October 29, 2016 marked a very special night for the Smithereens, their fans, family and friends, as all four original members played together again for the first time in over a decade to honor the memory of the late Betty Babjak. Bassist Mike Mesaros joined his former bandmates to play a set that included their first album “Especially for You” as well as Smitherens classics and nuggets such as the theme from Batman and "White Castle Blues". During the set, 400 White Castle burgers were delivered and distributed to the band and members of the audience.
Also on the bill was Buzzed Meg, Jim Babjak’s side project (with Dennis Diken, Kurt Reil and Kristin Pinell of The Grip Weeds, and Vince Grogan) as well as Snow Blind featuring Tommy Babjak on drums.
The event was held at the Hungarian-American Citizens Club in Woodbridge NJ, where Jim and Betty Babjak frequented when they first dated. Proceeds from the show went to benefit The Betty Babjak Memorial Fund to establish a scholarship for Rutgers students who have lost a parent to pancreatic cancer.
Thanks to all the fans who came as well as everyone who participated in making the event an unforgettable experience. Please visit the Smithereens Official Facebook Group for Band for fan photos and videos.
Here are some write-ups about the concert:
by Chris Jordan, Asbury Park News
November 1, 2016
"It was an evening of spontaneity and emotion. Fans shook hands and hugged each other and band members embraced fans throughout the night."
by Jay Lustig, New Jersey Arts
October 30, 2016
“The show had so much meaning, on so many different levels, that Babjak’s voice sometimes quivered with emotion when he spoke, and when it came time to say his final thanks and goodbyes, DiNizio broke down in tears.”
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Hungarian-American Citizens Club, Woodbridge, NJ
with special appearance by founding band member Mike Mesaros on bass guitar
featuring Jim Babjak
with Tommy Babjak on drums
Proceeds benefit The Betty Babjak Memorial Fund to establish a scholarship for Rutgers students who have lost a parent to pancreatic cancer.
You are invited to a very special evening of music and memories ESPECIALLY FOR YOU... our friends, fans and family!
Please join us at this iconic venue, which holds cherished memories of Betty for me, our family and friends. In the 1970s, it was here that Betty and I danced, dated and fell in love. Our history together is rooted here. When we married in 1983 our bridal party included Dennis, Mike and Pat as groomsmen. When my brother, Bill and wife Kim celebrated their wedding here in 1988, The Smithereens performed "Only A Memory" for the first time on this very stage!
Over the years, many family gatherings and celebrations brought Betty and I back to this place with our boys. It means a great deal to all of us to gather here again to honor Betty and remember her as our loving wife, mother, relative and friend. I hope you can be with us as we make music and more great memories together.
Thank you all for your continued love and support,
Betty Babjak (1960 - 2016)