Asbury Park's most ambitious music and art festival in recent memory got the Boss' blessing on Sunday night.

Bruce Springsteen fulfilled the hopes of fans and showed up for a surprise, three song mini-set with Social Distortion. A tide of cell phones swelled up toward the end of Social D's set, as frontman Mike Ness gave a brief introduction. "I was walking on the boardwalk today and I ran into someone...they were just kinda sitting around doing nothing. And I said, maybe come to our show and sing a song or two. You know who I'm talking about?" As the crowd answered with a loud round of "Bruuuuuuuce," Ness welcomed "Our good friend Bruce."

They then ran through the punk veterans' classic, 'Bad Luck', followed by Ness and Springsteen's collaboration 'Misery Loves Company' and ended with Johnny Cash's 'Ring of Fire', which you can watch below. Ness joked the last one would put them over their 'curfew' and they'd have to pay a fine, but he figured it'd be worth it.

As Springsteen and Ness hugged and got ready to play, a silhouetted figure with a trademark hat was snapping photos from behind them on-stage. That would be NJ's own Danny Clinch, one of the weekend's hardest working folks. The famed rock photographer, director and musician was a driving force behind the two-day gathering of over two dozen bands, plus surfing and new artwork by some of the mural creators that have made Asbury's boardwalk a visual playground.

Springsteen and Mike Ness have a solid history together, as they collaborated on Ness' solo project, 'Cheating at Solitaire'. It was during a 2008 tour that Springsteen last joined the punk veteran in Asbury, that time at the Stone Pony.

Mike Ness Bruce Springsteen Asbury Park
Erin's poster from the last Ness & Bruce outing (Erin Vogt, Townsquare Media NJ)

It was a crowning jewel in a beautiful weekend. Perfect weather helped bring out fans on the fence about joining the 20-thousand plus crowd each day. The partnership with C3 Presents showed in the layout of Park, Sand and Surf stages, plus lots of local food vendors and bar kiosks. (There was even a hint of Bruce on Saturday night, when Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals opened their set with Springsteen's 'Atlantic City.')

A couple of lessons learned heading into a hopeful second year. The porta-potties by the Park stage were usually less crowded. And, the Jersey crowd loved Pacifico beer, which sold-out early on both days.

Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.

Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.

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