By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
He’s Bruce Springsteen’s longtime drummer in the E Street Band, Conan O’Brien’s former bandleader and now he is bringing his four-piece band to downtown Delray Beach for an electrifying experience.
Catch Max Weinberg’s Jukebox at 8 p.m. on April 11 at the Crest Theatre at Old School Square.
“It’s not simply a concert,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Max Weinberg said. “It’s a party.”
The set list for the 90 minute concert is completed composed of the audience’s choices. Projected on a video screen will be a rolling list of about 350 songs to choose from. Hits from The Beatles and Rolling Stones to Steppenwolf and Elvis. And yes, of course there are a selection of Springsteen songs sprinkled in.
They are the go-to songs played at Bar Mitzvahs and weddings. The ones that made the Top 40 charts for several weeks and you love to sing along to in the car.
“These are the songs that we grew up with and learned how to play with by listening, enjoying, and then analyzing what made them great,” Weinberg said. “They’re all hits. In my Jukebox show there’s nothing but hits.”
He is joined on stage by New Jersey and New York area musicians Bob Burger, Glen Burtnik and John Merjave. When they aren’t on tour with Weinberg, they are in their own group, The Weeklings— a Beatles tribute band.
Weinberg started the Jukebox concert concept two years ago. He was booked to play a show in Evanston, just outside of Chicago, when he and his manager decided to try something different and ask the audience what they wanted to hear.
“The crowd went wild,” he said.
Since then, there have been more than 120 Jukebox performances. No two shows are alike and the group plays songs without much practice, he said.
“These songs and the inspiration they gave us are essential to our musical DNA,” he said. “We respect the songs, the arrangements and the ‘feel.’ That’s what makes the material so special.”
Keeping tunes of the 60s and 70s alive, Weinberg shares with the audience why the songs are meaningful to him during the show. He is the frontman of the act, even though he isn’t singing.
The performance is intimate and personal. Concertgoers can expect to see Weinberg in the crowd, up in the balcony and coming down the aisles asking for requests.
The tour made a stop at the Arts Garage last year where it sold out two nights and was a benefit for the nonprofit arts venue.
“I have a blast,” Weinberg said. “When I play my drums I feel like a 12 year old again.”
He also enjoys playing close to home. Weinberg is a Delray resident. He and his wife stumbled upon the city while staying at a local hotel while on tour with Springsteen many years ago.
He said he always liked Florida, and recalls countless trips to the Orlando theme parks when his kids were young, but really only knew the Fort Lauderdale airport, Miami Beach, and Palm Beach.
His first Florida engagement was in 1971 at the old Scene South night club, which was demolished to make room for the Fort Lauderdale airport extension.
When his wife, Becky, grew tired of the long New Jersey winters, they bought a condo in Palm Beach. And when they outgrew that place, they moved full time to Delray.
They like the small town feel and the local downtown stores. He picks up his newspapers from Nancy at Delray News and likes shopping at the mom-and-pop shops.
And while he isn’t sure when he will be touring with The Boss again, he has a full schedule with this tour and other performances like sitting in with The Buddy Rich Orchestra in New York City on April 7.
It isn’t surprising that he isn’t ready to slow down. He did manage to swing performing with Springsteen and the E Street Band and lead the band on the late night shows simultaneously between 1999 and 2009.
“I love playing for a live audience,” Weinberg said. “At the age of 68 sitting in my house and practicing on a drum pad isn’t going to happen,” he laughs.
For tickets and meet and greet packages, visit https://oldschoolsquare.org
More Max Beats
- Max Weinberg’s son, Jay, is the drummer for Slipknot
- His daughter Ali Rogin recently joined PBS NewsHour as a foreign affairs producer/correspondent
- He’s performed with Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, BB King, James Brown, Sting, and many others but the one musician he wishes he had the chance to play with was John Lennon
- Among his most memorable performances with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band was in East Berlin in 1988.
- His drummer idol is the late Hal Blaine
- He and Becky are known to grab a cocktail at Caffe Luna Rosa