John Waite, Willie Nile Pay Tribute to Jeff Beck, Lisa Marie Presley at Light of Day

John Waite and Willie Nile paid tribute to the late Jeff Beck at the Light of Day Winterfest show benefitting Parkinson’s and related diseases at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank.

Nile, who took the stage earlier in the night with a set that included “House of 1,000 Guitars” and “One Guitar,” took a moment to honor the memories of both Beck and Lisa Marie Presley, who he called a “sweetheart,” with a dedication of “People Who Died” by the Jim Carroll Band.

Later on, Waite called Spin Doctors guitarist Anthony Krizan to the stage for a rocking cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and an intense version ot The Jeff Beck Group’s “Let Me Love You” in tribute.

Beck played his final show at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank with Johnny Depp last October. Beck passed away Jan. 10. Presley died two days later on Jan. 12.

Waite was the headliner of the event, a birthday celebration of Light of Day festival founder Bob Benjamin, an artist manager who was diagnosed Parkinson’s in 1998. Waite’s 45-minute set included hits “Missing You,” “Change” “Every Time I Think of You” and a deep cut from his time in The Babys “Midnight Rendezvous (co-written by Journey’s Jonathan Cain). Prior to the performance, the festival screened Waite’s new documentary, “The Hard Way,” which follows the singer’s career and no-holds barred insights into the music industry.

The evenings other performers joined Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers for the traditional singing of “Happy Birthday” to Benjamin (actual birthday is Nov. 3) on stage as he sat in a wheelchair and a finale of the Bruce Springsteen-penned Joan Jett hit, “Light of Day.” The show was hosted by 1071 The Boss Springsteen on Sunday host Tom Cunningham.

Other performers included Jesse Malin, Jeffrey Gaines, Law and Order actress Jill Hennessey, Dave Hause and The Mermaids, Fantastic Cat, Kof Knotz, The Weeklings, Jersey Country duo Williams Honor (who performed Springsteen’s “Growin’ Up” to huge applause), Ben Arnold, Adam Ezra, Remember Jones (aka Anthony D’Amato), Joe D’Urso and more rounded out the bill. Spring-Nuts, The Springsteen fan group on Facebook, contributed with a video submission of fans lip syncing the song, “Ghosts,” off the album “Letter to You.”

Other surprises included rock photographer Danny Clinch joining Grushecky on harp for “Pumping Iron” and Hennesey covering Springsteen with a sweet version of “No Surrender.” D’Amato earned a standing ovation paying tribute to the late David Bowie with a cover of “Life on Mars” while Malin got lost in the crowd storming the aisles for “Meet Me at the End of the World.”

Friday night (Jan. 13) Light of Day honored Springsteen’s first managers, Tex and Marion Vineyard of Freehold, as “Asbury Angels,” a memorial presentation for late members of the Asbury community held at The Stone Pony. Other honorees included Dolores “Dee” Holland, Gerald “Gerry” Carboy, who played with E Streeter David Sancious and Ernest “Boom” Carter and Gerard “Arthur” Robrecht, otherwise known as Arthur Kill.

Light of Day Winterfest is a week-long celebration of music benefitting the Light of Day Foundation, which is seeking to fund research to find cures for the disease as well as financial support for those suffering with Parkinsons.

While Springsteen has taken the stage in the past at 12 previous Light of Day shows, he did not appear. The E Street Band had been at the Basie the previous week rehearsing at The Vogel for the forthcoming 2023 tour. Songs rehearsed over a five day period include included “Out in the Street,” “Promised Land,” “Backstreets,” “Ghosts,” “House of 1,000 Guitars,” “If I Was the Priest,” “Something in the Night,” “Night,” and “Johnny 99.” Springsteen also rehearsed “Do I Love You” and “Don’t Play That Song” and “Nightshift”-all from the new record, “Only the Strong Survive.”

From left, Vini Lopez, Garry Tallent and David Sancious pose at the corner of 10th Avenue and E Street in Belmar on Jan. 8. (photo by Stan Goldstein)

Several songs from “The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle” were also rehearsed. That record celebrates 50 years this fall. Last Saturday (Jan. 7), The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University hosted a symposium celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of “Greetings from Asbury Park.” The panels included a discussion with E Street Band members Garry Tallent, and original members David Sancious, and drummer Vini Lopez. All shared stories of making the album, and the next day all three posed for a picture in Belmar at E Street, the namesake of the band and location of Sancious’ childhood home. Sancious -who has gone on to an illustrious career recording with many artists, including Sting-returned to his home for the first time, according to Stan Goldstein, author and tour guide of Rock and Roll Tour of the Jersey Shore.

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