WAYNE, NJ – On what may have been a perfect evening, with humidity low and temperatures around 80 degrees, the Wayne Summer Concert Series kicked off with ‘52nd Street,’ a Billy Joel tribute band. They played on a stage set up on the lawn between the two entrances to Town Hall. Approximately 200 residents set up their folding camp chairs at appropriate distance from each other, spreading out and spilling off the lawn and into the parking lot.  With feet tapping, heads bobbing to the beat and wearing relaxed smiles, people were out of their houses, away from television screens and enjoying live music.

There were many wearing masks, but for the most part, with distancing in place, full faces could be seen smiling and laughing.   

Sherry Tumminello attended most of the concerts last year and told TAPinto that the shows “were very, very enjoyable.” But this event was a little more special. “I’ve been cooped up about as much as anyone, so I’m happy to be out where I feel safe and comfortable and I know the music is going to be good.”

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“It feels good to get out again, Tumminello added. “We’ve been out to the pool, and out with friends a little bit in a safe environment. It’s a little bit of normalcy.”

“I’m excited to just be out with people on a beautiful night listening to good music,” said Frank Ferraro who sat near his brother Gary, talking while they waited for the show to start.

To open the night, Mayor Chris Vergano stepped up to the stage and welcomed the crowd. With a big smile and hands up in the air, he said: “Isn’t it great to be out, again?” This was greeted with enthusiastic applause.  Vergano then thanked Wayne Director of Recreation, Tim Roetman for putting the event together.

Although the concerts are free, residents were asked to bring non-perishable food items as a donation to the Wayne Interfaith Network Food Pantry. Vergano thanked everyone who donated that evening.

Finally, the Mayor pointed out that he got a haircut before introducing the band. “It is my absolute pleasure to introduce the 52nd Street Band,” said Vergano. “Let’s enjoy ourselves!” 

The crowd cheered, but it was likely for the band and not the Mayor’s haircut.

The beautiful evening air filled with the sounds of Billy Joel’s music played by a talented group of six performers. From: ‘Say Goodbye to Hollywood’ to ‘Piano Man,’ the band played for almost two hours straight while Wayne residents watched from their chairs or got up to dance.

It was hot funk, cool punk, even some old junk, but it was still rock and roll to me and everyone else that was there.

Jill Higuera came with her son Jake who will be a Senior at Wayne Hills in the fall. He was wearing a Billy Joel concert t-shirt. The two saw him live at Madison Square Garden last year. “We go to concerts all the time,” she said, turning and smiling at her son. “But, a lot of the outdoor concerts that we were supposed to go to have been canceled, so we are excited to come here.”

The pair had plans to see Alice Cooper, Roger Waters and Def Leppard, but all of these shows are currently canceled, and large venue shows will likely not happen at all and for many months. 

The front lawn of the Wayne Town Hall may be the best live music venue you’ll get to go to this summer.

Next week, on July 1, a Beatles tribute band called ‘London Calling’ will be at Town Hall.  Bring a chair, bring some canned goods for the food pantry and bring your dancing shoes so you can Twist and Shout.