about, all night. And guess what I ended up missing? The full experience of seeing one of my favorite bands, The Gaslight Anthem, at a hometown show in Asbury Park, on a perfect summer night in the back yard of New Jersey’s most famous music venue.
In 2011 I decided no more chasing rumors. I made it through the summer and almost through 2011 without as much as caring about finding out where Bruce might make an appearance. And in October when The Gaslight Anthem announced a December concert at Convention Hall, I didn’t care if Bruce might be there, I cared that Gaslight was finally making their way back to New Jersey for a headlining gig and I could get my fix. And when they played ’59 Sound right around song 5 of the set, it was the first time I even thought of Bruce all night because I remembered that this is the track I know he comes out to.
My love of music is for those music moments in life; the times where it becomes a soundtrack or defines a time of year by giving you such a vivid memory of the experience. These are times that are even better than a great concert where it just seems like everything lines up perfectly to give you that memory burned into your soul. This night ended up being one of them. Yes, Bruce Springsteen came out on stage at about the 1 and a 1/2 hour mark to sing American Slang. But it was just the cherry on top of what was an already great night. The Gaslight Anthem gave the Convention Hall one of those shows taht you know just weren’t “another stop on the tour”. They played for well over 2 hours including covers of Pearl Jam and The Who, gave the crowd a set list filled with rarities including one of the oldest orignal songs they have played together. And yeah, some local musician, Bruce Springsteen, jumped in his pick up and made the 15 minute ride to join one of the great acts since Springsteen to come out of Central New Jersey up on stage.
Lighting was a bit all over the place, but that is more the norm that anything else. Brian was lit very well, but even if he took 3 steps towards the drum kit, the lighting became much worse. We were lucky enough to shoot 4 songs for their set and most of it was at iso1600 and I just used shutter speeds to compensate for Brian v. the rest of the band when deciding exposure. Once up in the balcony for Bruce, I used my 7D with the 70-200 and a 1.4x teleconvertor at iso 320 to make sure I could get shutter speeds greater than 1/320. Fun shoot, great band and great band to shoot. I usually try and keep my photo sets to around 25 photos so this is over my norm, but I don’t think the quality suffers.
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Springsteen plays “American Slang” with The Gaslight Anthem