Coming of age

I recently realized that my oldest son is approaching the age I was when I first became aware of Rick Springfield: 12.

Here’s the first mention of RS in my diary, entered on May 15, 1982, almost exactly 36 years ago from today:

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It was just a couple of months after RS debuted on General Hospital (March 25, 1981) and although I don’t remember if I was already watching “General Hospital” at this time, it looks like RS and John Stamos were the only ones in the magazine that rated my three-star “Wow” poster rating.

So far my, son’s main interest is in basketball and although he does like music – some of his favorite are Imagine Dragons, Fall Out Boys and Bruno Mars – he hasn’t gotten to the point where there is any non-sports-related decor on his walls.

This is how my walls looked when I was in my early teens:

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Did my parents think it was odd that I had all these posters of a guy in his 30s all over my wall when I was 13? Or listening to these lyrics?

I get excited
Just thinkin’ what you might be like
I get excited
There’s heaven in your eyes tonight
The fire’s ignited down below
It’s burning bright
Oh baby, stay, we got all night, all night
Baby please, I can’t please
If I’m on my knees tonight

(“I Get Excited” from “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” – 1982 – my parents bought me the album for my birthday that year)

Or this from “Inside Sylvia” from “Working Class Dog” – 1981

Inside Silvia, oh Silvia, yeah, yeah, Silvia
I know my love is alive
Inside Silvia, yeah Silvia, oh Silvia, oh

(I know he has said that his relationship with Sylvia was not of a sexual nature, but still, those lyrics…)

As he’s said himself, most of the songs from WCD and SHSMY are all about lust and sex – did I know that at the time? I think I sensed that they had adult themes, but I was pretty innocent at the time overall so I’m not sure how much I actually understood. But I did recognize his “wow” factor, that’s for sure, and the crush factor was pretty strong.

We made it through the baby stage with our sons, survived the toddler years, and now all of them are in elementary school. After reading “Late, Late at Night,” and getting a glimpse of what puberty can be like for boys (we are all girls in my family), I’m trying to prepare myself for being on the opposite end of the equation (the parent instead of the teen).

Of course things are much different these days – kids have exposure to many more things today then my generation did at this age. And what seems shocking in one generation, often doesn’t phase the next one at all (such as Elvis “shockingly” shaking his hips on national TV – if those shocked adults would have known what kind of things end up national TV today, they would likely be horrified.) It goes the other way, too, things that were everyday happenstance in previous generations (such as how women and minorities were treated) seem horrifying today (hence, the #metoo movement).

I’m not really sure what my point is here and I’ve probably gone off on a tangent, but what I’m TRYING to say is: How did this happen so fast that I was once a tween (although they didn’t call it that at the time) who innocently listened to Rick Springfield records and had his posters covering my wall and now I’m nearly 50 writing a blog about him and have a son who is almost the age I was when I started being a fan?

If I had to sum it up with one word, I guess I’d have to say, “Wow.”

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The last laugh

As I was perusing the photos and videos posted from the Rick Springfield fan getaway trip in the Bahamas, I found myself thinking of little Ricky Springthorpe feeling so despondent in his younger years.

RS has written and talked about his struggles with depression and about how he’s felt like a failure when depression hits. I thought about how he probably felt like he wasn’t living up to what people expected of him as a child because he wasn’t successful in school and scholastic achievement is typically how adults measure success in children.

When he was struggling in school and getting reprimanded for spending so much time on music, if only he could have known that decades later he’d be at a resort in the Bahamas with hundreds of women spending thousands of dollars to spend a few days with him and listen to him perform music in a variety of ways – with his band, in an acoustic set on the beach, in a piano bar and in a Beatles tribute band. Hundreds of people singing and dancing along to songs that he wrote. Songs that wouldn’t exist if he would have let those naysayers get to him. These fans also paid hundreds more for some extra time with him – swimming with dolphins or visiting his hotel suite for an intimate musical gathering (with a group of other adoring fans).

That reality probably never crossed his mind. (Or maybe it did, he has quite an imagination…) So there, all you people who gave him a hard time when he was young – the last laugh is on you.

So if anybody reading this is feeling discouraged in their current situation, just remember that there’s always the possibility that things will take a turn in a better direction. And may you experience whatever the equivalent of the resort-beach-Beatles tribute band dream is for you.

#HappyThanksgiving #Donotletothersgetyoudown #Followyourdreams

 Here are some great videos I came across from the fan trip:

“That One,” off of his newest album “Rocket Science,” at the welcome concert: 

At the piano bar singing the classics; here’s one by the King of Rock n’ Roll:

“Something” during the Beatles tribute show:

“Written in Rock,” from the 1985 album “Tao,” at the beach party:

One of the new cover songs he’s added to the set list, “Foxy Lady” at the farewell concert:

 

On the eve of the election

Tomorrow’s the big day – the culmination of this year’s crazy election season. Crazy isn’t even the right word  – tumultuous, disgusting, frustrating, embarrassing, maddening, tragic, maybe? THESE are our “leaders”?!?!

Anyway, Rick Springfield and friends have the right idea – get out of the country. He and his wife, along with his BFF Doug Davidson and his wife, are on their way to the Bahamas today for the fan getaway. (They posted an adorable pic of the four of them en route). And fans from around the world have already started to head there as well for the trip, which starts Thursday.

For those of us fans not physically heading to the Bahamas this week, we’re on our way mentally. Imagine a Rick Springfield concert with songs you’ve never heard live! And, wait a moment, did he just finish another concert without playing “Jessie’s Girl” and nobody seems to mind? (Not that I don’t still crank up the radio when I hear it, but there are so many other songs I’d like to hear him perform live.) And five days of chances for chance encounters? Wow.

I’m going through some serious withdrawals. Each time the fan club access sends out an email announcement of an upcoming show, there’s those few seconds of anticipation before clicking on the email to see if it’s announcing a concert that doesn’t require an overnight hotel stay or airfare. But nothing local for the past four months. (Has it only been four months? OK, maybe I’m a little premature in complaining.) I’ve enjoyed all the great concert photos and videos people have been posting, but sometimes I get a little carried away, especially if he’s looking into the camera. My first reaction is, “He’s looking at me!” (as I did back in 1983 from my seat in the 16th row looking through binoculars…) and then I remember that not only did I not take the picture, but I wasn’t even there. Darn it.

Do I feel silly having this little obsession in my 40s? Shouldn’t I be a grown-up and go watch some election coverage or something? No. I already mailed in my ballot so now all there is to do is wait for the results, an activity also filled with anticipation. But not the good kind.  Maybe I’ll just go rewatch that video somebody posted of RS singing Jimi Hendrix song “Foxy Lady” at the Nov. 6 show in Fort Myers, Florida. He ROCKED!

To those who are going to the Bahamas this week – wishing you safe travels and an AMAZING time (can you maybe sneak in an extra RS hug for me?)

 

 

 

 

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!

 

A Rick raffle

Although I haven’t met many of the “Rick Chicks,” it’s evident on the Facebook fan pages that there is a lot of camaraderie there among some of the women who have attended Rick Springfield shows (and trips) together for many years.

Throughout this month, there is a raffle going on to help pay mounting medical bills for a RS fan – a mother of three daughters –  who is battling stage 4 breast cancer.

Somebody donated 16 Rick Springfield items, 14 that are autographed, and the winners of these 16 items will be put into a winner’s circle raffle with a chance to win a Meet and Greet with RS.

Raffle tickets are $25 each and the drawing is on April 1, 2016.

For details on the items, and how to donate through PayPal, visit facebook.com/RockinPinkForKim.

Here is the video that tells Kim’s story. Sending prayers for Kim and her family…

The next show is a month from today

The next RS show I have tickets to is a month from tonight. It will be my 11th RS concert (my fifth since March 2015, there was a 15-year hiatus before that). I rarely watch movies more than once (“The Wizard of Oz” and “Grease” being among the exceptions) or read books more than once, but when it comes to RS, I just can’t seem to resist attempting to get there if it’s somewhat financially in reach. I’ve gone to Vegas for shows, but beyond that I’ve stayed within state lines.

Anyway, I’m sure I’m not alone in my countdown-to-a-show mentality. But thinking about that got me to thinking about how different it must be for the person on the other end – in this case, RS. Since he does so many shows a year, is each one just another “day at the office” for him?

Does it become routine to wake up, go the airport, hope to avoid the TMZ crew, go through the TSA checkpoint, perhaps sign a few autographs or snap a couple pictures with those who recognize him/are brave enough to approach him, fly across the country, do a radio interview, do the soundcheck, sign autographs/take photos, hear words of adoration from women unable to speak in complete sentences around him (or was that just me?), do the show, do the meet and greet, sign more autographs/take more photos, hear more words of adoration from incoherent fans (I think I mumbled something, but not sure what) have a drink/late-night dinner, go to sleep, and the next day do it all again?

This is the week

Here we are – “Rocket Science” week. The time RS fans have been waiting for since last January when there was a shot of him and the band in the studio announcing that they were working on it. 12219633_10153459169577326_6020387591552106660_n

Some lucky fans have already gotten copies of the CD, some from Japan, where there was an earlier release date, and some as a reward for coming out in single-digit temperatures for CD signings at music stores. So far I’ve only heard five of the songs, but the weather is sunny in the low 80s here so maybe it all equals out?

Even though some fans are luckier with regard to RS – CD signings, intimate concerts in music stores followed by a CD signing, full-band shows (two nights in a row in Nashville), sound checks, meet-and-greets, a Stripped Down Valentine’s Day show – it is OK, because they are so darn generous, sharing their photos and videos so you almost feel like you were there. Although my weekend was dominated by laundry and a four-hour Valentine’s Day visit to the ER with my 9-year-old (he is OK, thank G-d), I still feel like I had some RS fun, too. “Wasted” and “Speak to the Sky” at Grimey’s, the live debut of “That One” on Friday night and the live debut of “Miss Mayhem” on Saturday night. Also a  fun Stripped Down Q&A tonight with an impromptu acoustic performance of “Light This Party Up” and oh yeah, the live stream of the full Friday night concert on Yahoo Music.

Last year I went to three full-band shows (and one Stripped Down show) so between those and watching lots of other RS clips from shows this past year, it’s kind of funny that “Light This Party Up” and “Down” are already so familiar that they don’t even seem like new songs anymore although the CD isn’t out yet. Of course the CD versions with the country influence may have a different sound, but I’m already getting used to those, too. And although I’ve always expressed a dislike for country music, maybe I am a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, because I really like them. (Yes, I used to watch “The Donny and Marie Show,” if you caught that reference.)

RS is looking happy and healthy and hopefully his busy schedule and cold weather doesn’t get him sick again like last year, when he was chugging cold syrup on the stage each night while performing one great show after another. But next weekend he’ll be in sunny southern California where he’ll be doing one CD signing in Long Beach about five minutes from where I used to work in college and another in Los Angeles about 10 minutes from where I used to live in my 20s. For some reason the song “Born Out of Time” plays in my head whenever I think about this, even though it’s a different context and it doesn’t directly apply.

There were several videos of this weekend’s performances, but the ones on Periscope may disappear soon unless the Periscopers end up saving on YouTube. Here’s a sample:

 

RS fans: charity and documentary

Well, I now have one less thing to worry about – I don’t need to give any more thought about what to order if I won the dinner with Rick Springfield.

Yes, the Rick Springfield Birthday Charity Campaign has come to an end for this year, raising a total of $18,566. Great job to those fans who organized it (and thanks for the RS photograph and “Ricky and the Big Birthday Bash” guitar pic!)! The money benefited The Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation and Hoops for Life/Dr. Michael Edwards’ Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

I actually didn’t spend very much time worrying about what to order for dinner (this was the grand prize), but I admit that it did cross my mind a few times, with worries about food getting stuck in my teeth and spilling his glass of wine. And judging from my past encounters with him, I doubt I’d even be able to speak in complete sentences in his presence. But attending a sound check (another grand prize) would have been very cool. Oh well.

Since he’s on a short break from his tour, there haven’t been any live-stream concerts to watch, but I did come across this great interview on YouTube: an uncut interview from The Daily Buzz from Oct. 3, 2011 – four years and five days ago – when he was helping to promote the “An Affair of the Heart” documentary about his relationship with his fans.  Since it’s the uncut version, it means that although the “Who is Jessie’s Girl?” question did come up, there was plenty of time for other questions, too.

How many other rock stars inspire their fans to raise money for charity in lieu of birthday gifts and make a documentary about them?

Rick Springfield fandom in the 1980s vs. today

Here are some memories from being a teenage Rick Springfield fan in the 1980s:

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Checking the magazine stand at the neighborhood drugstore to see if the current issue of Tiger Beat, 16 Magazine or Bop was there so I could add another Rick Springfield poster to my wall.

Taking numerous babysitting jobs for families who had cable so I could watch MTV once the kids were in bed in hopes that a Rick Springfield video would come on.

Camping out overnight in line at the local mall with friends to buy tickets for a Rick Springfield concert.

Locking my bedroom door with a “Taping” sign taped outside then listening to Casey Kasem’s Top 40 countdown with a microphone plugged into a cassette tape recorder, ready to tape certain songs off the radio.

Hoping to meet RS after the concert, waiting for a glimpse after the house lights come on but after watching “Live and Kickin'” realizing that he was likely whisked away in a limo right after the encore and feeling incredibly disappointed.

Being a Rick Springfield fan in 2014:

Finding videos and interviews online that I can watch at home whenever I want.

Finding many RS songs from his past 17 albums online and listen to them at any time; and usually finding the lyrics, too.

Waiting for concert tickets to go on sale then buy them at my computer the second they go on sale and print them out – with the whole process taking less than five minutes.

Having the opportunity to purchase a sound check pass before the show or a meet and greet opportunity after the show.

Keeping up with his life on a daily basis – at least his touring/acting life – through Facebook, Twitter and online interviews.

Being a Rick Springfield fan in 2015:

Watching him perform live in concert at a venue across the country nearly every night of his tour – both through a live-stream on his Facebook page and through concert-attendees’ phones via Periscope.

What’s next?

How about a 3D live-stream concert?

Closer but not quite

Perhaps the energy I was putting out in the universe about things coming together for me to be able to attend RS’s concert in Tucson tomorrow night wasn’t specific enough. But I did get to go to a cool concert tonight.

Yesterday my dad called me to tell me that he had tickets to Barry Manilow’s “One Last Time” tour but his girlfriend was sick, would I want to go. Without hesitating, I said “Yes!” He’s a legend after all and I remember listening to his songs growing up. I was especially fond of “Copacabana,” and as a kid would sing it while dancing around in my living room.

The concert was at the Gila River Arena in Glendale and our seats were as high up as you could possibly get. Literally. We were in the back row on the very top level, because my dad’s girlfriend prefers an aisle seat in the top row so she doesn’t have to climb up the stairs and can easily leave to use the bathroom. I didn’t care that we were so far away that the performers looked as small as little LEGO figurines though, I was there for the music and wasn’t even tempted to move forward to a closer row. (In contrast to the RS concert last month where my friend and I moved as close to the stage as we could.) Ushers handed out green glowsticks on the way to your seat, and people waved them during the concert in lieu of cigarette lighters.

Mr. Manilow put on a wonderful show. He’s a talented songwriter and performer and it was a lot of fun hearing his songs live. He also did a duet with Judy Garland (from his new CD, “Dream Duets,” in which he used technology to record duets with his musical heroes) and there was also a video of him performing his first hit song, “Mandy,” in 1975 and then the current Barry joined the 1975 Barry in singing the song. There was also a sing-a-long to “Can’t Smile Without You,” with a smiley face dancing along the words on the screen. He talked a little about his life, how joining the orchestra in his school in Brooklyn changed his life. In 2008, he founded the Manilow Music Project to help musical programs in public schools and the project holds musical instrument drives in the cities he visits on his tour then the instruments are donated to local schools.

I also learned that Manilow fans are known as “Fanilows” and he has many who have seen him many times throughout the years, such as RS has his loyal fans. For me, I was fine sitting in the last row just listening to the music and was ready to head home when it was over, but when I went to the RS concert last month, I needed to be as close as I could during the show and couldn’t leave without at least trying to meet him, even though when I did, I wasn’t able to say anything. There were probably lots of Fanilows tonight who feel the same way about Barry. At the RS concert, I could sing along to all the songs whether they were from 30 years ago or more recent ones and was happy to hear them all. Tonight, I was happy to hear songs I recognized, enjoyed some of the other ones and was excited to hear “Copacabana” because of the memories it brought. It’s funny to me that although I was totally excited to be at the RS concert, there were likely many there who enjoyed the songs, were thrilled to hear “Jessie’s Girl” and were fine with heading head home afterward without any desire to meet him.

I would be willing to drive two hours to Tucson to see the Stripped Down concert, my husband is even willing to go with me AND my mother-in-law is in town so she could watch the kids. All that’s missing is the funds so I guess it’s not meant to be. So unless tickets magically appear tomorrow, it looks like it’s not happening. Waaaah.

Here’s a little “Copacabana.”