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Reply to "Southside Johnny Asbury Park Convention Center 1979 documentary?"

Oats posted:
Bluevine(again) posted:

Oats - this is great!!    I’ve spent this morning watching all of Part 1 and the first hour of Part 2 and really enjoyed it.   The 1979 Asbury show I mentioned is shown for one song in the early portion of Part 2.    So presumably the entire thing was filmed and exists somewhere.   Would love to find that!   Bruce is shown at a 1978 Cleveland show near the end of Part 1.  Would love to see the full version of that some day too!     

Glad I could help.


Here is part of a piece I wrote on August 30-31, 1978, which focused first on the first manager of the Jukes, and oh yes, the same man who got the Jukes their first recording contract with Epic Records, hired both sets of Miami Horns, produced and arranged  their first three albums, wrote half of their material in their first three years, and brought his Boss and friend Bruce Springsteen with him regularly.  By this time, he was no longer officially their manager, but it appears nobody told him.  

Unfortunately, Sugar Miami Steve left the Jukes shortly after these events, which is another story for another day...


He hatched a big idea for August 30, booking the Jukes to perform at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio, and on a television show called "Onstage At The Agora", to be broadcast on Cleveland's WEWS-TV and simulcast on WMMS-FM. Steve arranged with the producers for four isolation cameras in addition to the main shoot. The film crew and Agora staff had no planning or advanced notice that Bruce Springsteen would appear; this finishing touch was either a last minute coincidence, or only in the mind of Sugar Miami Steve Van Zandt.

On the August 30th evening that Southside and the Jukes were scheduled to play, Bruce and the E Street Band were performing at Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, OH. As an attendee recalled, "Southside's gig started about three hours late because, as he stated, they had to wait for their lead guitarist to get done with another gig across town."

Though Bruce, Clarence, Roy Bittan, and Garry Tallent arrived with Steve at the start of the show, it was not until Stagger Lee, the final song of the main set, that Garry and Clarence ventured out on stage and joined in. When the band finally came back out for the first encore, SSJ started by dedicating the next song to a friend, which turned out to be "The Fever" and Bruce Springsteen.

After a rousing duet by Bruce and SSJ with Clarence on backing vocals, Steve, who had played on every number, suprisingly handed his guitar to Bruce and exited the stage, not to return for his beloved composition, "I Don't Want to Go Home". Bruce plays this song well due to all the practice he gets crashing Jukes' gigs at the Stone Pony. Steve returned along with Roy Bittan for the final encore, "Havin' A Party". By this time it was after 2:00 a.m. on August 31, 1978, which is why that date is on those 3 songs.

Unfortunately, the next day, Jon Landau called Agora founder and owner Hank LoConti and told him he could not use the footage of Springsteen. "It seems that Springsteen's management did not want his first ever TV broadcast to be a jam with another band".

The complete  footage, dubbed with the radio broadcast audio, has circulated among collectors for many years going back to the VHS days. although the Springsteen portion of the concert was never broadcast, the audio version of the full concert was often replayed on WMMS-FM. 

Bill Payne, director, recalls, "So I was only allowed to air the first hour with just [Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes] and erase the parts with Bruce," Payne said. "I took a 3/4-inch copy of the concert before I had the tape operator erase it. I thought I had the only copy, because I had never shown it to anyone, but I guess the tape operator didn't erase it until he made at least one copy and probably more."



my notes


Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes
Live at The Agora TV Show



00:00:25 - This Time it`s for Real
00:06:10 - You Mean So Much To Me
00:09:49 - Without Love
00:16:15 - Take it Inside
00:19:24 - This Time Baby`s Gone for Good
00:22:51 - I Played the Fool
00:28:20 - Love on the Wrong Side of Town
00:32:04 - She Got Me Where She Wants Me
00:36:50 - Trapped Again
00:41:11 - Got To Be a Better Way Home
Garry Tallent

00:45:53 - Stagger Lee w/Garry Tallent & Clarence Clemons
Garry Tallent - bass

00:54:00 - The Fever w/Bruce Springsteen 8:30
Bruce Springsteen - co-lead vocals
Clarence Clemons - vocals

01:03:00 - I Don`t Wanna go Home w/Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen - guitar
no steve

01:06:42 - Having a Party w/Bruce Springsteen
Roy Bittan - piano


Southside Johnny – lead vocals, harmonica
Kenny 'Popeye' Pentifallo – drums, vocals (duet "It Ain't the Meat")
Kevin Kavanaugh – keyboards, vocals
Billy Rush – guitar
Alan Berger – bass


The gig was videotaped for a television show called "Onstage At The Agora". The show, which was cancelled after only one season, was broadcast on Cleveland's WEWS-TV and simulcast on WMMS-FM. Southside Johnny's concert was the second show to be taped for the series.

people would jump onstage and grab me by the head and scream, ‘tilly! bootlegs!'"