WARREN - Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes came from New Jersey to perform Saturday at the Warren Community Amphitheatre, but band members weren't the only travelers there.
Saturday's concert brought folks from as far as away as California and Canada to see the Jersey rockers.
Ian Ward and Jacqui Taylor, who made the trip from Simcoe, Ontario, said it was their seventh time seeing the Jukes since they started dating four and a half years ago.
"He doesn't come to Canada often enough, so I looked on his website and saw Warren, Ohio, and we decided, 'We're going there,''' Ward said.
Meanwhile, Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum selling act Mumford and Sons was playing in their hometown in Canada on Saturday.
"We gave that up to come here to see Southside Johnny," he said.
Southside Johnny Lyon, left, points to the camera for an informal photo Saturday evening with Donna Brothers of Greene during the VIP meet-and-greet before the start of the show at the Warren Community Amphitheatre in Warren. Photo by R. Michael Semple
They spent the day at the National Packard Museum and have been checking out other sites while staying in the city.
"We love Warren, Ohio," Taylor said. "We'll be back again even if there is no Southside."
The Jukes - best known for such songs as "Talk to Me," "Fever," "Hearts of Stone," "I Don't Want to Go Home" and "Trapped Again" - brought several first-time visitors to Warren.
Bob Sciullo and Jessica Huddart came from Pittsburgh.
"It was an opportunity to introduce her to his music, and it's a beautiful place,'' Sciullo said.
"It's a really nice venue," Huddart added. "I thought we were going to a place like (First Niagara Pavilion at) Star Lake, and this is so much nicer."
Stephanie Sferra of the Trumbull County Convention and Visitors Bureau said tourist information was included in all of the ticket orders that were mailed out.
"We've heard from a lot of people from out of town," Sferra said. "They're going to dinner before, maybe going to the Shoe afterward. That's all economic impact. It trickles down to everybody."
Those who purchased the $100 gold VIP tickets got a meet-and-greet with lead singer and founder Southside Johnny Lyon, who joked with fans as he signed autographs and posed for pictures.
Rick Brothers of Warren was there with his sister, Donna Brothers of Greene, and he told Lyon that he turned his sister onto the Jukes' music in 1977.
"And you ruined her life," Lyon said.
David Sabolsky, a Cleveland native who now lives in Champion, told Lyon he's seen the band more than 30 times, dating back to the late '70s at the original Cleveland Agora.
Scott Carr of Leavittsburg said he first saw the Jukes in the late '70s at Richfield Coliseum with the J. Geils Band.
"I just like their sound and their style of music, the horns,'' Carr said.
Tony Ball of Hubbard said he made his first trip the amphitheater a few weeks ago for the Tom Petty tribute band Full Moon Fever and he definitely plans to come back.
"I like the outside venue, the price is right," Ball said. "We just live in Hubbard, so it's not like going to Cleveland or Pittsburgh. It's a short drive home."
Patrick Demski lives in Leavittsburg, but Saturday was his first trip to the amphitheater; it won't be his last either.
"I love it here,'' Demski said. "The acoustics are great."
Also great was the weather. Fans filled the main bowl under a sunny cloudless sky while listening to opening act The Mainstreet Lions.
"It's unbelievable," said Marty Cohen, cofounder of Sunrise Entertainment, the promoters of the River Rock at the Amp concert series. "This summer has been somewhat checkered with the weather. This was the show we needed to have good weather for. The gods were in our favor."