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Rick Springfield Plays the Hits
The 64-year-old rocker mixes old favorites with new songs at the Uline Warehouse Stage


At first glance, Rick Springfield would appear to be your average Summerfest free stage headliner: an aged rocker with a handful of hit songs and a career gone lukewarm, attempting to resuscitate the glory days for his nostalgic fans. But the 64-year-old manchild had energy and gimmicks to burn Friday night at the Uline Warehouse stage, where he eagerly played brand new material along with hits like “Jessie’s Girl” and “You Better Love Somebody” to a faithful audience.

Springfield’s catalog is deep with huge, cheesy choruses, and he wasted no time getting to them with openers “Wide Awake” (from new album Songs For The End Of The World) and old favorite “I’ve Done Everything For You.” The highpoint of the set was a 10-minute medley that included “Calling All Girls,” “Don’t Walk Away” and a scintillating snippet of “Jessie’s Girl” that sent the audience into a premature frenzy. The solid slab of hooks testified to Springfield’s knack for arena rock, a talent he hasn’t lost: Even new songs like “Wide Awake” and “Our Ship Is Sinking” sounded as big and catchy as ever, though they still felt like filler in between the more recognizable stuff. The set began to drag when Springfield exchanged his electric guitar for an acoustic for a few slower numbers, like the fluffy new “You And Me” and “My Father’s Chair,” a tribute to Springfield’s late father. But he closed with a solid string of hits: “Don’t Talk To Strangers,” “You Better Love Somebody” and “Jessie’s Girl,” tacking on a few extra choruses for good measure.

Like a true rock star, Springfield has a flare for the dramatic. When he was done using a guitar, he would toss it to a (probably very nervous) offstage tech, who would then throw him a new one. During “Affair Of The Heart,” he hammered on his strings with a bouquet of roses, sending a spray of petals into the audience. His eccentricities made for a few odd moments. One puzzling sequence included a 30-second surf riff, a long, improvised guitar solo and a cover of “Crossroads” – a strange choice for Springfield, who isn’t necessarily known for his guitar skills. Still, his enthusiasm made even the most forced moments – his decension into the audience during “Human Touch,” for example – feel genuine. They were gimmicks, sure; but they were gimmicks that worked.



5 Comments
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purplepatti2013 Posted: 7/8/2013 9:13:04 PM
 6   4    

Joe...I am not sure how old you are. But, your review is insulting. Rick is a rocker who is absolutely known for his guitar skills. And, although he hit the charts in the 80s with his top ten hits, he is recognized and called upon contemporary artists today to collaborate (like the Foo Fighters). He is more than just a talented musician. He is an entertainer. Every time a an buys a ticket, he/she gets MORE than his/her money's worth. Stick to reviewing pop bubble gum crap and leave the real rock and roll alone, Joe! Better luck next time!
Jodi Posted: 7/8/2013 6:47:11 PM
 4   3    

I did not personally attend this show however, I have seen Rick in concert several times and not once was would I describe him or his songs as "cheesy". If you are going to write an article about an artist I would suggest that you first get the name of the songs straight then remove the wax out of your ears so you can hear what the rest of us are hearing. Lastly, I would love to see what you look like at 64 years old. The only gimmick here is you pretending to be a writer. Oh and by the way...this article is CHEESY.
purplepatti2013 Posted: 7/8/2013 9:14:11 PM
 1   1    

Replying to: Jodi
Great job, Jodi!! 100% agree!
HoneyJoRumples Posted: 7/8/2013 4:50:33 PM
 28   5    

Hey Joe - first, the song is simply Love Somebody, not You Better Love Somebody. And cheesy is harsh. This guy just happens to be one of the hookiest writers in the business. We should all be lucky enough to come up with hooks so "cheesy." And if you're going to lump I've Done Evrerything For You in with the other songs you're so luke warm about, that's the only one Rick didn't write. Sammy Hagar penned that bit of cheddar. And why is Crossroads a strange choice for a guitar player? Maybe YOU don't know him for his guitar playing, but those of us who know what's going on in Springfield's world know that he can shred with the best of them, and is actually a very talented rock and blues guitarist.
purplepatti2013 Posted: 7/8/2013 9:15:29 PM
 2   3    

Replying to: HoneyJoRumples
Great comments! Since when it is not a requirement to be INFORMED and DO RESEARCH to write for a magazine??? Thank you for setting this excuse for a writer straight on his CHEESY article.
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