Contest to see Asbury Park’s legendary Upstage Club

by JAY LUSTIG
RICH RUSSO

RICH RUSSO

Bruce Springsteen fans know that he didn’t really start out at the Stone Pony. The venue that really launched him — and countless other Shore musicians, too — was Asbury Park’s Upstage Club, at 700 Cookman Ave.

The Upstage, of course, has been closed for decades, is for sale, and may be gutted by the new owner. But DJ Rich Russo will be giving out tickets on his syndicated radio show, “Anything Anything,” for what may be the club’s final viewing.

The Upstage visit will last about 30 minutes, and take place on a date to be announced (but no later than April 5).

The original stage is still there, as well as some of the wall murals and other paintings. Some elements of the club will be saved and preserved, and perhaps displayed somewhere else, at some point.

“If you are a fan of the great music that Asbury Park has given us, stepping inside the Upstage is our version of visiting the Cavern Club in Liverpool, but this is even rarer, since it’s not a museum and hasn’t been readily available since it shut down in the 70’s, it’s truly something that money can’t buy, and it will be free to about 20 contest winners via my radio show” said Russo on his web site, richrusso.net.

“Winners will get to take pictures, stand on the stage, visit the Green Mermaid area on the second floor, it will truly be a special thing, you will get goosebumps, especially after you realize that once you leave no one will ever see it in that form again.”

The bulk of the passes will be given out on “Anything Anything” this Sunday. The show can be heard from 10 p.m. to midnight on 95.9 WRAT-FM, and from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on 105.5 WDHA-FM. The stations can be also streamed throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Russo will also give away one pair of passes via his show on White Plains, N.Y.’s 107.1 The Peak, which airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and streams worldwide. He will also give a pair to Tom Cunningham, for Cunningham to give away on his Bruce Brunch show airing from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday on 105.9 The Hawk and also streaming worldwide.

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