Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rick Springfield rocks the house for "Voices of Uganda"

March 19th 2009
Key Club on Sunset Blvd
"Voices of Uganda."
Review by: Laurie Bennett
Rick Springfield's "Airplane Girl"

Several brave California fans braved the cold breeze (okay, I know - cold to US) to wait outside for a good spot once inside. Having not seen Rick yet in 2009, we were all excited. About an hour before the doors opened, the venue set up a check in table for Press and VIPs. I managed to get a sneak at the list, and recognized at least the names of the Landon family - as in Michael, or "Pa" from Little House on the Prairie TV show fame. Mr. Landon passed away in 1991, but his wife, son and daughter were in attendance. In fact, his wife Cindy was a major organizer of the event, and apparently is who got Rick involved in the cause. Jackie Zeman was also in attendance, looking smashing in an all black outfit. Too bad she was talking on her phone, or I would asked her if she had as much fun on the cruise as I did. After soundcheck, we got a wave from Rick and even Barbie as well as they went to and from their limo. The whole gang waved again to us after they returned from dinner, with Rick yelling to us, "You're Early!" (of course - it's a General Admission show!).

The venue itself was great - very small and intimate, with a balcony where most of the VIPs were sitting for dinner. It didn't look like there was going to be a large crowd for the show, but the place did ultimately fill up nicely. The opening band came on late, did about 5 songs and were very entertaining. The Landon son, Sean, was a guitarist in the band, and the Landon daughter (Jennifer, an Emmy winning actress) was in attendance as well. A friend told me several times who the guest lead singer was, and I've forgotten again. I think he was a winner on the reality show SuperNova or Rockband or something. He did an amazing rendition of Billy Idol's Rebel Yell.

During intermission, the event organizers were up on stage explaining the cause and their choice to support it. Northern Uganda has been involved in a civil war for 22 years (!). The "rebels" routinely abduct children for soldiers and sex slaves. Monies raised promote getting the word out to the public, and the politicians who represent us, about the atrocities happening in that country, referred to as the "Silent War." All in attendance were encouraged to sign preprinted letters to be sent to our local politicians. Several items were up for auction - a $1500 black Prada bag, a guitar signed by all the members of Maroon 5 (for $1700), and 2 very expensive Fender guitars donated and autographed by Rick, each selling for $1300, plus all the ticket sales (at $50-$350), and the use of the venue was provided free. We watched a short video interviewing teenagers in Uganda. Check out for more information, to donate, and to watch the video we saw.

An hour after scheduled, Rick finally appeared and was very excitedly received by the crowd. He wore a dark plaid sleeveless button down shirt, blue jeans, and the new rhinestone dazzled shoes. There were several rose smashes (roses provided for him, I didn't see any fans with flowers) but no guitar smashes. He performed for about one hour, giving us song after song to pack in as much entertainment as possible. At one point he said a few words, saying he was here for the cause and not to promote his own music. Then a fan held up the new MPLO CD, and Rick pointed to it, "Well, she brought it up. Yes, I have a new album of lullabies out." And then back to the music. Later, he did thank all of us for coming (since the ticket price was a donation) and told us "we all go straight to Heaven for this one." The set list was: Nothing is Ever Lost as opening music played on the sound system, then Rick performing Mr. PC, What's Victoria's Secret, Affair of the Heart, Living in Oz, I've Done everything for You, Allyson, Venus in Overdrive (with audience participation on the "Yeah Yeah" part), Love is Alright, Don't Talk to Strangers, Cross Roads (cover), Love Somebody and Jessie's Girl. Eddie Money's daughter Jessie joined Rick on stage to add her voice to the chorus. Overall, while Rick was not as interactive with the audience as at a normal show, his energy was high as always and it was obvious he was having a great time.

While I sure missed the usual audience surfing and an encore, the jam packed set sure got a bunch of people who may not be familiar with Rick's music (at all, or at least, currently) really rocking, and everyone in the room seemed to enjoy the evening. There were at least 3 Press photographers in attendance, one even from Billboard. He told me he was asked to attend, and having never seen Rick perform before, I replied he was in for a good time and would be much impressed. I think after the show, he agreed.
Laurie Bennett
Rick Springfield's "Airplane Girl"

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