The “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” grand finale to end all “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” grand finales, at least as far as the New Jersey rock scene is concerned, took place on Dec. 7, 2003, when the Bruce Springsteen was backed by the Max Weinberg 7 plus Jon Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny, Steven Van Zandt, Danny Federici, Nils Lofgren, Sam Moore, Jesse Malin, Willie Nile, Garland Jeffreys, Soozie Tyrell, Bobby Bandiera, Ed Manion, Lisa Lowell, JoBonanno, the Alliance Singers, the Victorious Gospel Choir, someone dressed up as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and others. Check out the end of the clip below to see a good shot of one very crowded stage.
Springsteen, of course, has been performing a rocked-up version of the holiday standard since the ’70s, and released a live version as a single in 1985. If he’s got a show scheduled in late November or December, there’s always a good chance it will be on the setlist.
The Dec. 7, 2003 show was the middle one of three holiday charity concerts Springsteen presented at Convention Hall in Asbury Park that year.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. The complete list is here.