2024 – Tommy James at bergenPAC, Englewood, NJ 1-27-24

……………………………………(ignore April 30, 2017 publish date – this was published on February 22, 2024)


So I’m a little late……..I’ve been busy.


But I shot the show! That’s something I haven’t done in 4 years, when I photographed………….let’s see………….who was that?

Oh yeah – the same artist at the same venue!


What can I say? It’s a comfortable situation with a great band that has a great manager (Carol Ross) who used to give me photo passes for KISS and other bands in the mid-70s – almost 50 years ago!

Add to that the fact that my friend, Eric Leefe – whom I’ve written about extensively in this blog – has been friends with Tommy for a very long time because his father – with the odd name of Bob Leefe – was a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame recording engineer at RCA, who not only recorded Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” and countless other huge hits for many rock luminaries from back in the day, but also produced many of Tommy’s hits.

Here’s Tommy onstage:


Eric and I arranged with Carol to be at this show – just like we did 4 years ago. Also included was Eric’s friend John Auli, who made a TREMENDOUS effort to get Eric there.

As you may recall, Eric’s been in a wheelchair his entire life with cerebral palsy and now lives in an assisted care facility in Toms River, NJ – about 80 miles south of here.

John rented a wheelchair van up here, then drove down the shore to pick up Eric in Toms River, then back up here to pick me up in Hackensack and then drove a couple of miles east to the show in Englewood (and reversed the whole process after the show). It was quite an admirable effort…………….so much so that I’m putting up a photo of the two of them before I get to more Tommy:

That was taken onstage AFTER the show (does that make Tommy their opening act?).


Now let’s back up to before and during the show.

There was a very helpful female security person stationed up front by the corner of the stage. When she saw me kneeling down at the front of a nearby aisle, she asked if I’d prefer to shoot from her perfect-for-shooting-Tommy position.

“Thank you!”

Consequently, I have 90 bazillion shots of Tommy (and a few of the Shondells). I’m not a big fan of most of the shots I see of Tommy, so I wanted to take a lot to have some good ones.

Here’s the next one (T2):


But because the angle was always the same, it makes no sense to show them all together at once, so I’m alternating each Tommy performance shot with shots I took before the show backstage, in the wings, etc.

Timeline-wise, it’s a little disjointed, but it beats the undiluted Tommy barrage.


When we first got into Tommy’s crowded dressing room, we had to ask a lot of people to move so we could get Eric’s wheelchair next to Tommy. So what does Eric do when we finally get there? See for yourself:


T3 (with Jonathan Ashe):



Tommy doesn’t appreciate Eric’s looking away on their first shot together:




Tommy’s son – Brian Jackson (also a friend of Eric’s) – joins the party and for once, no one is looking elsewhere or getting strangled:






Tommy and Jonathan:


It’s time for Tommy to get dressed for the show, so people split up into other dressing rooms (there was no opening act this night). Eric and I wound up in this room with Dave Kapulsky (“Dave the Rave”, the singles meister on Tommy’s “Getting Together” Sirius/XM Radio show [60s GOLD channel] on Sunday evenings from 5-8pm) and Sandy Hicks, a good friend of Carol.

Dave and I had some fun discussing a single I have.

BTW -this is a PANO shot, so click to fully enlarge. If you look closely, you can see me in the mirror (black cap with something red in front of my face – my iPhone panning the room to make this image).




Eric, Carol and Tommy in the wings as Tommy is about to hit the stage:




Tommy – seconds before strolling out onto the stage to great applause (that’s Eric’s head in the foreground):


Guitarist John Golden:




Still in the wings – this was my only chance to get Mike DiMeo on the Hammond synth (near left):


Unfortunately, he was cut out of this shot that included everyone else:

Shooting from the wings is pretty limiting…………..time to head out into the house.




Out of the wings: The front 3




John Golden:


Tommy points out who the photographer is:


My only closeup of drummer Glenn Wyka (I wish I had a better shooting angle for him)




John, Tommy and Jonathan:


Almost all of these performance shots were taken with my little pocket Canon. The one exception is this (almost) whole house and stage PANO that I took with my iPhone:

There were some alternating lights flashing and as I panned from left to right, some parts of the orchestra seats were illuminated while others were not.

If you look at the lighting above the stage, some of it is red and some is black. The red turned off about 1/3 of my pan across the stage (I think). I have no other explanation for the strange delineation.

Although no balcony audience was illuminated, I’m glad that at least part of the front of it was. It gives it a bit more of a full-house look.




Time for Tommy’s jaunt through the audience for selfies on the left side and signatures on the right side, where he ran back up onto the stage:


Tommy wraps up the show by handing his pick to a very happy young woman (too bad there was no light on her):


So that’s it – another great TJ & the Shondells show. I hope I don’t have to wait another 4 years to do it again.

Because John Auli had a long ride to get Eric home, we left soon after. I don’t know what – if anything – we missed out on, so I’m going to add a bonus picture that has nothing to do with this show.


When I met Tommy 4 years ago at a Barnes & Noble in-store autograph session and then shot his subsequent bergenPac show, I was sure that was the first time I had ever photographed him.

But a few months later, as I was going through my archive researching something else, I came across a picture I had taken at the Hard Rock Café in Manhattan on June 2, 1987:

It was taken at a Turtles press conference for some occasion I don’t recall (maybe a “Happy Together” tour”?). Flo & Eddie (Mark & Howard) are shown with Tommy. I’m not sure why TJ was there, but if you think that’s strange, someone else I photographed there was New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms (WTF?).

You think I’m kidding? Here he is holding a Turtles jacket at that event:


ANYway………..it was nice to find a good shot of Tommy from 37 years ago.


And finally…………this has absolutely NOTHING to do with anything, but I saw something recently that made me chuckle:

Maybe if you sing all 5 words out loud, you will too.


See ya.



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