NJ needs this to become its definitive end-of-summer tradition forever
Incredible artists and bands such as Stevie Nicks, Green Day, Cage the Elephant, My Morning Jacket, Gary Clark Jr, Billy Strings, The Backseat Lovers, Celisse, and so many more took over Asbury Park this past weekend for the Sea.Hear.Now Festival.
The Sea.Hear.Now festival first started in 2018 and we hope it can continue to become an end-of-summer tradition for New Jersey.
This two-day festival had a well-curated line-up of talent that brought out a crowd of all ages.
There were parents with their kids, young adults, teenagers, and grandparents. This was a festival where all were welcome.
The festival was well set up: you could easily get from one stage to another in 5-10 minutes. This made it super easy to get from set to set without missing too much.
Prior to the show, I saw a lot of people on Instagram saying that the Park Stage was going to be too small for some artists, such as Billy Strings.
Well, we quickly learned that was not going to be the case.
I think the best part about the Park Stage was that the sound from the stage carried all the way across the field.
You could sit at the way back of the field by the convention hall and still perfectly hear the artist performing, which is what many people did.
Intimate moments and art
Additionally, by the Park Stage was the Transparent Clinch Gallery Tent, which featured artwork from many of the artists performing at the festival. Danny Clinch is one of the festival founders and a world-renowned photographer. He has photographed everyone you can imagine, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, all the way to artists like Kanye West, Post Malone, Jay Z and Tupac.
The artwork featured in the gallery was for sale and all of the proceeds went to charity.
Some of the artwork included drum skins colored on by Tre Cool of Green Day, doodles from Billy Strings, hand-wrapped crystal necklaces by KJ Ward from The Backseat Lovers, photographs taken by Shakey Graves, and more.
Additionally, some of these artists including The Head and The Heart, Dogs in a Pile, Shakey Graves, My Morning Jacket and others had stopped by the Clinch Transparent Art Gallery to perform intimate pop-up shows.
Amazing concert views all around
The two other stages were set up on the beach: The Sand Stage and The Surf Stage.
Whether you were standing on the boardwalk or your toes were sunk in the sand, you had an amazing view.
Thousands pack beach to see Stevie Nicks
The Surf Stage saw acts during the day and it's where the Headliners played at the end of the night. The beach was packed with 35,000 people to see Stevie Nicks on Saturday and on Sunday night, Green Day.
Stevie Nicks was a dream come true for me and I’m sure many others in the crowd.
I can remember when I discovered my mom's original copy of “Rumors” by Fleetwood Mac and I was so mad because it was scratched.
I went out and searched for a new copy until I found one. When I finally did, it became my most-listened-to album and I fell in love with Stevie Nicks.
For me and many others to see her on the stage with the wind blowing through her hair on such a beautiful September night on the beach, it was a dream come true.
In Stevie’s words, it was a “fairytale”, and I couldn’t agree more.
We got to hear her sing hits like “Rhiannon”, “Gold Dust Woman”, “Dreams”, Gypsy”, "Stand Back” and “Edge of Seventeen.”
She also covered Led Zeppelin’s “Rock n Roll”, as well as Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”.
"Free Fallin'" was one of my favorites from the night, while she sang, pictures of Tom Petty were plastered on the screen.
The crowd got even more emotional when she began singing "Landslide", which she dedicated to her goddaughter, Tessa Fleetwood (Mick Fleetwood's daughter) who was at the show. There was not a dry eye in the crowd.
Crowd goes wild for Green Day
The next night was a complete 180. Stevie Nicks put on a very mellow show, Green Day gave us the complete opposite.
One sign being held up in the crowd on the big screen before the show read “drop a dookie on me” with a pretty visual representation on a 22x28 poster.
The crowd erupted with excitement.
Shortly before coming on stage they started their show with their usual tradition.
This includes hyping the crowd up with Bohemian Rhapsody.
Then emerging from side stage to Blitzkrieg Bop was the drunk bunny coming out to pump up the crowd.
The band finally came out onto the stage and the crowd barely even got a chance to start cheering before they kicked into gear and the whole beach erupted singing “American Idiot”.
I want to be honest here and say that I wasn’t even a thought in my parents' minds when Kerplunk was released in 1992. I was 7 in 2005 when American Idiot was released.
But I can guarantee that on Sunday night, that did not matter. The age gap did not exist, and I mean that.
Everyone was singing along, from the kids even younger than me to the crowd who could remember exactly where they were when they heard “Basket Case” for the first time when it was just released.
They played their later hits like “ Know Your Enemy” off their 2009 album, 21st Century Breakdown.
During the song, Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong called out to the crowd asking if anyone knew the words.
He then brought up a young girl, who was lucky enough to get to sing along and rule the stage for the entirety of the song.
They played songs from their earliest albums including “Knowledge” off their first album 1,039/Smoothed out Slappy Hours.
Armstrong once again called onto the crowd asking if anyone knew how to play guitar, while scanning the crowd he found one boy he deemed dressed for the part.
This lucky young boy, Luke, was wearing the Green Day shirt they were selling at the merch stand.
Luke crushed it on stage and the crowd erupted as Armstrong then told the boy "You can keep the guitar kid, it's all downhill from here."
We also got a ton of their hits including “St Jimmy”, “When I Come Around”, “Holiday” and “Brain Stew”.
They also mixed in a bunch of classic rock hits, which I was not expecting and LOVED. As I already mentioned "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen and "Blitzkrieg Bop" by the Ramones.
They also played “Shout” by the Beastie Boys, “Rock n Roll All Night” by Kiss, and they teased “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath looking to the crowd for the lyrics.
They also played a bit of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N Roses during the bridge of “Disappearing Boy”.
During "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" the crowd lit up the night with their phone lights.
They closed out the night with “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” which made for a very symbolic ending to the festival.
Although Armstrong teased skinny dipping throughout the night, it didn’t happen, at least not that we got to see.
Also listen to my conversation with local band Sunshine Spazz, who kicked off the Sea.Hear.Now Festival last Friday night at The Wonderbar.
The Sea.Hear.Now festival is produced by C3 Presents, the same team behind Lollapalooza, and locals Tim Donnelly and Danny Clinch.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5's Jordan Jansson. Any opinions expressed are her own.
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