In the fifth row – or not

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View from the fifth row in Sahuarita, Arizona.

I’ve been working on a little song in anticipation for the upcoming Rick Springfield concert at the Arizona State Fair this month.

In a sense, it’s a follow-up to “One in a Million,” a song I wrote back in January 2015 about the difference between how a fan views a rock star and how a rock star views fans. That was before my first RS concert in 15 years.

This one, “In the Fifth Row,” is about the feeling a longtime RS fan has at a show. (It could apply to a longtime fan of any musician, really.) Although I’ve now seen him six times since March 2015, I’ve felt this way each time.

In the past, my seats have ranged from 30th row (but moved to 17th row when I found empty seats after the opening act), to right at the stage (because there was some empty space there) so I’ve been really fortunate to have some nice views.

For this next show, which is the only scheduled full-band show from now until December, I have tickets in the, as you may have guessed, fifth row. Here’s the song, which is only one minute long:

Here are the lyrics:

In the Fifth Row

I’m in the fifth row, you don’t know me
I’m one of the faces in the crowd
I’ve been listening to your songs for decades
Tonight I’m gonna sing them out loud

Hello from the fifth row, sorry to stare
I can’t believe it’s really you up there
So long ago and so many years
And right here in front of me

I’m in the fifth row, can you see me?
I may look older, but I’m young inside
All of my worries wash away with your music
A refuge from the storm of life

After the last note fades
Reality invades
We go our separate ways.

Unfortunately, in my zest to purchase the tickets to the show as soon as they went on sale, I didn’t confirm the date and now it appears that I have a family conflict and I won’t be able to go to the concert. I’m so, so, so, so, SO sad about that, but I know family has to come first. If it was one night earlier or one night later I could do it, but not that night. I so wish he could just switch nights with Marilyn Manson or Old School Jam, but that’s not likely.

I feel silly feeling so sad about it because there are so many other people dealing with all kinds of horrible things like the aftermath of hurricanes and earthquakes and fires and floods and the massacre in Las Vegas and  I’m sitting here bummed out because I can’t go see my favorite rock star in concert for the seventh time in three  years. Pretty pathetic, I know, and I need to get over it.

The year I started this blog, he was in Phoenix twice – once in May 2014 to sign copies of “Magnificent Vibration” (it was an interview video I saw from this visit that ended up being the spark that started this blog) and in July 2014, a few days after I saw that interview.

So hopefully it won’t be too long until he is back in town again. Is the “Magnificent Vibration” sequel coming out anytime soon? Maybe I’ll just go hang out at the fair during the day of the show in case RS wanders through the fairgrounds in search of funnel cake.

Side note:

I know most of you are reading this blog for Rick Springfield content, but on the off chance that anybody is following the songwriting storyline, here is some additional information about the song:

I recorded vocals and guitar at the same time using Audacity and a Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Generation) USB Audio Interface. It took about 50 tries to get this version and it still didn’t come out exactly the way I had hoped, but I pretty much hit all the notes in this version and it was the best of all of them so I decided to go with it.

I also revised the song quite a bit throughout the process because some of the verses ended up sounding a little stalkerish, which was not my intention, and hopefully I’ve gotten rid of anything that could be construed that way. Hope you enjoy it!

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Magicians, turkeys, dragons and a Rick Springfield concert

The family and I went to a children’s festival this afternoon and the Arizona State Fair had an exhibit with some carnival-type games for the kiddos. 

There were also stacks of the flyers shown below. Can you tell what caught my eye?

No, it wasn’t the racing turkeys or the dragons, although I am curious about those.

Can you guess what day I plan to go to the fair?

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.