‘Working Class Dog’ in Phoenix

Last night I attended my first Rick Springfield concert since the pandemic began, at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.

It was a little bit surreal, like the past 2 1/2 years was a bad dream because how could it be that this type of communal gathering ceased to exist for so long? RS was in full rock-star mode and it was a celebration from the moment the first note played, as RS and the band rocked that revolving stage like no other.

I hadn’t splurged on tickets in the first few rows this time because just days before the show was announced, I had splurged on last-minute Billie Eilish tickets at a local stadium. That particular splurge meant two tickets (one for me and one for my oldest son) way up in the nosebleed section and since each far-away ticket was about the cost of one front-row ticket for RS, I wasn’t able to do that again a few days later. But, I thought, that was OK, it would be enough just being at the concert since it had been so long since I saw him in concert (June 2019). (In case you were wondering, the Billie Eilish show was amazing, even so far from the stage.)

Of course, once I got to Celebrity Theatre last night, I wished I had splurged because although our seats were fine (it’s a fairly small venue), it was a whole different experience from the previous shows when I was near the stage.

It was my husband’s first RS show in awhile – he was at a show years ago with two of our sons (when they sang “Don’t Talk to Strangers” with him), a Stripped Down show in Tucson (when we briefly met RS after the show) and on an overnight in Sahuarita, Ariz., when I kind of left him back in our seats when I found an unoccupied spot by the stage (and we stayed at the same hotel as RS and the band). So he was a good sport to go with me again and he had a great time and was so impressed by how RS and the band rocked from the second the show started.

Display in the Celebrity Theatre’s downstairs lounge

Although it felt more like I was watching the show from afar this time around, I was overwhelmed by a strong sense of gratitude to even be there at all and appreciated all the aspects, from the rose explosions to the lighting and sound. During the pandemic, I wondered if the opportunity would ever return. And yet there they were, RS and all of the band members, surrounded by other fans as excited to be there as I was.

A couple of my favorite moments were hearing “World Start Turning” and being able to sing “Happy Birthday” to him again. In 2018, I was in the very same theater two days before his real birthday (Aug. 23) and it struck me how much the world has changed since we were “together” in that space last. He mentioned how he just finished filming “Gonzo Girl,” a movie with Patricia Arquette and William Dafoe. (During the 2018 concert, he told us that he was going to film an episode of “The Goldbergs” TV show the next day, if that puts things in perspective for anyone.)

RS played third, after John Waite and Men at Work, so the encore came after 11 p.m. I probably shouldn’t confess this here, but since it was a school night/work night, I decided last minute that we should leave during “Jessie’s Girl” because I’ve heard it a gazillion times, saw him perform it live lots of times and remembered that getting out of the parking lot after the Billie Eilish concert took nearly an hour. Plus I knew there was no chance of possibly “running into” RS after the show (although I did briefly run into drummer Jorge in the audience before the Men at Work set) because it was so late. So, ignoring the impulse to stick around for a slim possibility to meet him again (like I did back in 2016 when I was able to get selfie with him before he climbed onto the bus and rode off into the night), we headed out the no-re-entry doors to the parking lot across the street as the pre-Jessie’s Girl video began and were home about 20 minutes later.

Of course it was my loss because, as I learned this morning after the fabulous Rick and the News Flash Facebook fan page posted a beautiful video of that very performance, he returned to the stage shirtless. So even though I missed seeing it live, I was relieved I still got to experience the full concert (and had a better view of the encore then I would have if I stayed in my seat).

When I woke up this morning, I felt a sense of calm. Although last night was another missed opportunity of meeting RS and possibly putting the words together to tell him the impact he’s made on my life, I thought about the dream I had before waking up.

In the dream, I was in a dining room of a house with RS and my husband and a few other people. RS mentioned to the people in the room that I was married to both him and my husband. Even in the dream I felt a little unsure how this would work (both logistically and morally), but was thrilled that he would even say this. I offered to make him tea and he chose a pack of tea leaves from a big colorful box with a brown kangaroo on it. I wasn’t sure how to use his fancy tea infuser so he showed me and I made a cup of tea for both him and my (real-life) husband.

Weird, I know, and I have no idea what that could mean, but as I said, being able to have that encounter with him even only in my dream made me feel peaceful.

Anyway, RS and the band are off for a few more shows of this Working Class Dog tour and then once that’s over, perhaps we’ll hear more about the album he’s been working on!! To all the RS fans headed to upcoming shows – have fun!

Update on Aug. 31
I thought I’d share a video from the Aug. 29 show that I found on YouTube since I initially posted this. Thank you for sharing, you had a much better view than I had!

Time for the living room jam

Although I purchased the 40th anniversary CD/DVD set of “Working Class Dog” when it initially came out in June, I finally got around to watching the DVD of RS and the band performing the album in his living room. Not because I didn’t want to earlier, but because none of our devices have disk drives anymore and we don’t have a DVD player set up so I needed some technical assistance to make it happen.

Now that we’re just about to get started on a really busy time because school has started, I decided today’s the day. I had to watch it in the office/recording studio because that’s where the XBox is and that’s the only device that we have left that plays DVDs.

The XBox setting on the TV is what I use when I use the TV as a monitor for my Mac-Mini when I record my songs. So before I started watching, I needed to find the remote for the TV and the small remote for the device that switches the TV connection between the Mac-Mini and the XBox.

Next I took out the Plants vs. Zombies DVD that was in the XBox, inserted the “Working Class Dog” DVD and was ready for an afternoon living room concert.

However, nothing happened when I used the remote to hit play and learned that I actually needed the XBox controller to watch it. Ugh! Where is the XBox controller?! My 12-year-old said he had one in his room and benevolently ran to his room to retrieve it and even plugged the USB into the console for me. Finally, three remotes and an XBox controller later, I was ready to watch it!

All that rambling is a way to explain that it was well worth the effort.

Random thoughts while watching:

This film really captures the time period so well – with RS and the band members greeting each other after not seeing each other for 13 months due to the pandemic. You really get a sense that in addition to enjoying playing music together, they also genuinely enjoy spending time together.

Since it was filmed in his home, you get to see parts of his house, which was cool.

There were shots of his wife, Barbara, watching the band play, which were really sweet. Especially when you think of their history together – that she was actually working at Studio City when he originally recorded the album there, before they started dating.

The DVD not only shows RS and the band performing “Working Class Dog” in the order the songs appear on the album, there are also shots showing conversations with RS and band members and some interview clips of RS (including one where RS says this is the first time he’s played all the songs from the album since 1981 when he recorded it.)

The band also had a toast before playing “I’ve Done Everything For You,” so he was able to get a product placement in for Beach Bar Rum (the company he owns with Sammy Hagar, who wrote that song). (The toast was “To dogs,” which I’m sure my dogs appreciated, as they were in the room with me while I watched it.)

Kudos to the band for doing such a great job learning and playing all the songs and to RS for remembering all of them after so many years {since he hadn’t played so many of them for decades) and for sounding so good!! The singers sounded great, too.

While I have heard some of the songs live in past concerts, there were some I hadn’t heard before and it was especially cool to hear “Red, Hot and Blue Love.” The performance of “Inside Sylvia” was beautiful, too. (I had heard it live in the solo acoustic show, but that was on a guitar app so it had a different feel.)

RS and the band looked like they were having so much fun performing together – as they do in the live shows. Also included were performances of hits after “Working Class Dog,” too, which are typically included in live shows.

Watching it is also a reminder of the time lost after everything shut down and that feeling of not knowing how long it would last. The last show they played together before filming this was March 7, 2020 (coincidentally exactly 5 years – to the day- after I met him during a meet-and-greet after a concert, which was the first time I had seen him after a 15-year hiatus.) The WCD concert was filmed in RS’s living room in April 2021.

It’s such a relief to know that we are all able to come together again at concerts and it makes me even more excited to see them live in concert later this month!

40 years ago this month

As we await the release of the 40th anniversary special live edition of “Working Class Dog” (on June 17) and the summer tour that starts Aug. 5, I was pondering the fact that it’s been 40 years since I first heard the album.

And then it struck me – my youngest son, who turned 12 earlier this month, is the same age I was when I first became a Rick Springfield fan. What the *#@!&?

None of my sons are obsessed with anyone as I was at that age. Did my parents think it was weird that my walls were plastered with posters of somebody who was 20 years older than me?

My oldest son is a big fan of hip hop and my younger sons have a playlist of music from video games, but there’s nothing that compares to my teenage obsession of my favorite rock star. My kids are much more obsessed with playing online video games with their friends than they are following any particular artist fandom.

I remember waiting for the monthly teenybopper magazines to come out (Tiger Beat, 16, Teen Beat, Bop, etc.) so I could learn more about RS and add a new poster to my wall. I’d sit listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 radio show with a handheld tape recorder so I could record my favorite songs. My kids can pretty much listen to whatever song they want at any time and, if they had a favorite rock star, could follow them on Facebook or TikTok or whatever else and learn about what they were doing as it happened. Yes, being a fan was very different in the ’80s.

Although I’m feeling a bit old thinking about this, I also realize how lucky RS fans are that their favorite rock star is still putting out new music and performing all these years later. It’s pretty cool to be able to relive the excitement even after 40 years and 14 shows (See “A spritz of happiness at Wild Horse Pass” to relive that vicariously.)

OK, I’m going to do a little more math here.

I became a Rick Springfield fan in 1982, which was 40 years ago, with the first mention of him on May 15 in my 1982 diary. (So that’s actually 40 years ago this month, wow. ) I was 12 at that time, then turned 13 that summer. My two younger sons are currently 12 and 13.

My first RS concert was in September 1983, 39 years ago, when I was 14. RS was 34. I have tickets for my 15th show this August and my oldest son is 15. My second show was in October 1984, when I was 15.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but thanks for bearing with me as I process this information.

Hangin’ out with Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield fans got a chance to hang out live with him in his home studio yesterday, as part of the promotion for the the 40th anniversary of his Working Class Dog album.

That would have been totally unimaginable 40 years ago. The very thought of doing that would have blown my teenage mind. Just him and about 2,000 fans who had a chance to ask him questions live. Pretty cool.

If you missed it, it’s still available here at talkshop.live- at least on the day I’m writing this. Quick, stop reading this now and go watch it!

He’s very entertaining. He talked about the upcoming summer tour and the next (and last) fan trip (in development, probably 2023 though no date or other details set yet), shared stories from his career and sang a song (“Jessie’s Girl”).

Topics included how he recorded ‘Working Class Dog’ in the wee hours of the night between paying customers; his vocal warmup technique (which includes a PSA about tea tree oil dissolving Styrofoam); Keeper of the Purple Twilight from “The Outer Limits,” “2001: A Space Odyssey”; the sequel of ‘Jessie’s Girl” (yes, ‘Tonight’ on “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” is a sequel and has a different outcome than in Coheed and Cambria’s version); drummer Jack White; the cancellation of the Zoot tour; and whether any acting or writing projects are in progress. And of course because this was a live Q&A, it was required that someone ask him if he planned to ever return to “General Hospital.”

He also described the stickers he has on an Australian guitar that he decorated to look like a suitcase, noting that they represent things that he likes: Tutankhamun, Australia, hot girls, Ganesh, Apollo and a magpie.

And of course a fun shoutout to my 13-year-old self, he even said my name! (He was talking to someone else with the same name, but that’s not relevant in this case.)

He also shared his feeling about recreating the photo on the back of “Working Class Dog.”

Also this week was the release of the video of “Jessie’s Girl” that was filmed with the band in his living room for this 40th anniversary celebration. Hi there, band members!

Speaking of RS band members, there was also a fun interview with bassist Siggy Sjursen on “PS After Dark with Tristan Rogers,” which also features keyboardist Tim Gross.

New ‘Working Class Dog’ CD/DVD

In case you missed the latest Rick Springfield news, here’s an update: Presales are happening now for the “Working Class Dog 40th Anniversary Special Live Edition CD/DVD” and RS will be on talkshoplive this Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m. Eastern to talk about it.

Here’s the description of the CD/DVD, which features Ron on the cover like the original album, but with an updated picture of RS in the pocket (like as in 40 years later, as in last year.)

 In April of 2021, 13 months into quarantine, Rick Springfield and his band performed his most iconic album, “Working Class Dog, ” from start to finish live at Rick’s home in Malibu in celebration of it’s 40th Anniversary. The resulting work is a renewed interpretation of a classic. The DVD features behind-the-scenes footage, all the joyful live performances, plus 4 bonus Rick Springfield hits: “Love Somebody, ” “Don’t Talk to Strangers, ” “State of the Heart, ” and “Affair of the Heart.”

Learn more about this here.

I’m excited about this because it’ll be fun to hear the new, live versions in order as they appear on the album, as originally heard 40 years ago: 1. Love Is Alright Tonite, 2. Jessie’s Girl, 3. Hole in My Heart, 4. Carry Me Away, 5. I’ve Done Everything for You, 6. The Light of Love, 7. Everybody’s Girl, 8. Daddy’s Pearl, 9. Red Hot & Blue Love and 10. Inside Sylvia.

But I’m also eager to hear more about the new album he’s been working on, too!

More Red Locusts and another album

Seems like there’s twice the amount of new music coming soon than was originally anticipated!

In a recent article on ultimateclassicrock.com – an interview with Rick Springfield, John Waite and Colin Hay in advance of this summer’s tour – RS casually mentions that not only has he been working on songs for a new album (which he has mentioned in past interviews), but that he has a second Red Locusts album (with Matt and Gregg Bissonette) almost ready to go! What?! He’s certainly full of surprises.

Here’s what he said about these two albums:

We have a second Red Locusts [featuring Matt and Gregg Bissonette] album actually ready to go. We haven’t mixed it yet. But once we started, we couldn’t stop. It’s more Beatle-y stuff. But I have a new record that I’ve almost finished that is very, very different for me. Like John was saying, it’s very up. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s very hard to describe your own music, but it’s hooks, which I kind of center every song on. And it’s got weird production. I don’t know. You’ll just have to listen. You actually have to buy it and find out. Because there will be one copy for sale for $1 million.

ultimateclassicrock.com.

Read the article here.

Speaking of the summer tour, which celebrates the 40th anniversary of “Working Class Dog” (which came out in 1981), I wonder what songs he’ll play off that album. Obviously “Love is Alright Tonite,” “I’ve Done Everything for You” and “Jessie’s Girl.” I’ve heard him play “Inside Sylvia” at the Stripped Down shows (on a guitar app on his phone). It’s such a great album, what would you like to hear him play live? I think “Red Hot & Blue Love” would be fun, as well as “Carry Me Away.” Maybe a montage of all the songs in the order of the album?

A copy of the original lyrics

Anyway, I just wanted to share this little bit of RS news in case you hadn’t seen the article yet.

Summer tour!

The big news this past week is that a summer tour is on!

The 18-stop tour celebrates the 40th anniversary of Rick Springfield’s Working Class Dog album and since the album came out in 1981, 2022 really marks the 40th anniversary of when I got the Working Class Dog album since I got it in 1982. (Though that of course is the unofficial RS Crush blog-centric version.)

The tour, which also includes Men at Work and John Waite, kicks off on the day before my birthday though the present of the actual concert comes to my city toward the end of August. But that’s OK, I’ve already purchased a ticket for myself as an early birthday present. Whoo-hoo!

Seriously though, it’s such a beautiful thing to see all those dates on the tour calendar knowing that RS fans will soon be coming together for communal celebration of music. (The 80s on 8 SiriusXM U.S. Summer Tour dates are listed here.) Our world has gone through such a tumultuous time these past two years and though there are many devastating things still happening, the healing power of music celebrated in one big room together is such a uniting feeling, and we can all use a little joy and positivity, right?

This past week, I attended a Billie Eilish concert with one of my kids (she is an INCREDIBLE performer, by the way, wow!) and to be in a packed arena filled with such love and positivity was so powerful and inspiring. And besides that still lingering pandemic dread in the back of my mind about being with so many people in one place, it was pretty amazing.

Looking forward to celebrating some RS music (and other feel-good 80s’ vibes) with you at the upcoming concerts!

Powerful song, video dedicated to Ukraine

In case you missed it, Rick Springfield posted a new song this week that included heartbreaking images from Ukraine.

Watch it here.

Text from the post:

I wrote this song about a couple in trouble but it fit my feelings about the war in Ukraine. More must be done. I send it out with prayers for peace. ♥️🇺🇦

The post didn’t mention the name of the song, though it seems like it may be “Make Your Move.” Mixed in with the Ukraine images is video of RS playing chess (to go along with the lyrics), singing in front of a graffitied wall and playing a chalk-drawn keyboard. The video includes the text “play” and the video counter marking the time passing. The presentation of the video makes it seem like it’s historical war footage. Sadly, the scenes are not from years ago, it’s happening right now. Truly heartbreaking.

Update on March 25: The video is now on YouTube:

‘Late, Late at Night’: The musical

As Rick Springfield fans are awaiting news of a new album (based on mentions in interviews over the past few months), something else has been brewing Down Under.

According to a Bayside News article that showed up today in my Google feed, “One man show tells Springfield tale,” an Australian pop singer and actor from Sydney will be performing a one-man musical based on RS’s autobiography “Late, Late at Night.” The play was written by award-winning playwright Kieran Carroll and is described as “the epic journey of a suburban boy whose journey to fame and fortune came with enormous personal costs.”

The mention on kingstonarts.com.au also describes it as “a tumultuous and exhilarating journey of a songwriter whose 17 top 40 hits in America with sales of 25 million albums worldwide make him one of Australia’s most successful musical exports of all time.”

Moving between the incredible stories and Springfield’s large body of hit songs over 50 years, Late Late At Night traces Springfield’s Australian and British childhood, his early music days in Australia, his rollercoaster ride in 1970s America and the huge pop and acting successes of the 1980s. This is followed by his fall from public view, his mental health demise, and finally, the resurrection of Rick Springfield as an artist in the 21st century.

Kingston Arts

According to the playwright’s website, as of today, the “Late, Late at Night” has six dates scheduled in April-May 2022 in Melbourne and Victoria.

The play is directed by Robert Johnson, the artist director of Burning House, a nonprofit theater company “dedicated to bringing bold interpretations of rarely performed classic texts to audiences,” according to its website, burninghousetheatre.com.

Judging from Jackson Carroll’s music videos, this looks like it’s going to be GREAT! If any RS fans in Australia are reading this blog and make it to the show, let us know how it is!

(Disclaimer, so far I haven’t seen any online mention that connects the Sydney singer-actor Jackson Carrrol scheduled to be in this musical to the below Sydney musician Jackson Carroll and am only assuming it’s the same person. Also not sure if there’s any relation between the “Late, Late at Night” playwright and the musical’s singer-actor but hopefully the Australian press will share more details as it gets closer. Meanwhile, enjoy the following videos…)

Back on stage

After a slow start to being back in concert earlier this year after testing positive for COVID, RS came back full force this month – with three different types of concerts in four days – one full-band rockin’ show, one Stripped Down solo acoustic storytelling show and one with a symphony orchestra. (Plus another acoustic show tonight so really four concerts in less than a week.)

Thank you to all those fans who shared videos and photos from these three shows (and some even got to meet him before the concert!).

According to online reports from concert-goers, RS said that this past symphony show might be the last one. Such a bummer! I’m sure it’s lots of work but I was hoping I would make it to one of those shows. Fortunately I’ve seen some videos from those concerts but it must be amazing to be there in person. (Plus, there’s the suit look, too… You can see what I mean in this great review of the Atlanta symphony concert in All Music Magazine.)

More shows coming up this year are listed on rickspringfield.com. (For a full tour schedule from the past few decades, check out rickspringfield.us.)

Onward!