SoulShine LIVE! in Seaside Heights, NJ
Colors paint the blue sky this Thursday, August 25, 20222 evening in Seaside Heights, NJ as music lovers await a free concert on the beach by SoulShine. SoulShine is a New York-based ensemble that provides listeners with the experience of attending a live concert by the classic Southern rock group, The Allman Brothers Band.
Following the announcement, “Presenting SoulShine, The Allman Brothers Experience!” the musicians of Soulshine — rhythm guitarist/vocalist Geoff Hartwell, lead guitarist Norm Dodge, keyboardist/vocalist Chris Burke, bassist Big Bob Goetz, and drummers Rob Wallis and Ron Negro — take the stage.
Opening with “Statesboro Blues,” organist Chris Burke soulfully sings, “Wake up momma/Turn your lamp down low,” before Geoff Hartwell and Norm Dodge wail on their guitars and Big Bob Goetz’s bass rocks to the beat.
Toes tap in the sand and music lovers dance in front of the stage before the crowd reacts with whistles, cheers, and applause.
Drummer Rob Wallis smiles as he and percussion partner Ron Negro lay down the beat on the Allman Brothers’ country rocker, “Blue Sky.”
Following enthusiastic applause, Geoff Hartwell greets the crowd asking, “How you guys doing?” before joking,” It’s legal to sing and dance!” and declaring, “We love this place! Thank you for coming and hanging out with us!”
Hartwell sings lead on the country-rock ballad, “Sweet Melissa.” With his clear, resonant voice he croons, “Crossroads, seem to come and go” as the sky intensifies in shades of pink behind him.
Music lovers on the beach applaud when they recognize the introduction to “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More.” Chris Burke handles the lead as he soulfully sings, “With the help of God and true friends, I’ve come to realize/I still have two strong legs, and even wings to fly,” before Norm Dodge electrifies the crowd with a guitar solo.
Following the lesser-known Allman Brothers’ tune, “No One to Run With,” a highlight of SoulShine’s set tonight is the group’s interpretation of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” Guitars harmonize in sync to the smooth Latin-like intro on this instrumental number before the band pushes up the tempo as if to accompany the speed of the rides on Casino Pier behind the stage.
The crowd cheers for Chris Burke’s swirling and percussive Hammond organ solo and a double drum solo which has Rob Wallis and Ron Negro communicating in a rhythmic language all their own.
Norm Dodge exclaims, “It’s great to see you guys — you look terrific — and what a beautiful night!” before he and the band segue into “Revival.” Music lovers in the sand join in singing with the band on the song’s universal “People can you feel it/Love is everywhere” message.
The crowd vibes to SoulShine’s rendition of “Southbound,” a funky Allman Brothers’ number which features Chris Burke channeling vocalist Gregg Allman as he cries, “Well I’m Southbound/Lord I’m comin’ home to you.” Audience members dance in front of the stage to the funky rhythm before responding with avid cheers and applause.
The free-flowing Southern rock instrumental, “Jessica,” is up next where Geoff Hartwell and Norm Dodge play their guitars in harmony under the spotlights. Burke performs an expressive honky-tonk piano solo before joining the rhythm section playing both piano and Hammond organ simultaneously with textbook precision.
Norm Dodge looks out at the large crowd by the sea and declares, “You have no idea how cool you look out there right now!” before he and the band launch into “Dreams.”
Hartwell sings lead, Dodge plays a slide guitar solo, and Big Bob Goetz plays his bass downstage by the guitarists as they contrast and compliment one another on this mystical composition.
Four-part harmonies ring out on “Midnight Rider” as the musicians soulfully cry out, “I’ve got one more silver dollar.” The crowd joins in singing the well-known “Not gonna let ’em catch the midnight rider” refrain before Dodge dazzles with a solo on his golden Les Paul.
The band members perform their namesake Allman Brothers’ song, “Soul Shine,” and music lovers join in them in singing the song’s catchy “Soul shine/It’s better than sunshine/It’s better than moonshine/Damn sure better than rain” chorus.
Concertgoers in the sand cheer when they recognize the bouncy guitar intro to “Ramblin’ Man.”
The beach crowd happily sings along with Hartwell on the famous “Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man” chorus of this number which was The Allman Brothers’ first and only Top 10 single.
To conclude their set, the SoulShine musicians perform their version of “One Way Out,” where Burke’s bluesy voice carries the lead before he slaps the keys of his organ while soloing and audience members dance and sing along before standing and cheering in the sand.
For an encore, the group performs a spot-on rendition of The Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post.” Audience members sing and dance beside the waves to the soulful “Sometimes I feel/Sometimes I feel/Like I’ve been tied to the whippin’ post” chorus. With music lovers still standing and cheering on the beach, the members of SoulShine say goodnight by announcing, “Take care of each other and take care of yourselves. We love you!”