Close to the one-year mark

In the last few days, I’ve received several notifications of upcoming Rick Springfield shows. There are full-band shows, Stripped Down shows, co-headlined acoustic shows with Richard Marx and co-headlined shows with Pat Benetar and Neil Giraldo. One thing they have in common is that none are in Arizona.

Sure, I’m happy for fans in all those cities and am grateful for all the photos and videos they will hopefully share, but it’s getting very close to the year-mark of being at a RS show so I’m starting to feel the withdrawal. In fact, a year ago one month from tonight, was the last time he was town.

I already feel the virtual glare of fans in Australia or other places that may not have had a RS show in years or decades, and I know I’ve been spoiled (a total of five Arizona concerts in 2015 and 2016) but, c’mon, we’re neighbors (state neighbors). It’s just a one-hour flight for most of the band. You don’t even have to bring any equipment, we have some guitars and a keyboard you can use. Sorry, Siggy, you’d have to bring your own bass and Jorge, you may have to use the ottoman (think retro-style, like the demo of “Jessie’s Girl”). It can be a casual get-together with your Arizona fans (and if you want to make a road trip of it, there are probably some California fans who would charter a bus). Doesn’t that sound fun?

Anyway, fortunately shows seem to be added on a regular basis (like that time in 2015 when I broke down and bought tickets for a Vegas show only to find out a few days later that tickets were going to go on sale for a concert that same week only a few miles away.) So there’s still hope that there will be a nearby show in 2017.

Meanwhile, there has been news that RS and the band have been in the studio to work on the next album, which RS has said will be blues-y. So there’s a chance that he’ll play one of the new songs at one of these upcoming shows, which would be pretty cool, too, and if people share it online, that will help withdrawals – so thanks in advance.

Live from Germany

I just wanted to reflect for a moment on the coolness of what just happened.

I was folding laundry on a sunny Phoenix spring afternoon and took a break for a few minutes to watch my favorite rock star perform live with a symphony orchestra in Berlin, along with thousands of other RS fans from around the world.

Pretty amazing.

It sounded so great – and thanks to those who made it happen.

Now back to the laundry.

See it here. (The concert, not the laundry.)

In the lobby a year ago tonight

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Close to the stage

A year ago tonight was the evening that I stayed at the same hotel as Rick Springfield.

I walked by him and the band in the lobby as they were checking into the hotel and because I was with my husband – who just isn’t into the “Hey, let’s hang out and see if we can meet Rick Springfield!” thing – we just walked by. I did, however, get a wave from drummer Jorge though, who was on the phone and caught me staring, and we rode in the elevator with bassist Siggy, who was very nice. (By the way, happy belated birthday, Jorge.)

We saw the show in Sahuarita that night, which was wonderful and although I talked my husband into hanging out in the casino and hotel for a bit just in case RS were to walk by, it never happened. But we did see keyboardist Tim walking around after the show and got to wish him a happy birthday (Happy birthday, Tim!)

It was a fun weekend trip with my husband. Much more fun than this weekend this year, as we are now going to empty the content of the downstairs cabinets so they and our floors can be ripped out this week because of water damage. Sometimes being a grown-up is just no fun – thank goodness for the moments in life when you can put that on hold for a couple of days to go see your teenage crush in concert!

 

 

 

Passport through technology

I of course was bummed that I wasn’t able to travel to the Bahamas this week for the Rick Springfield fan getaway, but through the amazingness of technology -and the kindness of fellow RS fans – I feel like I got a little taste of it tonight.

In addition to all the videos that fans posted tonight, there are also clips on Rick Springfield’s own Facebook page: from the soundcheck, from the opening song of the welcome concert – “Living in Oz” – an aftershow piano bar cocktail party with RS singing his songs and Beatles songs (with sharks or really big fish swimming by on the other side of the window) and even a personal message from Rick wishing that I was there! (OK, that’s my 12-year-old self talking, it was really a message to whoever visited his Facebook page. Of course.)

The Rick and the NEWSflash folks – who are so INCREDIBLY kind to share so much cool stuff – even posted more songs from the welcome concert, which included songs from “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance.” It was SO cool to hear those songs live. And it shows how awesome his band is – they had to learn all these songs!

Also RSandUS, a fan-based site, is posting videos on its YouTube page. You rock!

One bonus of technology is how customized it is. For instance, on my Twitter page for this blog, my feed is a whole lot more fun to read than the depressing news/comments on my personal/work feed this week. Some of the posts on my Facebook feed are the same way. Because these days you can create your own reality based on who you follow on social media, tonight I’m sticking to the RS Facebook fan pages and enjoying a little time in the Bahamas.

 

 

 

Summer tour rolls on

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RS and team are off on their summer tour and I was fortunate to see one of their first shows on the tour – at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix this past weekend.

I had plans with my family for earlier in the evening so when my friend and I got inside, The Romantics were finishing their last song. Part of the delay had to do with all the roads closed off downtown for a civil rights protest and the parking garage being on the other side of the closed roads. At one point, the protesters were facing us as we turned down one street. Fortunately the demonstration was still peaceful at that time.

I hadn’t told my friend – who I went to a RS concert with last year, as well as a few times in high school and during the Karma tour – where our tickets were so it was fun to surprise her as we got directed to the second row. It was also fun to meet a fellow fan that I had chatted with on Facebook before – coincidentally our seats were right next to each other.

It was a great show with a wonderful view – toward the end we made our way to an empty spot directly in front of the stage – and I even got two seconds of the human touch, a quick tap on my fingers as he walked by. I forgot to reset the settings on my phone for concert conditions and most of my photos and videos are blurry so I won’t bother posting them here.

Afterward, my friend and I hung out outside for awhile catching up. We’ve known each other more than 30 years and although our schedules don’t allow us to get together much, we always have a great time together. It was very quiet outside the theater with no sign of the earlier protests, but with a quick check on our phones, we saw that about a mile or so away, the demonstration was no longer peaceful. Police were in riot gear and there were reports of tear gas being used on the demonstrators who were trying to close down the freeway. It was sad to hear that as we were enjoying our concert inside, anger and  hatred was manifesting into violence not too far away. I had hoped that it would remain a peaceful demonstration and am grateful to those officers who prevented it from getting any worse.

In fact, with all the anger and hate manifesting in violence all around the world these days, music is such a refuge from it all, as are movies, TV shows and other forms of entertainment. I’m grateful to all of those performers who add love and laughter to the world or else it would be too overwhelming.

That being said, I sometimes feel a bit shallow spending so much time writing a fan blog, when there are so many other things going on in the world, but I guess this is my little refuge for now.

Anyway, back to the evening of the show. Despite believing I can just leave one of his concerts without at least trying to run into RS afterward, I failed again. My friend and I ended up hanging out awhile and once he came out, I – along with about 20 or so other people – approached him and I was able to get a quick selfie with him. There was no time to say anything besides, “Can I have a picture?” and I ended up feeling a little guilty because it was late and he probably just wanted to get inside his bus, have a glass of red wine and go to sleep.

It occurred to me afterward that RS gets his picture taken with so many people during his tours and he has no idea what is going on in the person’s head. Whether it’s “Oh cool, I’m getting my picture taken with Dr. Noah Drake,” “Wow, I can’t believe this is the guy who sings ‘Jessie’s Girl,'” “Wow, I had posters of this guy all over my walls in high school and now I’m meeting him!” “This is the person whose music got me through so many difficult times in my life” or people who have read every line of his autobiography, watched/heard numerous interviews with him and know more about him than they probably know about anybody else in their own life. (Or whether they’ve spent the past two years blogging about him – ha ha.)

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There are probably some ways he can determine the different levels of fan-ness, such as those who bring album covers to sign or other artifacts from his career. Or when he casually mentions during a show that peanut butter stops his hiccups and somebody in the front row hands him a little package of peanut butter (yes, that happened at the Phoenix show.)

Fortunately he seems to recognize that his fans may not be able to express their feelings and appreciation for him when they’re standing right in front of him and he’s still gracious to them.

Wishing RS and his band and crew a wonderful – and safe – tour!

 

Remembering Ruben

Sadness permeates the RS community this week with the loss of guitar tech Ruben Velasco, who lost his battle with lung cancer at age 41 on May 31.

Even though it was known he was sick – he was first diagnosed in 2014 – it still comes as a shock because it always is when somebody that young dies.

What started as a fan effort to raise funds to help pay for medical expenses has now become a memorial fund to help his family pay for the medical bills and for his funeral. Learn more about the Still Rockin’ for Ruben Memorial Fund on at weloverickspringfield.com. Donations can be made on the YouCaring page.

As another way to help Ruben’s family, the RS team is doing a fundraiser for the upcoming summer tour: “The Rick Springfield ‘Rock for Ruben’ Backstage Experience.” This backstage experience for two includes an option to assist the crew as an honorary guitar tech during soundcheck and during the actual show, a photo opportunity with RS, an autographed guitar signed by RS to bring home, two limited-edition “Rock for Ruben” baseball caps and two functioning laminated backstage passes. The cost for this is $2,000. Learn more here. (See tour dates here.)

And tonight, Rowdy Ron – who is wrapping up his online radio show this weekend – is dedicating tonight’s show to Ruben by playing the hard rock music he loved. Tune in to “Remembering Ruben” at 9 p.m. EST here.

My condolences to Ruben’s family and friends.

From the audience to the stage

I just watched a video promoting a Paul McCartney concert, where he spoke about why he continues to tour after all these years. It nearly brought me to tears because it was about the connection he feels with the people in the audience during his shows, which of course reminded me of Rick Springfield.

I couldn’t help but think of a young Ricky Springthorpe at The Beatles concert in Australia all those years ago, watching Paul McCartney on that stage and dreaming all his big dreams about someday becoming a successful musician and having people sing along to his songs with the same excitement he felt at The Beatles concert.

And now 50 years later, both of these singer-songwriters are still touring, spreading joy and inspiration with every performance. Because of the longevity of both of their careers, their songs have been woven into our lives, with people all over the world listening to their songs for decades.

For many people my age, a Rick Springfield concert was among one of their first concerts, so it’s also kind of cool that the Beatles were RS’s first concert. What would little Ricky had thought about the fact that when he was in his 60s, he and Paul would both be on tour at the same time and that he would have touched so many lives through his own music? His father would be so proud.

It’s amazing to think that this one teenager screaming in the audience at a Beatles concert in Australia in the 1960s grew up to write hundreds of songs that would be instrumental in the lives of so many people all over the world. And there are likely many future musicians who are in turn inspired by Rick Springfield and will create more music that will inspire others. Music is a beautiful chain that links people to one another throughout generations.

 

‘Ricki’ reunion at ‘All the WOO in the World’

There are so many great photos on social media today from last night’s “All the WOO in the World: An All-Star Celebration of Bernie Worrell,” an all-star concert to help raise funds/express appreciation for the musician, who is battling stage-four lung cancer.

Stepping back for a moment from my initial reaction of “Wow, there are so many great photos of Rick Springfield, he’s looking better than ever,” let’s take a moment to reflect on what a great event this was. In addition to the amazing musicians that performed there, these quotes from a “Rolling Stone” article sum it up well:

“This year has been tough — we’ve lost so many great musicians,” Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid told Rolling Stone. “Bernie is facing a serious situation, but he’s determined to make art, to play it out. This will be a great opportunity to recognize and celebrate a person while they’re still here with us.”

“Artists don’t get 401Ks; they don’t get insurance with their record deals; they don’t get a lot of stuff that other people get in corporations, like the people inside the music business get,” notes Nona Hendryx, who is spearheading the April 4th benefit. “I wanted to do something where Bernie could hear people sing his praises while he’s here.”

Such great sentiment, since so often people don’t express their appreciation for others until it’s too late to tell them. When artists are memorialized in the press after their death, I have often wondered if they realized when they were still alive that they were so valued.

The RS connection to this event was that Worrell was the keyboard player in “Ricki and the Flash,” which made this also a mini-reunion, as Meryl Streep and director Jonathon Demme were also there. (Another reason why it was a good thing that he listened to his publicist and flew across the country for the “Ricki and the Flash” audition, right?)

<> at Webster Hall on April 4, 2016 in New York City.

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Click here to learn more about the fund set up to help Bernie Worrell with medical expenses.

Sahuarita show

A few hours ago, I got home from Tucson, where my husband and I went to see last night’s show in Sahuarita’s Desert Diamond Casino. Before I heard about this concert, I never knew that Arizona had a town called Sahuarita, but I was glad to be there.

This concert was my fifth since last March and each show has had its own highlights.

A brief recap:

March 7: San Tan Valley, Arizona: Got to briefly meet RS after the show and get a picture with him (and give him a note with this blog address – still don’t know if he actually read it). I went with a friend I’ve known since junior high and we went to his concerts together in the ’80s and ’90s.

April 9: Stripped Down show in Tucson with my husband. Briefly met him afterward (after waiting outside the theater, much to my husband’s chagrin) and got a photo with him.

Oct. 21: Arizona State Fair – went with my husband and my two older sons, who got to sing “Don’t Talk to Strangers” with him.

Oct. 25:  Vegas show with my cousin, met some of the “Rick Chicks.” It was her first RS show.

And here are some highlights from this weekend’s show.

The overall highlight was that it was the first child-free trip with my husband since we’ve had kids and it was great to spend the time together. Before heading to Tucson, yesterday was spent packing bags and dropping each child off (and our dog) at different friends’ houses. (Very gracious friends, I might add – each of the kids had a great time and I’m guessing our dog did, too, because there is a spacious backyard.)

After checking into our hotel and parking the car, we walked back into the lobby to bring our luggage to our room before grabbing a bite to eat. There in the lobby, I saw Jorge (the drummer) on the phone and then saw the rest of the band – and RS – at  the check-in counter. I guess I stared too long because Jorge kindly gave me a little wave so I waved back. RS’s back was to me but I saw the other band members. Inside I was screaming, but I contained it and waited until we went around the corner to do a little happy dance and started babbling to my husband, “He’s staying at this hotel! He’s in the lobby!” and so on. It didn’t seem like an appropriate time to approach him and what would I say anyway? But he was staying in the same hotel as we were!

As we got to the elevator, I noticed Siggy (the bassist) walking our way and we rode up in the elevator with him.  We chatted with him during the brief elevator ride and saw him later that night walking in the hotel hallway after the show and later this morning outside the lobby as we were leaving. He was really nice each time we spoke with him and seems like a cool guy.

Then we headed to the casino’s buffet (the nicer restaurant at the casino was reservations-only) so we ate and then on to the show.

Our seats were in the fifth row and before it started, we started talking to a really nice couple next to us. It turned out that the husband went to the same Phoenix high school, though years apart, as my husband.

(Quick shift to a weird fan observation. In “Late, Late at Night,” RS mentions that he once lived on Maryland Avenue in Glendale and it caught my attention because I pass a Maryland Avenue and a Glendale Avenue on my way to work each day. So this guy sitting next to us said that when he lived in Phoenix, he lived on our street between Maryland and Glendale avenues. Of course I didn’t share my little observation last night, but I thought that was funny.)

Anyway, back to the show.

After the show started (there was no opening band), many people went up to the stage and my husband encouraged me to join them. So I did and it was so fun to have such a great view of everything.

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Despite my previous post about not Periscoping during the concert, how could I not now that I was so close?! So I tried again and it happened to be during “I Get Excited” again. It still didn’t record a clear video, but because I was closer, it was better. After the first video, though, I had trouble connecting so that was only one I did. I took other videos, too, but they didn’t come out very well so they’re more for sentimental reasons than to share (but maybe I’ll make a mini-video recap again since I got some of the songs from “Rocket Science.” He played “Light This Party Up,” “Down,” “That One” and “Miss Mayhem.”)

I found out later that the first guitar pic that RS threw out into the audience made it over to our seats and bounced off my husband’s forehead onto the floor. He rescued it and saved it for me.

After a few songs, the security guard came over and told everyone to go back to their seat. After RS basically gave the OK for people to come back to the stage, I returned. My view wasn’t as good as it was before being sent back to my seat, but was still great to be so close.

During “Human Touch,” he walked right by where I was, but I couldn’t get my camera to work and I didn’t actually get any human touch. My husband was nowhere to be seen so he didn’t capture any of it either. (I found out later that he was out for a bathroom break. That serves me right, I guess, for leaving him  alone back at our seats for most of the show.)

Anyway, it was a great show. It was a small venue  – RS said during the show that it was the smallest stage they have performed on and that he and Siggy keep running into each other (my husband said he heard Jorge tell RS not to sweat on his drum set.) The crowd was civil, no pushing/crowding near the stage or anything like that. One new thing the band did was cover Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” which seemed to get a good reaction from the crowd. He prefaced it by saying it’s for the younger ones in the audience. I couldn’t help thinking of the scene in “Ricki and the Flash” where the band broke into Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” I like the song so I thought it was fun to see/hear and thought the message suited him well. After the song ended, I thought I heard someone – I think it was one of the band members – say “Yes, that just happened.”

After the show, we drove back to the hotel and during our search to find a place to get food and drinks, we saw Siggy then Tim (keyboardist/guitarist) walking through the hotel (I wished Tim a happy birthday though he probably thought it was strange that some random person walking through the hotel knew it was his birthday. But then again, he’s probably used that sort of thing when it comes to RS fans.) And when I was in the restroom, my husband saw George (guitarist), too.

We had a drink in the casino/hotel (with me keeping an eye out for RS), and then headed back to our room around 11:30 p.m. Apparently we just missed him, as a couple people tweeted that they met him at the hotel around that time.

In the morning, we went to the fitness center to work out and I listened to the RS “Workout Songs” playlist on Spotify. It just seemed like the appropriate music to listen to!

We saw most of the band in the lobby as we were leaving this morning and I wanted to head back to see if RS would show up, but my husband reminded me that we needed to get back to Phoenix to pick up our kids. (Plus he finds the whole stalking thing creepy.)

Before leaving Tucson, we stopped for breakfast at this cool little restaurant called Sunny Daze and then headed back to Phoenix – and back to reality.

 

More pics from the show:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Periscope concert footage

One of the coolest current inventions is the ability to “teleport” to a concert as it is happening. I’m not sure how the performers feel about it – I know I would hate to be filmed at work, but since that’s what they do regularly, I guess they are OK with it – but for a fan, it’s really cool to be able to watch a concert as it’s happening if you can’t actually be there.

Having enjoyed a few concerts via Periscope, I wanted to reciprocate. So when I was in the third row at a concert last October, I made sure the settings were set to save the video on my phone and filmed a little. (I also did some non-Periscope filming, just in case.) When RS came out into the audience during “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and “Human Touch” and was standing right in front of me, what was I doing? Trying to film it. But I couldn’t get the camera to work; I guess I was a little flustered. Fortunately I had informed my husband before the show that he was on “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and “Human Touch” filming duty and he took care of it. (Fortunately, because two of my sons got to sing with RS and my husband captured it on video).

After the concert, I couldn’t find the Periscope videos on my phone. It wasn’t until recently that I was downloading pictures and videos off my phone to my computer and found them in a different folder in the gallery. Whoo-hoo, unexpected concert footage!

And then I watched them.

Rather than try to explain why I may not Periscope from this weekend’s concert, I thought I’d share snippets from my Periscope videos: