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REVIEW: Jake Clemons' big story at the Wonder Bar

You’re going to get it all when you see a Jake Clemons show.

Jake Clemons 

Jake Clemons at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, Friday, June 23.

Heartbreak, loss, hope, redemption — all brought together in the collective spirit of rock n roll. In this way he’s much like his Boss, Bruce Springsteen, whose concerts also follow a narrative that encompasses the highs and lows of life.

Clemons, the nephew of the late Clarence Clemons, has learned well. He’s been playing saxophone in the E Street Band for four years and he’s picked up a thing or two on how to present a show. That is, go bold — tell a big story.

That’s what Clemons did on Friday, June 23 at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. He started with a gentle acoustic version of “You’re a Friend of Mine,” a hit for his uncle more than 30 years ago.

MORE: Jake Clemons takes on domestic violence

Sunday, June 18 was the 6th anniversary of Clarence Clemons’ passing.

“Hold Tight,” a taut rocker with a killer hook from his new album, “Fear & Love,” suggested an impending storm and “Janine,” a recent Clemons single,  was preceded by an anti-domestic abuse message. Clemons later bemoaned the disconnect in a world where electronics seemingly should bring us closer together.

Yet, Clemons was well aware that this was a Friday night at a sold out bar on the Jersey Shore. That means it’s party time.

He played the keyboards for a riff — in addition to playing guitar and sax with his four piece band. He also  jumped onto the audience for “You Must Be Crazy.” A soulful Joe Cocker version of “With a Little Help from My Friends” lit the crowd and a version of the Rascals’ “Good Lovin’“ found him back in the audience, back in the audience’s arms.

“I wanted to give you a little hope tonight” Clemons said. “The world is a crazy place “

Rock ‘n’ roll can be redemptive like that.

Chris Jordan:


The SPL Rocks!


Pulled up to my house today
Came and took my little girl away!
Giants Stadium 8/28/03


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