HomeThe Atlantic-HubAtlantic-Hub NewsWonder Bar matinee makes the day for 'mature' audience

Wonder Bar matinee makes the day for ‘mature’ audience

When I began my career in journalism in 1982, some of my weekend nights were spent at any number of clubs in Monmouth and Middlesex counties, enjoying bands playing cover songs and originals until well after 1 a.m. There was a sense of community in crowds largely made up of people in their 20s.

On Feb. 20, that same feeling of community could be felt at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, where a large crowd turned out to wish happy birthday to Lance Larson, who has been a significant presence on the Jersey Shore music scene for almost 50 years.

Following a recent illness, it was nice to see Larson accepting birthday wishes from so many friends and admirers.

In honor of Larson’s birthday, Wonder Bar manager Debbie DeLisa threw a party featuring the uber-popular Eddie Testa Band. One of the best things I can say about the event is that the show was a matinee.

Bless DeLisa’s heart for scheduling a daytime event. The mature rock and roll fans out here love afternoon shows! The music began at a wonderfully accessible time and I find that I am generally still “woke” at 4 p.m.

Upon taking the stage, Eddie, a Jersey Shore music regular since the 1980s, and his band played for three hours and 27 minutes without a break.

At various times during the set, Eddie welcomed Jarod Clemens, Joe Bonanno, Michael Scialfa, Tony Amato, J.T. Bowen, Joe Bellia, Tom Cadawas and Sheri Lynn to the stage. Eddie’s son, Giovanni Testa, also joined the band on several songs.

The set was book-ended by a pair of Bruce Springsteen songs. “Out in the Street” opened the festivities at 3:55 p.m. and a rousing “Rosalita” was the finale more than three hours later.

Crowd favorites included “Pink Cadillac,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” “Spirit In the Night,” “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day,” “Authority Song,” “Eight Days A Week,” “Dancing in the Streets,” “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “Mustang Sally,” “Good Lovin’ ” and, as Eddie said, “something for the younger crowd,” which turned out to be “Shut Up and Dance” (which some of the “mature” guests, including this columnist, are familiar with).

As New Jersey comes out of the two-year grip the coronavirus has had on our lives, people of all ages are looking forward to getting back to the way things were prior to March 2020.

The Jersey Shore music scene is and always has been about having a good time, making friends and supporting the amazing artists who have the talent to take the stage and do for real what those of us who stand before them can only dream about.

All we can do is thank them and support them for continuing to make the rest of us smile.

I look forward to a continued, and I don’t like this phrase, “return to normalcy,” and perhaps to a few more shows that start when the sun is still high in the sky.

An early bird dinner special would also be nice, if anyone would care to offer that as well.

Mark Rosman is a managing editor with Newspaper Media Group. He may be reached at news@njexaminer.com

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