by Michael McKenna
PA Music Scene.com
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes kicked off what is probably the most important concert series for the future of Lehigh Valley Music, ArtsQuest and Steel Stacks. With about 1300 die-hard fans in attendance, Southside Johnny entertained them with 22 songs over a span of about just under 2 hours. With 3 decades behind him, Johnny used his golden pipes to entertain the crowd with 6 songs from his new CD “Pills & Ammo”, signature Jukes numbers and some nice classic rock selections.
With his powerful, raspy, piercing vocals, Johnny invoked visions of The Boss with “Lead Me On” and his band the Jukes offered tight harmonies, excellent instrumentation and pulsating rhythms throughout the show which at times rivaled the great Clarence Clemons and the Tower of Power horn section.
As the pitch increased, so did the temperature as Johnny started closing the show with “The Fever” with some references to the local steel mill and furnaces that was really a hit with the crowd. He played with the fans with “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” as they were in an energized frenzy that brought a standing ‘O’ for his performance.
What a party it was! The crowd was enthusiastic and it set up visions of what is going to come at future events.