Rumor of Bruce Springsteen appearance causes buzz in Londonderry
A crowd lines up to attend the Southside Johnny show at Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry Friday night. (Josh Gibney/Union Leader)
“I love what they do,” he said as he sat in his truck munching a burger.
Over the past couple days there's been a persistent buzz that maybe, just maybe, Southside Johnny's pal from New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen, might drop by and join the band for a couple of songs. Banach hasn't heard anything about it, but he was all for it if it happened.
“That would be so amazing,” he said. “If Bruce Springsteen shows up, this place will fall apart.”
Springsteen was in Boston this week for two shows at Fenway Park, and tonight he heads to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. He played harder and longer than most bands ever will to packed houses on Wednesday and Thursday nights, but the idea that he might pass on a night off and show up in Londonderry was picking up steam through most of yesterday.
Milford resident Jeff Stratton bought tickets to the Southside Johnny show a while ago, and the fact that Johnny — whose real name is John Lyon — playing in Londonderry with The Poor Fools, instead of his regular band the Asbury Jukes, got Stratton thinking a little about what might be different about the show at Tupelo Music Hall. As for hearing anything about Springsteen showing up, Stratton said he hadn't heard anybody say that.
“I heard it in my head,” he said. “I was thinking maybe if Bruce had nothing better to do, he might be here.”
Manchester residents Tom Fuller and Steven Hullett were sitting in a car watching the parking lot start to fill up, wondering if the show they were about to see was going to be a lot more than they paid for.
“I had a vibe about this,” said Fuller. “Soozie Tyrell is playing with Southside Johnny tonight and she's played with Bruce for a long time.”
And as Fuller started to think about it, he began to pull together all the stray facts that had people crossing their fingers.
“I think there's another one of the Asbury Jukes that's supposed to play tonight, and Bruce is here in the area,” said Fuller.
Hullett, who sat next to Fuller in the front seat with what looked like a special collector's edition of Springsteen's 1975 breakthrough album, “Born to Run,” on his lap, was clear on what it would mean to him to see one of his rock heroes in a 200-seat venue where performers are known to spend a little post-show quality time with the audience.
“It would be the highlight of my life,” he said.
Fuller described himself as an “'80s rock guy” and said he had been on his own special tour seeing all the bands he never made it to over the past 30 years. And several other people who were at the show were also following the latest news on their favorite veteran rockers.
Banach recently caught an Allman Brothers show, and said it was amazing.
“Gregg Allman had his liver done a few years ago, and he's doing really well,” he said.
And a lot of people were at Tupelo Hall because Southside Johnny and his South Jersey Shore sound that blends R&B, rock, soul and slivers of other musical styles so effortlessly has been part of their favorite music for years.
“I have no idea if Bruce is supposed to be here tonight,” said New Boston resident Scott Rowls, who was there to take in the show with his son. “I'm here to see Southside Johnny. I go way back with his music.”
Ashland, Mass., residents Warren and Dona Walkup, who are also touring around to see some of their favorite bands, hadn't heard any of the Bruce buzz, but thought it was a a possibility.
Warren Walkup was at a Southside Johnny show in Massachusetts a couple of decades ago and Springsteen did, in fact, show up and join the band on stage.
“They are friends and they play the same type of music,” said Walkup.
And while the Walkups said no matter what, they were sure it would be a great night, they did seem a little pumped with the idea that Bruce might possibly stop by.
“That would be awesome,” said Walkup. “Because really, who can get a ticket to Fenway?”
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