So yes, by the time the Amager Bio club date in Copenhagen came round, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.
“Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen…” goes the song from way back when 78s were the MP3s of the day; and for the audience at Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes’ November 14th, 2004 show, this particular cosmopolitan European capital city was most certainly the place to be.
The show took place on day 30 of the Jukes 2004 UK/European tour and this far down the road – metaphorically and literally – I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if the show had leaned towards presenting the less physically demanding songs from the Jukes’ massive repertoire; as it happened, that theory was well and truly blown out of the water.
Singer/songwriter, Mickey Kemp, from England, opened up for the Jukes by performing some of his own original material and was a welcome short but nevertheless sweet, treat since I had heard of Mickey, but never had an opportunity to see him play.
The Jukes’ set opened with Johnny singing a – possibly impromptu – version of Sam Cooke’s Only Sixteen and after that, with everyone in place, the gas pedal hit the deck, the turbo kicked-in and… we were off!
I Remember Last Night, Tell Me That Our Love’s Still Strong, I Won’t Sing… the songs came tumblin’ out… Fade Away, Talk To Me, Somebody To Love You… gathering momentum on the way… She’s Still In Love, Gladly Go Blind, Living With The Blues, Claudine, This Time It’s For Real, All I Needed Was You, Coming Back, Take It Inside, Broke Down Piece Of Man, I Played The Fool… and yes, it was just like that… non-stop!
Shake ‘em Down was an audience request and talking of which… the guy who was invited to join the band for We’re Having A Party and who, incidentally, resembled an ice-hockey player in every which way, had Johnny tentatively asking for “Help” as the guy’s armpits rested on Johnny’s head!
The only times the tempo of this show decelerated slightly were during Paris, The Fever and Walk Away Renee, but these were apparently the exceptions to the rock ‘n’ rollercoaster pace of this gig. I Don’t Want To Go Home, Got To Be A Better Way Home, Passion Street… and still the songs kept coming at us.
Contrary to my initial wonderings about what we’d perhaps hear from the band, it turned out to be a totally incredible performance from a bunch of guys whose energy levels ought to have been shot at this stage of the tour.
As each band member stepped forward to perform their own, extra special solos, it was like watching men who were on a mission.
Furthermore, you’d think when the house lights came on and the crew had started to tear down the stage equipment that the night was over, right??
Johnny and Bobby came back out once again and concluded the night with not one, not two but three more songs that ended with Dream Lover, Goodnight My Love and Hearts Of Stone. Yes, this surprise reprise did catch a few people out, especially those who were in the process of walking through the exits!
Many, many years ago, the Jukes became labelled as “The Best Bar Band In The World” and, you know what? That title remains unchallenged.
And was it worth the very-early wake-up calls together with a total of seven trains to get to Copenhagen and back I hear you ask?
In a word… yessssssssssssssssss!!
EuroJukes 2004 – Part 1 – Hyde Park, Osnabrück
EuroJukes 2004 – Part 2 – European Fan Convention Unikellar, Osnabrück with “Souls On Fire”
EuroJukes 2004 – Part 3 – Southside Johnny, Bobby Bandiera and Soozie Tyrell Lagerhalle, Osnabrück
EuroJukes 2004 – Part 5 – Southside Johnny interview with Marc Tyley