By JOHN T. WARD
Dan Laden’s been at the front of the line before when new Bruce Springsteen records have hit the stores.
“It’s hard to explain,” said Laden, who as the owner of Garden State Auto Repair in Little Silver has worked on Springsteen’s cars for 15 years. “It’s a matter of respect for Bruce.”
A sense of spiritual indebtedness was one of several forces that fans said compelled them to show up shortly before midnight in 28-degree weather to buy an album that would still be available the next morning.
“I want to get the Bruce album pretty much before everyone else,” said Diego Allessandro of Old Bridge, who spins records for WMCX at Monmouth University. He also allowed that he’s a “big nerd” who likes being at the forefront of cultural milestones.
But being among other devotees was also part of the draw, he said, when not singing along to the lyrics as ‘Wrecking Ball’ played on the store’s sound system.
“For me, it’s all about community,” Allessandro said. “These are the diehard fans, just like me.”
And Jack’s, fans said, is a shrine of sorts, not only because it is a relic of the age of independent record retailers, but because of its associations with Springsteen. He often shops at the store, and, in April 2001, spent 90 minutes mingling fans at a record-debut event just like this one.
“Who else is going to do this, Sam Goody?” one fan in line asked sarcastically.
“It’s gotta be this one,” said Linda Busichio, who drove up from Wall Township with her 18-year-old daughter and two friends, partly on the hope that Springsteen would show up again. “I wouldn’t want to miss that,” she said.
As of 12:05 a.m., Springsteen had not appeared.