New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

Did you know NJ Stage offers FREE Event Listings? Nearly 100,000 listings were viewed in January. Be sure to add your events to our calendar and get your shows noticed!

The Brunswick Beatles Rock The State Theatre

By Gary Wien

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -- SEPTEMBER 18, 2010) -- "I would like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we've passed the audition", said Bob Burger, echoing the words of John Lennon as Glen Burtnik & Friends closed out a set that saw the band cover the American versions of "Help!", "Rubber Soul", and "Let It Be" -- complete and note for note as originally recorded while images and videos of The Beatles played in the background.

Roughly thirty years ago, Glen Burtnik first performed as Paul McCartney in Beatlemania alongside Marshall Crenshaw as John Lennon. Nowadays, Burtnik and Burger form the perfect combination of Paul and John. In fact, the couple next to me initially thought Bob was Marshall Crenshaw on stage! I guess first impressions really do last. Friends and songwriting partners, Burtnik and Burger led an inspired Beatles tribute band that also included John Merjave, Marc Muller, Eric Troyer, Dusty Micale, Dave Anthony, and Joe Nocco. Special guests such as Kasim Sulton, orchestral musicians, and a choir featuring over 15 backup singers were added throughout the night.

This was the fourth such "Jersey Beatles Bash" presented by Burtnik over the last few years. Previous editions have covered such landmark records as "Abbey Road", "White Album", and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Covering three records in one show was a new twist and one that provided an interesting look at how the band's music changed over time. Starting with "Help!", Burtnik and his talented cast led the audience through a half decade of music that took the Beatles from topping the charts to changing pop culture and ultimately to the breakup of the band and the group's final release.

Highlights for the Help! Album included: "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away", "You're Gonna Lose That Girl", and "Ticket To Ride" which all featured Bob Burger on lead vocals; and "The Night Before" and "Another Girl" which had Glen Burtnik on lead vocals. The latter is the kind of upbeat, pop song that I will always associate with Burtnik. It's the kind of song I remember hearing him play when I first started following him in the mid-80s at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park.
Throughout the evening, Burtnik seemed to be having a ball. I think that's what makes these shows work so well. It's obvious that the entire band puts in a great effort to learn the songs note for note and are accurate and deferential to the originals, but, more importantly, they love the songs as well. They don't simply go through the motions; they're having fun on stage.

Hearing these records live, you notice just how much the record company changed the albums for the North American market. In North America, songs like "Yesterday" and "Act Naturally" were left out of the release of "Help!", while songs like "Nowhere Man" and "Drive My Car" existed outside of "Rubber Soul". Even though I don't like what they did, I've got to hand it to the record executives because they knew exactly which songs to build other albums around. There was such an abundance of riches to work with during this period. Few bands have ever had such an amazing height of creativity and mainstream hits at the same time.

"There were, of course, two Beatles albums," explained Burtnik. "There were ten in Britain that they turned into about 40 for America!"

"Rubber Soul", the album which rocked the world -- literally and figuratively -- was next. Highlights included wonderful takes on "I've Just Seen a Face" (Burtnik on lead vocals); "Girl" (Marc Muller on lead vocals); and "The Word", "It's Only Love", "In My Life", and "Run For Your Life" (Burger handling lead vocals for all four). "It's Only Love" really showcased the range of Burger as his vocals echoed beautifully throughout the venue as if sung by Roy Orbison. As for "In My Life", well, that's simply one of my favorite songs of all-time and Burger nailed it perfectly.

I've always been more of a John Lennon fan than McCartney fan -- you can clearly notice who your favorite is when you listen to a few of their albums in their entirety. Ironically, one of the McCartney-led songs I was really hoping to hear Glen do was done brilliantly by special guest Kasim Sulton. The song, "I'm Looking Through You", was one my friend and I used to try getting Glen to cover in the 80s. In fact, I think one day we even wrote a note requesting the song and left it on his car! Sadly, I still haven't heard him tackle that number, but Kasim's take on it was very good.

Also worth noting was impressive sitar work by John Merjave during "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" and nice lead vocals by Eric Troyer on "My Michelle". In addition to having someone who provided backing vocals on John Lennon's "Double Fantasy" album (Eric Troyer), Burtnik pointed out how Bob Burger performed with Paul McCartney during a party a few years back.

"Unfortunately, Paul couldn't be with us tonight," said Burtnik.

After a short intermission, the band returned to close things out with the "Let It Be" album. Kicking off with a spectacular version of "On Our Way Home" sung by Burtnik and Burger, they followed with one of the most magical moments of the night -- a beautiful version of "Dig A Pony" in which John Lennon was singing along with Bob Burger simultaneously as the "Let It Be" video played on the screen behind the band. If the band ever wanted to prove they were hitting everything note for note, this was the proof. The few moments when this took place gave me chills and was an image I'll never forget.
You could just sense the momentum building when a Steinway grand piano was wheeled out for Burtnik. There was no way the final numbers were going to be played on a keyboard! As the band closed out the night, at least 15 backup singers, various horn players, and violinists were brought on to the stage. Of the backup singers I could see, I noticed Jo Wymer, Lisa Bouchelle, Joanna Burns, Jerzy Jung, and I believe a pair of Glen's daughters.

The ultimate highlight for me was the title track, "Let It Be". Glen sat at the piano, minus the beard as I remember him in a photo from Beatlemania that used to reside at the Asbury Park Rock ‘N Roll Museum. He led the way through one of the best songs ever written, in my opinion. When "Let It Be" hits that instrumental bridge towards the end, I honestly don't know if there's anything better.

I've been fortunate enough to see all four of Glen's Beatles shows and each time there's one particular song that blows me away live that never really interested me before. Tonight it was "I've Got a Feeling". Sung by Glen, this song seemed to be a perfect match for him and sounded much better live than I would have imagined.

One of my favorite things about the "Let It Be" album is the song "One after 909". For some reason, I've always loved how the song was one of the first ever written by The Beatles but never released until what would ultimately be the band's final album. I think I still have an old bootleg record by The Quarryman showcasing an early version of the song. I've always believed that the inclusion of this song was a great tribute to the band's early years and a rock and roll spirit which stayed true till the end.

Glen returned to the Steinway for "The Long and Winding Road". With the stage completely full of musicians and singers, it reminded me of when Glen and his friends tackled "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". At one point during the night, Glen pointed out that they would be using about 30 musicians to recreate the music of the Fab Four and he was right. It's amazing when you think of it.

You could feel the energy from the audience as we came to "Get Back", the final number on the album. The crowd was clapping, stomping, dancing, and singing along as Glen grabbed the microphone and strutted across the stage. At times, he even lied down on the piano, showing the effects of a long night. Towards the very end of the song, Glen even missed his cue! If you looked closely you saw Glen smiling and laughing briefly, perhaps even expressing a little relief. I'd say that was acceptable considering the band had done everything perfect up until that point.

Apparently three complete Beatles albums weren't enough for the crowd as the band was brought back for an encore. "We only have time for one more because frankly we're all a little tired of playing The Beatles at this point!" said Burtnik before settling down at the Steinway again for a fitting cover of "Hey Jude". As the song neared it finish, dozens of people started pouring on stage. Men, women, and even children danced around and shared microphones with the band. It was a Hollywood ending to a magical night.

Glen's Beatles Bashes combine history lessons and music appreciation with a simply incredible rock and roll experience. They show how the music of The Beatles remains timeless. Tonight's audience ranged from those old enough to have seen The Beatles live at Shea Stadium to kids younger than my Beatles CDs. To see the members of the audience up on stage, relishing in the sounds of albums released more than 40 years ago, was a wonderful image. For some reason, I left the theatre humming a song not released by the Beatles -- "Rock and roll is here to stay, it will never die." Those words never seemed more appropriate to me than tonight...

For more by this author, click here

Arijit Singh's New North American Tour Will Include Single Stop In Tri-State Region At Prudential Center on April 13
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Bright Brain Productions, the leading entertainment company based in California announced the “Arijit Singh LIVE Tour” in 12 cities all across the U.S. This is the first of its kind and largest tour done by Arijit Singh or any Indian artist. The tour beings on April 5 and travels through major U.S. cities culminating on May 5.  The tour stops at Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday, April 13 at 7:00pm.
Light of Day's Main Event To Be Broadcast Live at McLoone's Supper Club
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- If you couldn't get tickets for the fabled "main event" of the 2019 Light of Day Winterfest, you have another chance see the show.  For the first time in the 19-year history of the festival, the "main event", the star-studded “Bob’s Birthday Bash” on January 19th (a show that has long sold out), will be broadcast live via fiber optic cable at McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts To Hold Winter Open House On January 27
(BERKELEY HEIGHTS) -- Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will host a Winter Open House on Sunday, January 27 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Performing Arts School (PAS) located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights.
Billy Idol and Steve Stevens To Perform At Count Basie Center For The Arts
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, one of rock’s most iconic and enduring duos, will hit the road this March for their first ever tour performing as a duo: Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged. The Billy Idol/Steve Stevens tour comes to The Count Basie Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 4th.
McDonald's Gospelfest To Celebrate The Life of Aretha Franklin With Return to Prudential Center
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The 37th Annual McDonald’s Gospelfest returns to the Prudential Center on Saturday, May 11 for the gospel event of the year. This year's event will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin with an All-Star cast. The 5:00pm to 7:00pm portion of the evening will feature a rising stars competition for all ages and cultures in categories including Soloists, Choirs, Praise Dancers, Singing Groups, Gospel Comedians, Gospel Poets and Gospel Rappers. The gospel concert, beginning at 7:00pm, will feature some of the most renowned gospel artists in music history with the goal of spreading love, peace and joy to all races, nationalities and beliefs.

Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
This coming Sunday, January 20, Scott Wolfson and his band will be serving up their unique blend of Americana at the Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme series at Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna, New Jersey. The band – Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes – formed in Jersey City in 2011, and, even though the members have migrated in various directions since then, they still consider themselves to be a Jersey City band.
"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
Mike Davis traces his love for the trumpet back to a Disney movie. He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own. Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.
Ana Gasteyer's "Holiday Tipple" LIVE! at the Grunin Center
The Grunin Center stage in Toms River, NJ is set this Saturday, December 15, 2018 with drums, a grand piano, a guitar, an acoustic bass, and various microphones for vocals. A stool and several microphone stands are bedazzled with colorful garlands of shiny red, gold, and green, and wrapped gifts are strewn on stage among the instruments. Projected white snowflakes adorn the walls, and Christmas music plays as patrons enter the theater to put everyone in the mood for tonight’s holiday show — Ana Gastayer’s Holiday Tipple!

Event calendar
Friday, Jan 18, 2019


John Forster at the Minstrel @ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown - 7:30pm

David Massengill - Folk Concert @ Christ Congregation Church, Princeton - 8:00pm

SAL "THE VOICE" VALENTINETTI @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm

The Elvis Birthday Bash @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm

Annie Jr. @ The Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Some Girl(s) @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm


Big Apple Comedy Club @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm


The Jason Bishop Show to Benefit CASA @ Pfleeger Concert Hall, Rowan University, Glassboro - 7:00pm

View all events

New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.