A Bridge not far enough

It’s said the first rule of show business is to “leave them wanting more.”
The reunited 8th Street Bridge didn’t just adhere to that rule last Saturday night, it was the rule.
The legendary local rock band, arguably the best in the region for a good ten years through the ’60s and ’70s, performed once again at the River Street Jazz Cafe and in doing so, wiped out four decades of growing old for a few hundred of us Baby Boomers. From 8 to 11:45 p.m. we were all kids again. And we did not want the feeling to end.
About the only downside of the night (other than it having to end), I joked, was that when you mix a good deal of beer with a hundred or two 60-year-old prostates, you’re gonna get damn long lines at the men’s room. But it was a small price to pay for where the night took us.
The flawlessly performed music was no surprise. With Bill Space on the stage we expected no less. But the atmosphere, the beautiful sense of brotherhood throughout the room, was something no one fully anticipated. It was a room full of joy. When the boys broke into The Youngbloods’ “Get Together,” with its refrain “C’mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now,” they might as well have been playing an anthem for the gathering.
From the two full tables, 20 people strong, of St. John’s High Class of ’73 grads who remember the Bridge from their high school dances, to the table of West Siders who introduced themselves to me with “Yep, we’re all Space Cadets,” to Regina Mattei, widow of Butchie Mattei, founder of the band so long ago, there was not a soul there who would have chosen to be anywhere else.
Bill Space brought together former bandmates Dave “Steve-o” Steve on drums and Carl Belcastro on bass and added the enormously talented Karl Metzger on lead guitar and most of the vocals and all I can say is I’m so grateful he did. We all were.
There is much more to say and I suspect my colleague Jack Smiles, who goes back to the beginning with Space, will say it in this week’s Greater Pittston Progress. Don’t miss it.

Ed Ackerman