New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Tune into Radio Jersey with Lee Mrowicki every Monday through Friday from 6pm to 8pm
Broadcast on Asbury Music!

The Commons' Last Show

By Gary Wien


(AUGUST 16, 2008 -- LAWRENCE, NJ) -- Just outside of Trenton, at McGuinn's Place, a bar that the band had played often throughout their career, The Commons played their final show on Saturday night in front of many of their long-time fans.

The set list was peppered with songs running through the band's entire catalog even going back to songs off their first CD that have rarely been played in recent years. It was definitely a treat for the die-hards in the audience that not only have been friends of the band for years, but literally grew up alongside the band members. This may have been the ending of an era, but it was truly a magnificent way for a band to go out.

Lead singer, Keith Monacchio, kicked off the night with "Don't Go On Me" as the sound splattered horribly across the room. Thankfully, Joe Harvard made the trip from the Shore and pulled a rabbit out of a hat once again to save the show. Within the time of one and a half songs, the sound went from horrible to wonderful and helped get the band on their way.

The band picked some very interesting choices for their final show. In fact, it seemed as though they went out of their way in the first of two sets to play the obscure tracks - those that hadn't been played live often in many years - rather than the big hits. In between popular recent songs like "3-2-1" and "Simple Things" were nuggets from albums like Eat Off The Vine and Anchor.

Throughout the night, the band members seemed relaxed and just had fun on stage. It was easy to get the feeling that there was almost a sense of relief in the air. The band had just finished the rarest of tours; one, in which, the band had stated at the onset that it would be their last. That's something that is almost never done. Instead of continuing on year after year and possibly watching the band enter their demise down the road, they chose to make one final record (American Ghost) and go out in style. In fact, many people consider American Ghost as the band's best record. Yet, even with critical praise and recent developments such as the band's songs getting into television and movies in recent years, they had decided to move on and appear to be sticking with that decision.

But I've gotta say they floored me when they played a new song called, "The Best Was Yet To Come." Does this mean we may see a studio album in the future? Maybe instead of touring, they'll simply record ala XTC? Or will the band members possibly get together to record for Keith Monacchio solo projects? Who knows.

After a brief break, The Commons returned for a second set that included "China" - the song Keith described as, "The first song we ever wrote that we thought was any good" - as well as several great cuts from the band's last few albums ("The Van Rolls On", "Big Big World", "Fast Food Parking Lot", and "Kate and Joe").

When you hear the collective output of the band - a mix that really isn't the band's greatest hits but might be the bands idea of their history - you realize just how many tremendous songs they actually created over the years. I've often said that I think Keith Monacchio is one of the best songwriters in New Jersey and the band's catalog certainly backs that statement up. Unfortunately their tunes were meant for listening rooms instead of noisy bars; the lyrics were meant to be relished and discussed rather than overlooked; they were like the thinking man's band rather than the next hip thing. In other words, they were a band for a different time and a different place. They never really got the shot they deserved, by then again, who ever does?

In retrospect, I think they needed to play places like the Tin Angel instead of joints like McGuinn's, but you play the hand you're dealt with and they made a pretty good run with it. In fact, it was a pretty damn good ride for the boys. And Saturday night was the perfect ending.



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


MUSIC

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


THEATRE

"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







COMEDY

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


MISC

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 | info@newjerseystage.com

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.