The “Come Together: Jon Bon Jovi & Friends” benefit concert was organized by the Long Branch Police Department, The Asbury Park Press, and FPI Concerts, along with Jon Bon Jovi. The concert was to honor slain Long Branch police officer Sgt. Patrick King and raise money for the Sgt. Patrick King Memorial Fund to provide for his family. King, 45-year-old father of two young boys, was fatally shot on 20 Nov 1997 by a fugitive who had vowed to kill himself and a police officer rather than be captured and returned to jail.
Twenty musicians with ties to the Jersey shore music scene answered Jon Bon Jovi’s call, including Bruce Springsteen and several members of the then-disbanded E Street Band (Clarence Clemons, Danni Frederici, Patti Scialfa, Steven Van Zandt, and Max Weinberg), Southside Johnny, Bobby Bandiera, and Richie Sambora among others. Actor Danny DeVito was the event’s MC. Tickets, which were priced at $125, went on sale on 17 Jan 1998 noon and sold out in just eight minutes. The concert that was organized in short order raised more than $112,000 for King’s widow and his two sons.
"It was a chance to forget about [the murder] a little bit," Long Branch police Sgt. Bruce Johantgen, one of about 50 city police officers who attended the show, told The Asbury Park Press. “The outpouring of love from the performers to the audience was unbelievable”. Johantgen said he found it ironic that Bon Jovi and other performers thanked the audience for coming to the sold-out show. “From the police perspective, I kept thinking, ‘We should be thanking you for giving your time’,” Johantgen said.
This was a near-reunion of the fabled E Street Band and Springsteen’s first full-length electric gig following the acoustic The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour. Springsteen spent much (or possibly all) of the night onstage, singing or playing guitar only.