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42 Years After Infamous Bomb Scare Concert, Weinberg Returns With His 'Jukebox'

courtesy Max Weinberg
Drummer Max Weinberg plays in Milwaukee Sunday night.

Forty-two years ago this week, Bruce Springsteen played a concert at the Uptown Theater on Milwaukee’s west side.  The theater is long gone, but that show is remembered by many in Milwaukee, because it was stopped by a bomb scare, and then re-started, hours later.

Max Weinberg remembers it, too, since he was there, playing drums with the E Street Band, a job he landed the previous year - and still holds.  Since that time, he’s also gained fame as the band leader on Conan O’Brien’s late night show, among other prominent gigs. 

"Things were not as organized as they are today," Weinberg recalls.  "One of our guys walked on stage and said, 'Guys, we gotta stop,' and we left."  The band adjourned back to the Pfister Hotel, with plans to return to the stage.

When they got there, a record company party scheduled for after the concert got an early start.  "I remember looking around at the bar," Weinberg continues, "and saying one thing: 'I'd better stay sober for this. We're going to go back on stage, so I'd better not partake in any adult beverages.' I can't say everybody said that." 

Springsteen and the band's return to the stage later that night featured a set that lives on in rock-and-roll - and bootleg recording - history.  "We came back, and it was loose," Weinberg says, "in a good way."

"In our collective memory, that was a big event." 

Bruce Springsteen won't be in town on Sunday evening, but Weinberg will, with a solid cast of musicians, performing "Max Weinberg's Jukebox" at Colectivo's Back Room.  The concert lets audience members choose from several hundred songs that the band will interpret and play on the spot.

"The whole idea is to have a party - it's not really a concert of set material.  Every night is different," he says.  "We approach this music as almost a classical vocabulary, but we go at it from the point of view of having fun with it."

And while Weinberg says the band will be loose, he's hoping for a less eventful concert than the one he played in 42 years ago.

Max Weinberg's Jukebox is on stage at Colectivo's Back Room on Sunday night.

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