WILDWOOD — Some music fans appreciated the addition of the beach concert Friday featuring classic rockers Eddie Money and Foghat to the 21st annual Roar to the Shore.
The last time the number of people were counted, Roar to the Shore, one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the Northeast, was said to bring in 75,000 people over a three-day weekend, said Ben Rose, director of marketing and public relations, Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority.
Although the concert was a separate event and not expected to attract nearly as many people, it was booked to be a complementary attraction, as most motorcycle rallies also offer famous live music acts.
Besides Foghat and Eddie Money, the concert’s first performers were Dead Fish Handshake, a New Jersey rock band, and the Michael Allman Band. Allman is the oldest son of the late Gregg Allman, one of the founding members of the Allman Brothers Band.
Donald Collins, of Toms River, and his girlfriend, Sharon Wheeler, of Little Egg Harbor Township, were the first in line Friday and started standing in the general admission section at 3 p.m., two hours before the gates opened.
Collins, 57, called himself a “rail rider,” who loves to be in the front row, if possible, when he sees live music. He said he only came into town for the beach concert.
Collins was wearing the T-short of his favorite band, Gov’t Mule, which is led by guitarist Warren Haynes, formerly of The Allman Brothers Band. He attends concerts with signs that read, “Set List Please,” “Toss Your Picks Here” and “Thank You.”
“This is not the first time I have done this. … I’ve been in the front at many shows,” Collins said. “I went to over 20 shows last year. Out of the 20, 10 of them I won over the radio, and half of them were meet and greets.”
Collins had his picture taken with Allman a couple of months ago in Asbury Park, Monmouth County. He met the members of Foghat a couple of years ago at the Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, Middlesex County, but he had never seen Money live.
For Andrew Patzner Jr. and Margaret Swan-Myers, both of Galloway Township, the 1970s British rock band Foghat was the reason to come to the concert. They were each wearing Foghat T-shirts. They attended Roar to the Shore last year, but it is doubtful that they would have come this year without the concert.
Swan-Myers knows the longtime Foghat bassist Craig “Thunder Fingers” MacGregor, who has not played with them live since 1975 due to the effects of chemotherapy. She said she sang their most famous song, the 1975 top-20 pop hit “Slow Ride,” on stage with them in De-cember in Pennsylvania.
Swan-Myers saw Foghat live for the first time back in the late 1970s in the New Haven Coliseum in Connecticut. She said Foghat is still worth seeing live even though drummer Roger Earl is the only original member of the band that plays with them live.
“Their music is old time rock ’n’ roll … They (the newer members) hold true to their sound,” said Swan-Myers, 59, who added the four current members are great musicians. “These people have been together for years perfecting their sound.”
Len Kaye, the manager of the Monaco Motel on Ocean Avenue, said he understood what was being attempted by adding a beach concert to the tens of thousands attending Roar of the Shore weekend.
Kaye, 49, said he found out about the concert two weeks ago and has heard the music of Foghat and Money previously.
“It’s got to draw more people because you are going to have motorcycle enthusiasts. You are going to have people who come for the motorcycles and the music, and you are going to have people who just come for the music,” Kaye said.
Udi Hayut, the owner of the Spirit U.S.A. clothing store on the Boardwalk, was skeptical about both the timing of the concert and the musical genre.
Hayut, who did not know about the concert until Friday, said beach shows should be held in July and August to enhance to the crowds that are already there. He also said country music is more popular in South Jersey than classic rock, which he thought was more popular near or in big cities.
“You could bring Kenny Chesney here in February,” said Hayut, who added Chesney’s 2012 beach concert here was one of his best weeks of business during the past 30 years.