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Community News

'Light of Day' is Just Around Corner

by Jay Lustig/The Star-Ledger

Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls will make a rare solo appearance on Saturday at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park as part of this year's Light of Day fundraisers.
For some people, John Rzeznik's music may be more familiar than his name.

Rzeznik (pronounced RES-nick) fronts rock band the Goo Goo Dolls, who were responsible for ubiquitous '90s hits like "Iris," "Name" and "Slide." He'll make a rare solo appearance on Saturday at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park as part of this year's Light of Day fundraisers.

An annual event since 2000, the Light of Day shows raise money to support Parkinson's disease research and aid people living with the degenerative neurological disorder. Series founder and organizer Bob Benjamin, a manager of rock artists who has Parkinson's, says more than $750,000 has been raised by past shows.

Light of Day perennials, such as Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, Jesse Malin, Willie Nile and Marah, also will perform at Saturday's show, which will be the first Light of Day concert to take place in a theater.

Matt White, the Matt O'Ree Band, the Christine Martucci Band, Boccigalupe and the Badboys and many others are on the bill for a second Jersey Light of Day show on Sunday at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Later in the fall, there will be two Canadian Light of Day shows and a nine-day European Light of Day tour.

Bruce Springsteen has been a big supporter of Light of Day in the past, jamming at six shows over the event's eight years. He has never been officially confirmed for the shows ahead of time.

If he does show up this year, it would likely be on Saturday, since that's when Grushecky is performing, and he has sat in with Grushecky so many times in his past he's practically an honorary Houserocker.

The Light of Day story began 10 years ago, when Benjamin, who lives in Highland Park, asked those attending his 40th birthday party to make a donation instead of bringing a gift. He raised about $2,000 that night.

He presented the first official Light of Day concert -- at the Tradewinds nightclub in Sea Bright -- in 2000, taking the name from the Springsteen song. In 2003, he persuaded artists such as Elvis Costello, Dion and Patty Griffin to contribute tracks to a fund-raising two-CD album, "Light of Day: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen."

Benjamin, who will turn 50 on Monday, says the first thing that comes to mind when he thinks back over Light of Day's history is an image: "Looking out at the crowd, from the Stone Pony stage, and seeing wall-to-wall people, and being amazed that all those people came out for an event I put together."

He also cites two specific Light of Day shows: the 2003 Stone Pony concert where Springsteen and Michael J. Fox, who also has Parkinson's disease, played "Light of Day" together, and a 2005 Los Angeles concert with an "amazing lineup" headed by Lucinda Williams and Jakob Dylan.

Here are more details for this weekend's events:

Saturday's show takes place at 7 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre on the Asbury Park Boardwalk. The main stage lineup is: Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, John Rzeznik, Willie Nile, Marah, Jesse Malin, and Joe D'Urso and Stone Caravan. There also will be an acoustic stage with Jon Caspi, Rob Dye, Joe Rapolla, Bobby Strange, Bruce Tunkel and Danny White. The $100 to $150 tickets are sold out, but $50 tickets remain.

Sunday's concert is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Stone Pony, 913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park. Performers will include Matt White, the Bob Burger Band, Boccigalupe and the Badboys, the Christine Martucci Band, Cool Days End, Dawne Allynne & Joe Romano, Exit 105, JoBonanno and the Godsons of Soul, Jillian Rhys, Maybe Pete, the Matt O'Ree Band, Miami and the Groovers, the Sensational Soul Cruisers, and Tom Vella and the Wayside. There will be solo acoustic sets by Rick Barry, Joy Bodnar, Melissa Chill, Linda Chorney, Laura Crisci, Anthony D'Amato, Johnny Grushecky, Pat Guadagno, Charlie MacIntosh, Bob Polding, Mike Rocket, Ken Shane, Pat Toner and Laura Warshauer. The $40 tickets are sold out, but $25 tickets remain.

Tickets to both shows are available via Ticketmaster; call (201) 507-8900 or visit Also, radio station 105.7 the Hawk will broadcast Sunday's show live from 7 to 9 p.m. and, according to Benjamin, Sirius satellite radio will tape Saturday's show for future broadcast.

More information is available at

Jay Lustig may be reached at or (973) 392-5850

Source Date: Oct 27 2008
Source Publication: Associated Press
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