NEPA Scene Staff

B Street Band performs with original Bruce Springsteen drummer in Jim Thorpe on Dec. 26

B Street Band performs with original Bruce Springsteen drummer in Jim Thorpe on Dec. 26
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From a press release:

The popular Bruce Springsteen tribute band, The B Street Band, will perform at Jim Thorpe’s Mauch Chunk Opera House the day after Christmas, Saturday, Dec. 26, and will feature original E Street Band drummer, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez. The all-ages show begins at 8 p.m.

Recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Lopez backed Bruce Springsteen from 1968-1974 in several bands and performed on Springsteen’s first two albums, the classics “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” and “The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.”

Tickets are $23 and available on the Opera House website, by visiting SoundCheck Records (23 Broadway, Jim Thorpe) from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., or by calling them at 570-325-4009. Tickets are also available by calling 570-325-0249. The facility is open from noon-5 p.m. on show days, and tickets are available for most shows at the door at showtime.

In 1973, B Street bandleader Willie Forte had a life-changing experience in fellow high school star Joe Maddon’s Dodge Dart. They were cruising their native Hazleton when Maddon, now the manager of baseball’s Chicago Cubs, popped in an eight-track cassette of the second album from a New Jersey musician he thought Forte would dig. It was a tires-screeching, switchblades-flashing, rambling rumble written by and starring – who else? – Bruce Springsteen. Forte was hooked.

The B Street Band first performed as “Backstreets, a Tribute to the Boss” on May 19, 1980 in Asbury Park, New Jersey for an audience of over 2,000 Springsteen fans. From the heart of the Jersey shore, “Backstreets” was the first band in the world to do a unique tribute to a live performer. There are now an estimated 14,000 tribute bands following their lead and performing all over the world.

Nearly 5,500 performances and 35 years later, the B Street Band is still the hardest-working tribute band on the circuit, with almost 200 shows per year throughout the country. Forte and his comrades have performed all over and off the map. There have been parties with Bruce lookalikes; gigs with Clarence Clemons, the late saxophonist in Springsteen’s E Street Band; and opening slots for the Boss’ final shows at the now-demolished Spectrum in Philadelphia, one of his favorite venues.