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10 big Jersey New Year’s Eve parties: The science of the countdown with Southside Johnny

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After decades of playing the night, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes have this New Year’s Eve thing down to a science.

Well, actually, there’s no science involved, said Southside Johnny Lyon.

“I’ve tried all sorts of different things and I’ve found the thing that works the best for us is play the songs we know they want to hear, have fun, interact with the audience, and just let it be a night of fun and joy and hope for the next year,” Southside said. “Forget our troubles for that moment.” 

Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians have nothing on Southside and the Jukes. This is their 19th New Year’s Eve show in the last 20 years at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank.

More: The year in music: The 12 best Jersey songs of 2018

“If we’re in the middle of a song and it’s time to count down, we’ll just count down, do ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ ‘Having a Party,’  and then maybe go back onto the song we stopped, or go and and do a another song,” Southside said. “My audience is so loose and open to that stuff that I have no fear of just going with the moment.”

The Jukes’ hits include “Talk to Me,” “All I Want Is Everything,” “Hearts of Stone,” “Trapped Again,” “I Don’t Want to Go Home” and “It’s Been a Long Time.”

As we turn the page on 2018, 2019 will be a busy year for Southside and band. They guys are going to be on the road, including Europe, and expect to release new album in the new year, Southside said.

 “I’d rather work than not work,” said Southside, who just turned 70. “I thought, ‘Gee, maybe I should slow down.’ But I think next year we’re going to try to pivot just as hard as we can.”

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes with  Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son, 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre at Count Basie Center for the Arts, 99 Monmouth St., Red Bank. $39 to $990. thebasie.org.

From Asbury With Love

Spies on the boardwalk? Femme fatales in the arcade?

Yup, it’s all part of the “From Asbury With Love” New Year’s Eve party inside the Grand Arcade at Convention Hall in Asbury Park. The soiree is a black-tie affair where attendees are encouraged to dress as their favorite characters from James Bond films, from a Bond girl, a villain or 007 himself. Nix the toy guns or weapon props, organizers say, but we do imagine an Aston Martin will be OK. 

Frankie Perez is the MC and DJs Atom Worth and Mike Merrell will spin the beats — “Secret Agent Man,” anyone?

 “From Asbury With Love,” 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 31, Grand Arcade of Convention Hall, Boardwalk, Asbury Park. $120 to $225 (includes open bar, excluding shots; must be purchased in advance).  apboardwalk.com.

A Gothy New Year’s Eve 

Creatures of the night, what music they make, said a fella named Dracula. 

QXT’s in Newark, near the Prudential Center, has been the go-to spot for Jersey Goth rock devotees for the last few decades. They do the holidays  in a big way, and on Monday they’re open until 5 a.m. for a New Year’s Eve party. There’s three rooms with a mix of ‘80s, Goth, industrial and more, with DJs Mindsolvent, Damian Plague, Mykill Plague, Luna, TM5, CelestialFire, Victrola, Reinhold and Eva Dark Soul.

Black dress is preferred.

New Year’s Eve at QXT’s, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., QXT’s, 248 Mulberry St., Newark. $15 in advance/$20 at the door. www.facebook.com/QXTSNJ

New Year’s Eve on the boardwalk 

Looking for a couple of shows that are heavy on the beats and light on the wallet? Des and the Swagmatics and Chris Rockwell and friends are playing free of charge at the Langosta Lounge and the Asbury Park Yacht Club on the boardwalk in Asbury Park on Monday.

More: Top 10 biggest New Jersey entertainment stories of 2018

Des and the Swagmatics are bringing their funk party back to Langosta starting at 11 p.m. and at the adjacent Yacht Cub, it’s Chris Rockwell’s “New Year for the Culture” hip-hop and more show, at 10 p.m.   

Want to keep the party going? PJ Rasmussen jazzes up Langosta 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day. 

Des and the Swagmatics and Chris Rockwell 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, Langosta Lounge and Asbury Park Yacht Club, boardwalk, Asbury Park. Free. langostalounge.com.
 

Salute to Vienna 

Start with the spirit of Vienna’s world famous “Neujahrskonzert,” add a good helping of the music of Strauss, make sure to be generous with the 75-member live orchestra and dancers, and what you have is a new New Brunswick tradition.

The annual “Salute to Vienna” concert is once again set for New Year’s Eve at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. “Neujahrskonzert” is German for New Year’s Eve, and the concert highlights many of Johann Strauss II’s late Vienna classics.

Party into the New Year, Viennese style. 

Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert, 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, State Theatre, 15 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick. $55 to $125. www.stnj.org.  

A Love Train in Atlantic City  

Get on the “Love Train” this New Year’s Eve.

Yes you can as the O’Jays are playing the Etess Arena in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on Monday with the Commodores. They’re originally from Ohio but they’re mostly associated with The Sound of Philadelphia thanks to Gamble and Huff classics like “I Love Music,” “Back Stabbers,” and, of course, “Love Train.”

The O’Jays and the Commodores, 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Boardwalk, Atlantic City. $55 to $75. www.hardrockhotelatlanticcity.com.   

First Night in Morristown 

First Night — it’s what Morris County does for New Year’s Eve, organizers say. 

There will be more than 70 events in 23 venues  within walking distance of the Morristown Green for First Night Morris County. The evening features the jams of the John Ginty Band; rock from the Cobra Brothers; jazz with Rio Clemente; Spook Handy’s tribute to Pete Seeger; magic with Mr. Fish; David Darwin from “American’s Got Talent”; the reggae of Random Test; plus comedians, art looks, kids stuff, free shuttles, fireworks shows at 9:45 p.m. and midnight, and more.

Did we say there’s a lot to choose from? It’s all-ages and alcohol free, too. 

First Night Morris County, 4:45 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, Mayo Performing Arts Center, 100 South St., Morristown; $20 to $70. firstnightmorris.com.

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Funny stuff on the highway

Joe DeVito is a “famous comedian” — just ask him. He has a broad appeal, too, as he’s turned up on both CNN and Fox. Now DeVito is headed to the Bananas Comedy Club at the Hasbrouck Heights Holiday Inn on Route 17 for New Year’s Eve. He’s playing two shows, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., and there are $50 dinner specials at Gabriel’s Grille and Bar inside the hotel — and special New Year’s Eve rates for the hotel.

Joe DeVito, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 31, Bananas Comedy Club at the Hasbrouck Heights Holiday Inn, 283 Route 17 south, Hasbrouck Heights. $35 to $59. www.bananascomedyclub.com.

A ‘90s New Year

Break out the flannels and butterfly clips, the ‘90s are back. 

Asbury Park’s Dark City Entertainment is presenting Another ‘90s New Year’s at the city’s Stone Pony. It’s where the best of local bands pay tribute to ‘90s music stars.  Levy The Oaks are Oasis; the Black Suburbia Music Group is the Wu Tang Clan; Dentist is The Cranberries; Natalie Farrell transforms into  Alanis Morissette; and Avery Mandeville is Neutral Milk Hotel.

Cell phones are optional. 

Another ‘90s New Year, 8 p.m. Monday,  Dec. 31, Stone Pony, 913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park. $18. www.stoneponyonline.com.

A Cosmic New Year’s Eve 

The music of the Grateful Dead is alive and well. Surviving members  Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann are touring this summer as Dead and Company, and tribute acts like Dark Star Orchestra keep the jam alive. The Chicago-based DSO have two shows coming up at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, including one on Monday. They’re calling it a Cosmic New Year’s Eve. 

Dark Star Orchestra, 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30 and Monday, Dec. 31, Wellmont Theatre, 5 Seymour St., Montclair. $28 to $99. wellmonttheater.com.  

Chris Jordan: cjordan@app.com. Twittter: @chrisfhjordan