Fans, artists bond as Bamboozle weekend attracts nearly 100k to Meadowlands
EAST RUTHERFORD — Just before the thunderous conclusion of "Great Expectations," Brian Fallon raised a tattooed arm to the East Rutherford sky and pumped the night air twice. In the midst of a song of despair, it was a gesture of victory, made in a parking lot in front of thousands of enthusiastic supporters. Behind him, New Meadowlands Stadium was bathed in white light.
For a moment, it was possible to imagine that the stadium had been built just for him — that the organizers of the Bamboozle festival had placed it there to provide a suitably monumental backdrop for his stories of lost love, reluctant adulthood and growing up on the hard tarmac of the Jersey streets.
If any band ought to be playing in this setting, Fallon’s group, the Gaslight Anthem, is that band. His writing is illuminated by headlights. He sings about the backseats of burned-out cars, diners on the highway, and waiting on traffic signals. Bamboozle founder John D’Esposito took an educated gamble on the New Brunswick-based band, which has never had a platinum album or a hit single, giving it a co-headlining slot on Saturday. He was rewarded with a performance that was something like the festival itself: alternately overawed and celebratory; a homecoming; a love letter to New Jersey.