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clash city rockers on the boardwalk

Posted on 10 February 2005 by Caryn Rose (1)

clash in asbury park

I am in massive office de-clutter mode tonight, and I found this picture in the process. It is absolutely my all-time favorite Clash photograph ever. If you know me, you understand why.

For those who don’t immediately get it, it’s Memorial Day weekend of 1982, and Joe, Mick and Paul are strolling north on the boardwalk at Asbury Park, New Jersey, toward Convention Hall, where they played three incredible shows. It was cold (see grey, see fans wearing long sleeves) but it didn’t matter. It was a defining moment for so many Jersey kids I know.

I was there, and it was one of my first big culture clashes, Asbury Park previously having only one meaning for me. And then, we drive down in full regalia and it was like Year 0, like no other music existed any more. For my Jersey friends, they walked around with their jaws on the floor: “I cannot believe that all these people are here, in New Jersey!” Suddenly, people didn’t feel so alone or so isolated or so different than anyone else, here was proof: 3,000+ people jammed into Convention Hall, either flying punk rock colors or wishing they had the nerve to.

I remember that, despite the fact that it felt like the Gathering of the Tribes in some ways, it was still Asbury, and it was pretty fucking scary walking down the boardwalk to go play the KISS pinball machine down near the carousel, even though I’d done it dozens of times before.

Mr. Punk Rock: “Are you from the Shore?”
Me: “No.”
Mr. Punk Rock: “So how do you know so much about Asbury?”
Me: “Um, Springsteen.”
Mr. Punk Rock: “Oh.” *beat* “That’s cool. Bruce is all right.”

I never saw a disconnect between liking Bruce and liking the Clash, just like I thought it was the most divinely perfect pairing in the world when the Clash opened for the Who later that year. (I was very much in the minority, I learned, while waiting on line to buy my tickets for Shea Stadium.) And I always did wonder if Bruce didn’t somehow see at least one of these Clash shows at Convention Hall. 1982 was one of the summers he was running up and down the Shore, turning up to play with whoever struck his fancy – hell, he was even at Big Man’s West in Red Bank on the night of the first show (thank you, Brucebase).

(Well, I can dream, can’t I?)

Wow. Huge blast of memories there, which I hadn’t planned on.

The photo originally came from Creem, but I have no idea who the photographer was (if you do, please let me know).

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One Response to “clash city rockers on the boardwalk”

  1. rlv says:

    Holy CRAP, that’s fantastic! I know you mentioned that pic in the past, so I’m glad you found it.