By Chris Jordan
The stars come out at the Jersey Shore for the holidays.
Jon Bon Jovi and Ben E. King joined announced performers Bobby Bandiera, Southside Johnny and Gary U.S. Bonds for the sixth annual Hope Concert Sunday night at the County Basie Theatre in Red Bank.
Mid-show, King, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, performed “This Magic Moment,” “Spanish Harlem” and “Under the Boardwalk,” the latter accompanied by Southside Johnny on backing vocals. King, dressed in a blue blazer with black shirt and slacks, later came out and led a group rendition of his classic “Stand by Me” and joined Southside Johnny for a cover of Sam and Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin’. “
“I have my idol right here,” Southside Johnny said of King.
Bon Jovi came out to a standing ovation earlier in the show.
“We are all here thanks to Bobby Bandiera,” Bon Jovi said. “None of this happens unless Bobby makes it happen.”
Bandiera of Atlantic Highlands is a touring member of Bon Jovi. Jon Bon Jovi, dressed rocker casual in jeans and a black T-shirt, performed “Blue Christmas,” “Run Rudolph Run,” the Box Tops 60s hit “The Letter” and “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”
Bonds performed a set that included “This Little Girl” and “Jolé Blon” while Southside Johnny capped the show with “Better Days,” (which referenced superstorm Sandy in new lyrics),”I Don’t Want to Go Home,” “This Time It’s for Real,” “Hearts of Stone,” and “Talk to Me.”
The format for the evening was a revue style show of notable acts from the Shore introduced by Bandiera. Tim McLoone sang “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” Bob Burger delivered Paul McCartney’s “Venus and Mars” and “Rock Show,” Layonne Holmes and Bandiera teamed for the gospel-surge of Eric Clapton’s “Presence of the Lord” and Ray Andersen brought the up-town funk with “Vehicle.”
But perhaps the highlight of the show was Bandiera, out Garfunkel-ing Art Garfunkel (one star not in attendance) on “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Bandiera, in a faded leather jacket, stood to stage right, guitar silent around his neck, right hand on the microphone and singing in a voice that conveyed a collective vulnerability and defiance in the face of Sandy.
This evening was a stone in that bridge.
The sold-out concert raised funds for the Parker Family Health Center and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.