donnelly ink

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Real Jersey Shore Comes Together

We left The Boss and Big Pussy at the Wonder Bar a little after 3AM. Yeah you read that right. We left.

The “Real Jersey Shore” night ended a long way from which it began, me on my couch in my Sherpa lined slippers, toasty in every sense of the word until giving into to Danny Clinch’s “C’mon, whats da matter wit you, huh? Big Pussy is gonna be there!!!”

It was Saturday night in Asbury, so of course the rumor mill was spinning at max speed that The Boss would be in attendance. So I traded my slippahs for some boots, not quite like trading in my wings for some wheels but you get the point.

We took the beach road from Seaside up to Asbury Park to go to The 10th Annual Light of Day Benefit to Cure Parkinson’s Disease, for a night that would become one of legend. I’m friggin’ serious too, t’was a night of legend.

The night prior, “Light of Day” at the Stone Pony (the weekend was superbly produced by Asbury legend and former Asbury Juke, Tony Pallagrossi) had Clinch and his Tangiers Band ripping up the joint, and I ain’t just saying that because I’m scared of catching the wrath of Tangiers mainstay Lonesome Dave or be victim to the thousand eye stare of King B. King.

They simply killed it and killed it again late night at the Langosta Lounge, with special guests on slide guitar Jon Grabof and Charlie Giordano of the mighty E Street Band on keys.

So the expectation of a good time in Asbury Park was set as we approached the Convention Hall. Armed with camera and his harmonicas Clinch and I made our way to the stage door where we were greeted by The Boss and Pittsburgh legend Joe Gruchesky, who then asked Clinch to sit on their set.

As performers like Jesse Malin, our girl Nicole Atkins played wonderfully to the sold out crowd, I get my first Big Pussy experience. Legally, he’s known a Vincent Pastore, but to everyone in the Drty Jrz, he will always be our Big Pussy from The Soprano’s.

“So, I did dis radio show wit dese friggin’ Canadians da utter day,” he says to me. “The friggin’ guy asks, were you in the body bag when dey threw ya overboard, recounted Pastore.

“So, I can’t believe dis numbnuts Canadian, so friggin’ stupid. So I sez ta him, whaddya get hit by hockey pucks in your friggin’ head? C’mon! Get the “f” outta here wit dat.”


So Clinch comes up to me, grabs me and says, “They want me to do “Murder Incorporated” with them, I’m not sure I know it,” he says. Armed with his I-Phone, we listen to the tune in the Grand Arcade with our ears to the device.

Clinch is as comfortable as he’s gonna get with the tune as we settle in to watch Springsteen join Grushecky’s House Rockers for raucous set that went as follows:

Atlantic City
Code of Silence
Johnny 99
Never Be Enough Time
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Talking to the King

Then all things went hazy when Springsteen stepped up to the mike and said, “I’d like to bring up photographer extraordinaire Danny Clinch for this number.” I soon see Gruschecky and Springsteen huddle. An audible is called. They will now do “Pink Cadillac,” instead of “Murder Inc.” Uh-oh, I thought to myself.

With a nod to Clinch, Springsteen has him blowing his harp to open the tune. In essence, for this moment, Clinch is the “Big Man”, at least in theory.
“You may think I’m foolish, for the foolish things that I do,” sung Springsteen with one eye on Clinch. “You may wonder how come I love you, when you get on my nerves like you do,” he sings.

Like a basketball player at the foul line during a tie game with no time left on the clock, Clinch steps up for his solo, with Springsteen standing two feet from him, pushing him to blow, blow, blow like the four winds.

Smiling, rocking and vamping was Springsteen, eyes wide, legs spread, guitar slinging with his mouth agape at his photographer turned tunesmith. Comfortable with Clinch’s prowess, Springsteen steps to the mike for the next verse:

They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple
But man I ain't going for that
I know it was her pink Cadillac
Crushed velvet seats
Riding in the back
Oozing down the street
Waving to the girls
Feeling out of sight
Spending all my money
On a Saturday night
Honey I just wonder what it feels like in the back
Of your pink Cadillac

And with that, the biggest blast I have ever heard comes from my man Dan’s harmonica. He was bluesy, ballsy, direct, and on point, and the crowd knew it too, bringing the show to a higher level.

It was a game changer, a game winner.

I’m standing behind a rocking Big Pussy who turns to me and says, ”Now dat was friggin’ great, he’s from Toms River? How famous is he? Well he can’t be dat famous if he ain’t never took a picture of me,” he said in jest.

Fast forward to two hours later in the back of the Wonder Bar where The Boss was handing out tequila shots and the Big Pussy says to Clinch, “ey when ya gonna take my pictucah, huh,?”

“I just did,” Clinch said to the unsuspecting hulk of man.”Damn your pretty good, ya know dat,” Big Pussy said before we left, nearly breaking our hands while shaking them good-bye, as The Boss played bartender.

With that Clinch and I walked down Ocean Avenue in the still of the night, laughing our asses off all the way down the beach road home.


Blogger Jennifer said...

I hope The Boss didn't do the dance he does here (at 2:12) during Danny's solo... yikes!

January 21, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

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