‘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!

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.

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!

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!

Rick Springfield AARP concert scheduled for Dec. 5

OK, I guess this means we’re officially old. It’s not because Rick Springfield is in the AARP age group, it’s that those who were teenage fans in the 1980s – likely the target demographic of a Dec. 5 AARP concert – are now in the AARP age group.

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise – after all, this year is the 40th anniversary of “Working Class Dog.” So the fact that our teenage heartthrob is performing for what was once known as the American Association of Retired Persons (before the name was shortened to an acronym) shouldn’t be too shocking.

And yet, it is a little.

However, I’m not going to let it get me down. I’m glad I was a teen in the 1980s and didn’t have to deal with social media or the pending arrival of a Metaverse. I’m grateful I made it to the age I am now. Many people didn’t. I’m going to focus on the fact that 40 years after becoming a RS fan, I still get to see him live in concert (even if it’s on a computer screen instead of in person). Hmmm, come to think of it, maybe the Metaverse wouldn’t be too horrible if it meant an RS concert with a virtual “Human Touch.” That would be a silver lining.

So what if songs from my high school years are now on the oldies radio station and the original MTV VJs are featured in an AARP video discussing 80s songs.

Anyway, if you are ready to embrace the AARP connection and accept that you are now part of that demographic (if indeed you are), check out more info about the free virtual concert here or at aarpconcerts.org/rick-springfield.) Membership isn’t required (but you can get some deals on stuff and services as an AARP member – a Black Friday special is a two-year membership for $20, and no this isn’t a sponsored post, just pointing out another silver lining.) There’s a short video (featuring a sleeping Bindi) about the concert on RS’s Facebook page.

The virtual concert performed from his home – is part of AARP’s brain health program called StayingSharp (click here to see a video of RS talking about this in his home studio) and a way to promote the Staying Sharp’s Guide to Music and Brain Health. I was actually interested to learn about this because I feel like I’ve been forgetting things more often lately. But don’t worry, although I may forget what I needed at the grocery store, I still remember song lyrics so I will be able to sing along on Dec. 5.

Concerts, interviews and ‘Jack Chrome’

To paraphrase The Red Locusts, our life has been turned upside down and it looks like our world is askew. What else can we do but try to make sense of it?

Here we are about 18 months from when the world as we knew it changed and although COVID-19 is still very much affecting things, it is comforting to see some aspects of pre-COVID life returning – like concerts. I haven’t personally been to any yet but have enjoyed seeing pictures and watching videos of recent RS concerts in other cities.

In an attempt to keep people safe, many venues have new guidelines in place, such as requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Some may also require masks (although that doesn’t seem to be the case in any concert footage I’ve seen). RS fans, who are prone to traveling long distances to see their favorite rocker in concert, have been turned away at the venue for not having the proper paperwork so consider this a public service announcement to check venue requirements before heading to a show.

With touring comes the occasional pre-show interview including this one in Florida Today: “Q&A with singer/songwriter Rick Springfield: ‘I love what I do.’ No “Was there really a’ Jessie’s Girl’?” in this article – thank goodness. Instead it covers the music business, songwriting technique and a look at what’s next.

Here’s a recent review as well: “Buck Hill Concert Series heats up the slopes in Burnsville, Minnesota, September 21, 2021,” in All Music Magazine.

I don’t think Buck Hill and its patrons were truly ready for the headliner of the night, Australian-born singer, songwriter, author, and actor Rick Springfield. Looking suave and dressed in all black he commanded the stage when the lights came on. Just one month younger than my own mother, at age 72, Rick Springfield is still rocking like he’s 22.

Cat Parker, All Music Magazine

The review also mentions members of the band, which is nice, as it’s also been great seeing them all back on stage as well. The writer also spoke to a few fans. Plus there are a lot of great concert pics!

Thanks to all the fans who have shared concert pics and videos on social media!

Can you believe it’s already almost October? It seems like we were just celebrating the arrival of 2021 and the end of 2020 (little did we know that 2021 wouldn’t look much different then its predecessor.) The arrival of October means that it’s almost the arrival of “Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz,” a collaboration between RS and Russell Morris, an Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist. The new album is centered around “Day of the Dead” and is scheduled to be released on Oct. 15.

From jbhifi.com: “This is Russell Morris and Rick Springfield like you’ve never heard them before. They have come together to create Jack Chrome & The Darkness Waltz, an album that celebrates Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with the narrator, Jack Chrome, leading the listener through a compelling song cycle about life and death.”

“After losing parents and grandparents, I’ve always loved the concept of day of the dead,” Russell explains. “It’s all about celebrating life and bringing those spirits back.”

“Russ is the happy one,” Rick smiles. “He brought a lot of the positive songs to the project, whereas mine get pretty dark.”

jbhifi.com

Also from the article: “Russell and Rick first recorded together 50 years ago, when Rick played on Russell’s debut album, Bloodstone. Rick later appeared on Van Diemen’s Land, but this is the first time the good friends have made an entire album together. Ultimately, this album is a celebration of life.”

Sounds intriguing, I look forward to hearing it! Here’s a little teaser:

Back on stage after 16 months

Last night was the first full-band concert in 16 months and it was incredible!

Well, I wasn’t actually there – Rick Springfield was the featured guest for the free 12th annual Lights on the Lake event in Sherman, Texas – but thanks to the generosity of RS fans who posted videos on RS fan Facebook pages, other fans got to experience parts of it, from the attempt to put on a hazmat suit before going out into the audience for “Human Touch” to the rose explosions and him filming the audience as he came out on stage.

(He shared the video on his social media pages today.)

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I’m guessing that it was a thrill for them all to be back on stage for a live show after such a long stretch of time, especially that at this time last year we weren’t sure if things would ever get back to “normal.” It’s so nice to see everyone – both band and fans – being together again. It’s almost like the pandemic was just a bad dream and now we can we just can go back to getting together to celebrate happy moments together.

(However, I still felt a bit of the teenybopper/mother hen syndrome, with a mix of “Yay, he’s still going out into the audience for ‘Human Touch’!” and “I hope they all stay healthy, there’s still that Delta Variant of COVID-19 and will that mask and gloves protect him enough?” Shut up, mother hen, and just enjoy the concert, sheesh.)

Seriously though, I hope everyone stays healthy.

I’m especially grateful to those fans who shared their view from the spots close to the stage. Sometimes he seems to be looking directly into the camera, which makes it even more fun watching from home because of that whole “Oh my gosh, he’s looking right at me!” feeling I remember feeling at 13 (when I was watching through binoculars from many rows away from the stage).

Other RS notes

I recently re-listened to the audiobook of “Late, Late at Night” (since I had subscribed to Audible to listen to “World on Fire,” I thought I might as well get his autobiography, too, since I had borrowed it from the library from when I read it back in 2014.) After listening to him talking about his life again, it was even cooler to see him back in action on stage. I wonder if there will be a sequel to the autobiography at some point so we can learn more about what went on behind-the-scenes this past decade (or longer, depending on when he would write it.)

Beach Bar Rum biz

It’s not like RS has been staying at home throughout this whole pandemic. After he received his vaccination, he’s made appearances at different places, like last weekend in Las Vegas, where he spent an evening at Cabo Wabo and attended a Nightclub and Bar Convention with Sammy Hagar for Beach Bar Rum.

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Review of The Red Locusts album

I also received my Red Locusts CD. I have been listening to the album via streaming, but wanted to hear the additional song and hoped for lyrics. No lyrics though. Has anyone gone put together the lyrics that they’d like me to post? So far I haven’t found them anywhere online.

Why would I write about some random band called The Red Locusts on a Rick Springfield blog? Well despite the secrecy behind it, the word seems to be out, judging by this review of the album. Not that anyone who listens to it would be surprised. Even my 12-year-old who heard it for the first time in the car when I picked him up from camp said, “Is this Rick Springfield?” during the song that was playing.

Working Class DJ

RS has also continued with his Working Class DJ show on SiriusXM (another subscription I’ve acquired due to a RS offering), which debuted in January. It’s a lot of fun listening to his little stories and funny bits on a weekly basis and the music is great. This past one had a Fourth of July theme where he actually played a Bruce Springsteen song (which he introduced as Bruce Springfield and then explained the confusion people have had through the years between the two. (A clip from his song “Bruce” is below.)

Here’s a Medley, from rsandus:

And here’s a great fan video from Travels from Nick.

Check out future concerts on the official RS page. Thanks again to the fans who shared their videos of last night’s show!

Concerts on the calendar

Is it possible that we’re ready to emerge from our pandemic hibernation and start attending concerts again?!

It appears so, as this recently appeared on my news feed:

Pretty amazing, right?

So nice to see the announcement of a concert instead of a cancellation!

On the Macon City Auditorium website, it currently says it’s a “normal capacity” event and that “protocols for cleanliness and guidance from local and national officials will be followed at the time of the event.” Does that mean it will look like the photo in the ad or that “Human Touch” will involve RS going back into the audience? Not sure if we’re quite at that point yet, but September is still a few months away and more and more people are getting vaccines, so I suppose that’s possible. It looks like there’s also a show scheduled for June 12 in Ashland, Kentucky.

Additionally, it seems RS may be heading to Australia in the fall as well, as the Zoot reunion tour has been rescheduled from November 2020 to October 2021 and tickets are on sale for that.

Party at the Beach Bar

In other RS news, he and Sammy Hagar have been busy promoting Beach Bar Rum and have shared some other exciting concert news in a Forbes magazine article: “Sunday Conversation: Sammy Hagar and Rick Springfield on their rum business, wanting to tour together and taking over Catalina.”

The article mentions the “Party at the Beach Bar” song RS wrote (heard in this promotional video featuring fans here):

The article also talks about how they’ve been discussing residences in Las Vegas and on Catalina Island where they would perform and through big parties with a Beach Bar theme.

We’re planning a little residency in Vegas and a residency on Catalina, a place where you can set the party down and do it every weekend. Let the people come from out of town, experience a cool place like Catalina, a cool place like Vegas. Everybody knows how much fun you can have in Vegas when it opens back up.

Sammy Hagar on forbes.com

That sounds fun!

From Zoot to Zoom

Coming up this weekend is a special Zoom event for those who purchased the new Red Locusts album. (Unfortunately I won’t be there since I didn’t purchase the album since I don’t have a turntable.) It’ll feature The Red Locusts, featuring those talented blokes Paul Ramone, Scotty Skuffleton and Skippy Skuffleton, who are seen rehearsing in a recent tweet:

Still hoping that the album will be available in other formats at some point because it would be great to hear it! Here’s what the Forbes article says about the project and others, including the dark one he mentioned in a previous interview that is scheduled to come out in November.

I’ve recorded two anonymous albums. One with a band I put together with Gregg Bissonette and Matt Bissonette. It’s very Beatle-driven, very pop, ’60s British Invasion. And I did another one, very dark, dark, dark album with a friend of mine in Australia about Day Of The Dead and then I’m writing my own stuff. 

Rick Springfield, forbes.com

So there are a few things to look forward, too, in addition to his weekly stint as the Working Class DJ on SiriusXM, which are fun to listen to.

To anyone going to the Zoom event – have fun! I’ve received my two vaccine doses so I’ll be here waiting for an announcement of a local concert!

Thinking back to October 2015

Five years ago today I was in Las Vegas getting ready to see Rick Springfield and Loverboy perform at The Joint in Hard Rock Hotel. It was an extra special RS week, as I had seen him earlier that week in Phoenix at the Arizona State Fair. (I had purchased the Vegas concert tickets and plane tickets before the Arizona show, a few minutes from my house, was announced.)

My two older sons, who were 7 and 9 at the time, got to sing “Don’t Talk to Strangers” with him at the fair, which was a huge thrill!

Can you imagine? Two Rick Springfield concerts in one week?! (And I’d seen him twice earlier that year – a full-band show and a Stripped Down show – and got to briefly meet him afterward both times.)

As painful as it is to fans that there are no RS concerts on the horizon to look forward to, it must be even more difficult for RS to not have any planned. He looked so happy to be up on stage for the recent Sammy Hagar birthday bash on Catalina Island. After touring pretty much nonstop for 20 years, I imagine that this eight-month hiatus from performing has been difficult. Hopefully he’s taking solace in the knowledge that all the fans who attended those concerts are missing him and his shows. (This past week I had a medical procedure where I was knocked out for a little awhile and my last thought before falling asleep was wondering how he was doing. Is that normal?)

Hopefully this is a temporary phase that we are all going through and at some point it will be safe to start having concerts again. This can’t last forever, right?

Meanwhile, our concert memories will have to suffice and maybe RS will be up to sharing some more new music soon because thank goodness we have the technology that allows for him to share when he wants to. (Thinking back to the 1980s when the anticipation was the teen magazines and what new posters and information would be in the next issue and maybe there would be a new video on MTV. We’ve been really lucky these last few years when there’s been so much content to help feed the cravings.)

I thought I’d revisit that happy time of October 2015.

  1. That anticipation before a show: “Two weeks from tonight!”
  2. The gratitude that the favorite rock star of my youth still performs decades later.: ‘Back to the future is now the present.”
  3. The ability to enjoy concerts from afar, in this case shows at Walt Disney World: “Happiest Place on Earth
  4. An appreciation of sharing RS songs with my kids in advance of their first concert: ‘Greatest Hits’
  5. The night before the concert
  6. “My sons got to sing with Rick Springfield!”
  7. More about the concert: “Concert afterglow”
  8. A report on the Vegas show: ‘What happened in Vegas’

And that’s that, a really good RS month. Hope this post brought more joy than sadness, we need to hold on to all the joy we can!

Virtual symphony show

Until the pandemic struck the U.S., Rick Springfield has toured nonstop with about 100 shows a year for many years, most recently with three versions: a full-band show, an acoustic Stripped Down show and shows with full symphony orchestras. Unfortunately I never got to see the last one live and the chance of that number of people all being on a stage together anytime soon is pretty slim.

Fortunately, RS fans are generous with their concert experiences and posted videos of symphony performances, so here’s a virtual concert featuring RS symphony concerts. The setlist is from June 27, 2019 in Atlanta, Ga. though the videos are from whatever I could find on YouTube. Thank you to all the fans who shared these videos!

Affair of the Heart

I’ve Done Everything for You

Souls

Don’t Talk to Strangers

Love is Alright Tonite

I couldn’t find a video for this one, but if you find one, let me know and I’ll add it!

She’s Leaving Home

Irreplacable

April 24, 1981/My Father’s Chair

Intermission

Kristina

I Get Excited

World Start Turning

State of the Heart

Celebrate Youth

Love Somebody

Human Touch

Definitely won’t see anything like this anytime soon…

Jessie’s Girl

Bonus videos!

Here are the official RS videos for the “Orchestrating My Life” album, which show many different cool angles of the performance.

And that wraps up the 2020 virtual concert series! Of course these are nothing like actually seeing a live performance in person, but hopefully they will hold us over for now.