I was fortunate to attend the 17th Annual Light of Day concert on Saturday January 14, 2017 for the second time. The concert was started 17 years ago to benefit Parkinson’s Disease research and related illnesses, such as ALS and PSP. Their goal is to defeat these terrible diseases within our lifetime. Each year, a large group of Jersey Shore rock and roll bands get together to raise funds to find a cure during the 10-day long calendar of events.
The concerts began as a birthday party in 1998 in Red Bank, NJ to celebrate the 40th birthday of Bob Benjamin, a music and artist manager. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and asked his friends to donate money to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, rather than give him presents. They raised over $2,000 and today, the Light of Day Foundation (named for a Bruce Springsteen song) has raised over $3 million to find a cure. The annual event has grown into a 10 day-70 show party in13 countries on 3 continents – an amazing feat! Springsteen himself has appeared as a “surprise” at least 11 times at the big end-of-event concert as well as many other well-known artists such as Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, John Rzeznick of the Goo Goo Dolls, Darlene Love, Gary “U.S” Bonds, Garland Jeffreys and local legends John Eddie, Joe Grushecky, Joe D’Urso and many more unsigned artists.
The uses the power of music to raise not only money, but awareness to defeat Parkinson’s disease.
This year I was lucky to also attend a “2nd Day Event” at the Stone Pony, and enjoyed the best Springsteen cover band – The B Street Band, as well as an Eagles tribute band and a Bob Dylan tribute band. The musicians were great – but then again, they all need to be the best in order to perform in The House That Bruce Built!
The main event was jam-packed with local legends and a special headline appearance by Jake Clemmons (of the E-Street Band. He is also the nephew of late Clarence Clemmons) with his band playing new songs from their current album. The house was sufficiently rocked even though Mr. Springsteen did not play – rumor was that he was there but didn’t perform – probably due to an extensive tour set to start in Australia the next day.
If you would like more information about this concert series and the history of the Light of Day Foundation, please visit or watch the award-winning documentary about Bob’s battle with Parkinson’s produced by Virgil Films.
If you would like more information about this concert series and the history of the Light of Day Foundation, please visit www.lightofday.org or watch the award-winning documentary about Bob Benjamin’s battle with Parkinson’s produced by Virgil Films.