Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rick Springfield Live in Concert Farmers Branch, Texas: A Review

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

The upside of working a lot is that you have money to waste on unimportant things. For instance, on my way to work my day shift today, I stopped for soda and gas. I paid $7.57 for the soda, and rounded out a twenty to get $12.43 in gas. Then I didn’t pump the gas. You know why? Because I have money to waste!

Actually, it’s because I’m not very good with day shifts to begin with, and because I went and saw Rick Springfield live last night, it was especially rough getting up this morning. In spite of passing out the moment I got home, I still had trouble waking up at 5:30 am, when I’m normally starting to consider going to bed sometime soon. I was already five minutes late, tired, not properly caffeinated, and I just forgot to pump it. I remembered about three hours later at work when I was staring blankly at my dashboard and realized that I didn’t have much gas in the tank.

I called the gas station. I described what time I was there, what my transaction was, and why I don’t believe that I pumped the gas. She looked it up, verified it, and made a note for the next shift that I would be by after I’m off work to pump the gas. Sometimes modern technology is nice.

The good news is that the show was completely worth my current physical condition. The only complaint I have is that it was an outdoor concert, and it was very windy, so my hair is fried this morning. Let me tell you about the show chronologically.

Missing Rick Springfield Once or Twice – He played at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth either two or three times in the last so many years, and I know that the first time (or first two times) I missed him because I didn’t have the money or the time off to go.

Missing Rick Springfield Again – I was in a band a while back. Logically, what should follow is that we were playing a show the night that Rick Springfield came through to Billy Bob’s yet again, and I couldn’t go. Nope. I had the money. I had the time off. I was ready to go. Then the guitarist of my band called and said, “It’s my birthday. I want my band mates to hang out with me tonight.” And that’s what happened. We went to Denny’s with her, and had a good time.

Radio Commercial – FB Liberty Fest! Featuring 38 Special, Rick Springfield, and other acts to be announced! May 28! Um, ok. You don’t have to twist my arm.

Looking It Up Online – Turns out that 38 Special (who also played Billy Bob’s a couple of times) were playing Friday night, and Rick Springfield was playing Saturday night. That was actually pretty disappointing, because I would have liked to have seen them both. Other acts were still to be announced.

Looking Online Again – Yesterday, I looked up where I needed to go, and what time I needed to be there. The FB stands for Farmers Branch, which is where the show was. The opening bands were announced finally, and I have to admit, I wasn’t too excited, but as long as Rick Springfield was there, I was there.

The All-Stars from Southlake Rock School – The first band were four kids whose ages ranged from 9 to 12. They were from some rock school in Southlake, Texas. They were more of a novelty than anything. They did various rock ‘n’ roll staples as covers: Teenage Wasteland (The Who); Live and Let Die, Baby I’m Amazed (Paul McCartney); School’s Out (Alice Cooper); Misty Mountain Hop (Led Zeppelin); and Home Sweet Home (Motley Crue).

Here’s what I’ll say. They are very talented. They’re more proficient at their instruments than they are on vocals, but they carried that well enough too. Strictly speaking, if not for their ages, they wouldn’t have come across as all that good. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed their set. They sounded their best during “Teenage Wasteland” and “Misty Mountain Hop.” And they had very good stage presence. The likelihood is that they won’t be in a band together in years to come, but I do hope that they are in bands.

Ok, keep them in mind for a bit, while I move on to the next act.

The Spin Doctors – Out in support of the upcoming 20th Anniversary Edition of their first album “Pocket Full of Kryptonite,” they played the album in its entirety, though they played “Two Princes” at the end of set, technically out of order. My opinion about that album, and about The Spin Doctors, is “good, but not really what I’m in to.” My opinion of their performance doesn’t vary much from that. I can think of many other bands I would have rather seen. I did enjoy hearing the album played live, but in the same way that I listened to the album a couple of times years ago and dismissed it, I probably won’t go out of my way to see them again. They play well as a band, and they are still all the original members. They seemed to enjoy themselves, and I did enjoy the set for what it was.

Rick Springfield – Finally! I got to see Rick Springfield! I saw him perform on some daytime talk show a few years back, and I was amazed by his energy. He maintained that energy the whole time during the show last night. It’s the “Shattered Roses Tour,” and he did just that. He shattered roses. At various points in the show he would take a dozen roses and rotate his arm wide to strum his guitar with the roses. Petals went everywhere. And I must say that it was actually a pretty cool sight. He did it at various points throughout the set, and it was cool to watch every time.

He started out with a song called “Who Killed Rock ‘n’ Roll?” I’d never heard it, but it was great, and a fantastic show opener. Next he did “I’ve Done Everything for You” followed by “Affair of the Heart.” He did “It’s Always Something.” Then he did another song I’d never heard called “What’s Victoria’s Secret.” Then he did “I Get Excited” which I know I’ve heard, but I’m not that familiar with it, followed by “Alison,” which I’m very familiar with. Next he did “Venus in Overdrive” which sounded amazing live. I mean everything sounded amazing live, but this song in particular seems like it was made to be done live.

He did a song called “I’ll Miss That Someday,” which he claimed to be “about our dads.” I looked it up, because I’d never heard it. It was from his 2008 album, “Venus in Overdrive,” and it should have been a hit. The song “Venus in Overdrive” got a little notoriety, and it was a good track to get notoriety, but “I’ll Miss that Someday” should have too. He followed that song with “Love is Alright Tonite.”

Not done yet. Next, he covered “Gloria”. And he had the kids from the opening band come on stage in the middle of the song. Rick Springfield’s band showed them quickly how to play the main progression of the song, and they finished out the song with him. It was definitely impromptu because the kids were definitely lost at first, but it was a really cool thing.

Next, he did “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” This is when he got the whole sing along thing going, but more importantly he got out in the crowd (at least in the VIP section by the stage. I guess that’s another complaint I have, which is that they had a very large section in front of the stage barricaded off for VIP, and while there were a lot of people up there, they took up a decidedly small portion of the area that was barricaded off. Anyway, he got out there and had people sing the “Don’t Talk to Strangers” line into the Microphone. He got one of the police to come up onto the walkway, and said, “Everybody, this is Sarge. Can you sing, Sarge?” Sarge (who I’m betting wasn’t a Sargeant) shook his head no. “Awww, but you gotta sing for us. Everybody, tell Sarge what he’s supposed to sing.” The crowd sang the “Don’t Talk to Strangers” line, and Rick Springfield goes, “He can’t hear you.” Classic. Sarge was right, by the way. Sarge can’t sing. But Rick Springfield still wasn’t done with the song. He asked for anyone under the age of 18 to come up on stage, asked each of them their age, signed stuff if they had anything for him to sign, and then had the boys and girls “compete” to see who could sing the loudest. I’m not sure how long they took to play that one song, but it was a while, and it was fun to watch.

After all of that, he did “Love Somebody,” “Human Touch,” and finished out the main set with “Jesse’s Girl.”

For the encore he did “Wasted,” which I didn’t know, and “Kristina.” And then it was over. I’m not sure how long his set was, but it was much later than I was expecting. There was nothing about his set to negatively criticize, except for the “Liberty Syndrome” which has nothing to do with it being at Liberty Fest.

The “Liberty Syndrome” is that Duran Duran in all three times I’ve seen them have never played a song from their “Liberty” album, which was considered to be a flop album, even though it’s one of my favourite by them. I guess I should have gone to see them when they were touring that album.

Translated to Rick Springfield it is the “Rock of Life Syndrome.” The “Rock of Life” album is my favourite of his albums, followed closely by the “Living in Oz” album, and “Hard to Hold” after that. The point is that “Living in Oz” and “Hard to Hold” were big albums for him, so we got samplings from each, but not a thing from “Rock of Life.” Just a little disappointing.

A quick note: In looking up the titles to these songs for accuracy, I haven’t been able to find “Who Killed Rock ‘n’ Roll?” The official Rick Springfield website had a timeline which places the song in 2007, but I saw it listed on none of his albums from 2007 and on. I’m also not finding “Wasted.” But on the timeline, I noticed it listed his performance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” I’m pretty sure that’s what I saw. I couldn’t remember which album “It’s Always Something” was on, but I knew the song immediately. It was on “Karma.” I never owned that album, but I borrowed it from the library for a month or so. It was a very good album. I now see the mistake in not going out and buying it immediately.

2 comments :

  1. cool review - FYI the drummer in the kids' band is 7, not 9. And of course they are more of a novelty - they are 7-12. We are glad that you really enjoyed their set though. That was the idea :)

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  2. Thank you for reading. I hope the "novelty band" thing didn't seem derogatory. It wasn't meant to be. I just wanted to put the opinion in perspective, since I did want to still be objective. I do hope they continue playing, and I do hope to see them play again in the future. And honestly, as a drummer he is amazing, regardless of his age.

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