The Rising: Channeling ‘The Boss’
Sometimes it seems some things were just meant to be.
That’s the case with how Tom Viterino came to be the front man for The Rising, the Bruce Springsteen tribute band set to play at The Paramount this Friday, Sept. 13. Vitorino, a music manager who years ago played with his own band, is a longtime – nearly lifetime – Springsteen fan who happens to sound like “the boss.” Viterino tells of how he was sound-checking at Springsteen haunt The Stone Pony when owner Dominic Fantana came in and asked if Bruce was in the house.
“I said no,” Viterino said. “He said, ‘You sound like him. You should do that.’”
Though he never thought he’d find himself fronting a tribute band, Viterino ran with it and put together The Rising, named after Springsteen’s post 9/11 album released in 2002.
The seven-member band comes complete with its own Clarence Clemons, saxophonist/vocalist Bobby Holley, whom Viterino says he met on a bathroom break when someone came in and joked, “Bruce, Clarence, you’re on.”
Viterino said the band strives for authenticity and concentrates less on reproducing Springsteen’s sound, and more on recreating the Springsteen concert experience.
“We go not for the look so much but for the sound,” he said. “The look is not important. I don’t try to look like Springsteen. You don’t go to a show to watch – you go to listen.”
For the Paramount show, they have an authentic baby grand piano and Hammond organ contributing to the authenticity.
With or without the band, the front man plays the key role, and Viterino said he takes his cues from the boss himself.
“Some artists really break through because of the live performance and he [Springsteen] is one of them. I’ve seen him probably over 60 times and every show is different,” Viterino said. “Just like Springsteen does, people will bring signs with songs written on them, and we’ll play what the audience wants to hear. We play everything from Springsteen’s career, but to me it’s about what the audience wants to hear. It’s about being in the moment.”
The Rising brings the full catalog of Springsteen songs, spanning nearly five decades, from “Greetings From Asbury Park” through Springsteen’s 2012 release “Wrecking Ball”. They call themselves “a brotherhood of friends” that, much like Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, take the stage more like a gang, than a band.
Friday’s gig is the band’s first appearance at The Paramount, and Viterino said he’s looking forward to it.
“Whenever you have an opportunity to support a local venue it’s a good thing,” he said. “Those guys put their money and their hearts in it.”
Tickets for The Rising at The Paramount range from $15 to $25. Visit the box office at 370 New York Ave., Huntington, or go to paramountny.com.