When Bruce Springsteen comes back to his old stomping grounds, his fans take notice.
Among the thousands who gathered this morning in Asbury Park, N. J., were Jennifer McCabe and Jennifer Cameli, who lined up for Springsteen's free concert for "Good Morning America."
Fans gathered as early as 5 a.m., forming lines spanning the entire length of the boardwalk before they were admitted to the Convention Hall a little before 7 a.m.
"I am a total Bruce head. ... I even named my dog Clarence Clemens," said McCabe, referring to Springsteen's longtime sax player, who is not performing in the current band.
"To me there was a little bit of sadness not seeing the real Clarence strolling in the background playing the sax, especially here at Convention Hall," she said. "But let me tell you something, Bruce is always, always great. This music was fantastic."
For his current record and tour, the venerable rocker eschews his E Street bandmates for a raucous folk and soul-flavored ensemble. Springsteen's new CD consists of folk standard covers popularized by singer Pete Seeger.
McCabe's friend Jennifer Cameli, who also grew up on the Jersey Shore, said she didn't know much about the concert beforehand but figured it was worth the trip from across the Hudson River.
"I drove down from Brooklyn last night and thought, 'I don't know if it's going to be one song or how this new music was going to sound.'" Cameli said that between the two of them, they've seen close to 40 concerts, but this was their first 7 a.m. show. How did they like Springsteen's new musical direction?
"It was truly great. I loved the new sound," Cameli said. "I missed not hearing the Bruce standards, but it was free and it was definitely worth the trip. He is just such a great entertainer."
The Bruce Springsteen concert will be rebroadcast on "Good Morning America" Saturday, April 29, 2006.