(RED BANK, NJ) -- If you're looking for things to do on New Year's Eve, don't forget about the Jersey tradition of closing out the year with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. The band returns to the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank on December 31st ready to celebrate the last day of the year. Doors are at 9:00pm, the party begins at 10:00pm.
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes first achieved prominence in the mid-1970s, emerging from the same New Jersey Shore music scene as his now legendary contemporary and friend Bruce Springsteen. Southside's first three albums, I Don't Want To Go Home, This Time It's for Real, and Hearts of Stone, were produced by band co-founder Steven Van Zandt (E Street Band, The Sopranos), and largely featured songs written by Van Zandt and/or Springsteen. The Van Zandt-written "I Don't Want To Go Home" became Southside's signature song, an evocative mixture of horn-based melodic riffs and sentimental lyrics.
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes were one of the most popular bands in New Jersey in the mid 1970s. They went from being the house band at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park to a national act with the release of "I Don't Want to Go Home" in 1976. Since then, they have taken their signature blend of rock 'n' roll with rhythm & blues – always featuring a stellar horn section – around the world.
And from the very beginning, the band has owned New Year's Eve in the Garden State. They've played NYE shows at venues from the old Capitol Theatre in Passaic to the State Theatre in New Brunswick to the Count Basie Theatre, which has been their NYE home for most of the last two decades.
In an interview with Jersey Arts in 2016, Southside Johnny said, "The one day off I think I've had in the last 40 years of New Years is the year Stevie Van Zandt decided to marry Maureen in New York on New Year's Eve," recalled Southside. "I had to go to New York City on New Year's Eve instead of sitting home with my wife by the fireplace, probably asleep by 10:30pm. So, I figure I might as well work the night!"
Fans would flock to the shows and the New Year's Eve performances quickly became legendary. It also became a Jersey tradition.
"It meant I didn't have to sweat where I was going to be on New Year's Eve!" continued Southside in that Jersey Arts interview. "I knew where I was going to be and I knew what I was going to be doing. For a musician, it's such an iffy business to know whether you were going to be popular or not or be booked anywhere. When – way back in the 70s – we started getting these regular gigs, there's a certain comfort level that comes with it. Of course, you always want to expand it, to play all over the world, but it's nice to know that on certain days like 4th of July weekend we'll be in Asbury Park and New Year's will be at the Count Basie. It's just great to have steady dates."
Tickets range from $39 to $99 and are available for purchase online. The Count Basie Center for the Arts requires patrons to present one of the following to attend events at Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre, The Vogel or Basie Center Cinemas: Proof of full vaccination OR A negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of door time. Patrons aged 12 and under are not required to present test results, but must remain masked during all events. Masks are strongly encouraged. For more information, on how the venue is dealing with COVID, click here.
This Count Basie Center event is being sold to full legal capacity, subject to local, state and/ or federal restrictions in place at the time of the event. If any show needs to be rescheduled and you cannot make the new date, you can request an account credit or refund.
The Count Basie Center for the Arts is located at 99 Monmouth Street in Red Bank, New Jersey.