(KEYPORT, NJ - DECEMBER 6, 2008) Review of Jon Caspi's CD Release Party for "Eddie Knows!" at Trinity, Keyport, NJ
There's definitely something special about seeing Jon Caspi perform in Keyport, his adopted hometown. He has a huge base of fans there and they all come out for his shows knowing every word to every song - even on nights like this one where Caspi is celebrating the release of a new CD. Caspi chose Trinity, a former Church converted into an upscale restaurant/night club, as the site for the party this time around.
Trinity was an interesting experience. Described to me by Caspi as a swanky, NYC styled venue, it certainly lived up to its billing. From the outside, Trinity still looks every bit like a church built a hundred years ago, but the inside contains a blend of sin and decadence to go along with the remnants of its religious past. One of the coolest things about the new venue is the way it sort of gives off the vibe of a very small Radio City Music Hall with its tiny stage and curtains and a huge upstairs that lets people have a balcony view. Caspi definitely looked as though he thoroughly enjoyed having the entire place there to see him - including those in the upper tier.
As for the show, it was probably the best sounding concert I've heard from Caspi. The acoustics at Trinity really impressed me. The band was tight and glided in-between originals and covers. As with any Caspi show, he pressed often to get the crowd involved in singing along and the hometown audience was more than willing to do so. Covers included "She's The One", "This Magic Moment", "Blister In The Sun", "Ring of Fire", and "American Girl" among a few Christmas songs and a 50s medley. Jon's original tunes included cuts like "Rising Above", "Big Change", and "Brand New Heart" off the new CD and older favorites like "We Don't Talk About It", "Down In It", "Maybe I", and "What Does Eddie Know?" - the song that inspired his new disc. It was a nice blend of tunes for a show that ran from around 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. with one break in between.
"Eddie Knows!", the new CD by Caspi is unusual in that all of the songs are not only related but each tell the chapter for what amounts to an entire novel. Listening to it sort of reminds me of Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" record in that while the songs all tell a story they easily stand on their own as well.
Overall, a totally enjoyable night. The band was into it, the crowd was into it, and the music left me anxious to hear the new disc in its entirety - what more could you ask for with a CD release party?
Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.