Light Of Day's 2020 WINTERFEST Shines Brightly with

“Bob’s Birthday Bash” in Asbury Park!

By Melissa Lawlor

January 18, 2020

Bruce Springsteen heated up Asbury Park on a snowy evening when he surprised a packed house at Paramount Theatre on Saturday during “Bob’s Birthday Bash.” This is the main event for Light of Day’s 10-day WinterFest, which is an annual series of over forty concerts to raise money and awareness for the fight against Parkinson’s Disease and other related illnesses. The organization originally started in Red Bank in 1998 when friends celebrated the 40th birthday of Bob Benjamin, a longtime music business manager and promoter. Benjamin, who was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in 1996 at the age of 38, is the founder of the organization, which was created in 2000. During that first birthday party, he passed a hat around so people could donate money for Parkinson’s Disease, which ended up being $2000. A seed was planted that night and it has massively grown over the years. They have approximately 70 shows annually in 13 countries including North America, Europe, and Australia.


The WinterFest brings dozens of shows every year to Asbury Park, as well as select venues throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. This year also marks Light Of Day’s 20th Anniversary, and Springsteen has been a surprise guest for most of the shows. But it had been five years since he had been there, so the crowd was incredibly excited to see him.

The night was a steady stream of continuous music where the talent was onstage in a rapid succession, alternating between 20-minute sets on the full stage to 10-minute sets in front of the red curtain while crew prepared for the next act. The longer sets included Boccigalupe & The Bad Boys, Dramarama, Jesse Malin, The Weeklings, James Maddock, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, and Willie Nile. The stand-alone ‘red curtain’ performers were Miss Emily, Brian Dunne, Adam Ezra, Matt Jaffe, Danielia Cotton, Lisa Bouchelle, Williams Honor (consisting of Reagan Richards and Gordon Brown), Jill Hennessy, and Ben Arnold with Joe D’Urso and Vini Lopez.

Springsteen hit the stage three times during the night. First with Jesse Malin on two of his songs, “Broken Radio” and “Meet Me at the End of the World.” Then later with Nile on “One Guitar.” But it was with longtime friend, Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, that Springsteen stayed the longest. A full 90 minutes to be exact, as they performed a handful of classic songs, including "Darkness on the Edge of Town," "Pink Cadillac," "Promised Land," "Atlantic City," an acoustic version of "Thunder Road" and "Light of Day," the song that inspired the name of the annual fundraiser.


Bruce Springsteen’s setlist (performed with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers):


• “Talking to the King” (Joe Grushecky song)

• “The Promised Land”

• “Pumping Iron” (Joe Grushecky song)

• “Atlantic City”

• “Never Be Enough Time” (Joe Grushecky song)

• “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

• “Pink Cadillac”

• “Savin’ Up"

• “Light Of Day”

• “Thunder Road”

For the show’s finale, which ended after midnight, performers gathered on the stage with Springsteen and Benjamin in the center. Along with their close family and friends, they sang “Light of Day” as the crowd joined in. Then Springsteen said, “Let’s do one more for Bob,” and went into singing “Thunder Road” while playing acoustic guitar as the crowd sang along. This was followed by a birthday singalong to Benjamin.


It was an evening of stellar music and celebration that will be remembered for a very long time!! Kudos to everyone involved who made it such a huge success!!!


Click for information about how you can help the Light of Day Foundation!


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