Friday, May 8, 2009

Rick Springfield's annual Milwaukee fest begins!

May 7th 2009
Milwaukee WI
Review by: B Dahl
Photo by Laura Hoppe

Here's the set list from Thurs, May 7th- in Milwaukee, followed by brief comments and observations.

Mr. PC
What’s Victoria’s Secret?
Affair of the Heart
Living in Oz
I’ve Done Everything for You
Speak to the Sky (first verse)
Twist and Shout (Beatles)
Venus in Overdrive
I’ll Miss That Someday
Love is Alright Tonite
I Get Excited
Don’t Talk to Strangers
Please Don’t Tease (Cliff Richards & the Shadows)
Love Somebody
Human Touch
Jessie’s Girl

* The concert began with a video retrospective of Rick’s career – always fun to see, as it brings back lots of memories - appropriately followed by “Nothing Is Ever Lost” playing from a recording before Rodger crashed into the drum intro to Mr. PC. The high energy of this drum intro combined with the flashing lights really sets the tone for the whole concert: you know you are going to be in for a rockin' good time!

* There were none of the usual cover songs and no freakin’ medley. The only non-Springfield songs were the Beatle tune (which didn’t seem to have been planned) and the song by Cliff Richards and the Shadows.

* Someone had given Rick a harmonica, which he said was in the wrong key to play any Beatles songs, but he was going to play one anyway, one that usually doesn’t have a harmonica part. That’s when he played/sang “Twist and Shout”. Rodger tried to end it sooner that Rick wanted, and he told Rodger that he was running the show, even though Rodger thought he was because he was tour managing now.

* Rick introduced “Please Don’t Tease” by saying that it was the first song he learned to play on the guitar. After playing the song, he said how you could hear the influence of this band on his early songs, and his “Springfield” sound.

* I always like hearing Rick sing “Speak to the Sky” in concert. It brings back memories of when I first heard that song all those years ago and first became a Rick Springfield fan. Who knew it would continue several decades later?!

* It seems like I’ll never get used to hearing “Love is Alright Tonite” in the middle of the set. I always get sad when I hear it, because it used to signal the end of the concert. Even with it in the middle of the set, I still felt that way.

* Yes, IGE was complete with IGE girl under the guitar. After the first verse, Rick asked who knew the words and chose the girl he said had her hand up first. She didn’t start singing them right away, but made Rick sing, too, and she joined in.

* Rick didn’t spend too much time trying to get people to sing during DTTS. And every time he tried to have someone sing, the mic wouldn’t work. Rick was blaming Matty (sound guy) for not turning it on, and asked the audience to give Matty a one-finger salute each time.

* Rick put on the wireless mic and guitar for “Love Somebody”, but stayed on the stage to sing. (And it was introduced with the usual “That’s a lot of young girls who saw my naked butt” line.) He then took off the mic and guitar and grabbed a hand mic to come out in the audience for ‘Human Touch”. He made it pretty much throughout the whole audience downstairs, but didn’t go into the balcony.

* During “Jessie’s Girl”, Rick sang the line “Where can I find a woman like that?”, and paused for a few seconds and then repeated it a few times. It’s always good to see the different ways Rick can change up this classic song to keep it fresh.

* A two-song encore – and it was shirtless! What more could you ask for to end a rockin’ night of music?!

* Rick said he had hurt his throat when performing in Vegas, and therefore he was singing a little softer than usual tonight. His singing did sound different – he didn’t seem to be screaming as much as he usually does – but it didn’t affect the performance of the songs at all. I wondered if that was why there were so many more guitar intros to songs than usual. Sometimes I wasn’t sure what song was being introduced, as Rick really played around with the beginning of songs. Whatever the case, watching/hearing Rick play around with the music was a great addition.

* He also seemed extra chatty tonite:

- - Rick said that being here was like playing at home, in his living room. He said he recognized about half the audience and “knew them personally.”

-- He mentioned being on Californication, and said he will play himself, with a twist: he will be a 1982 version Rick Springfield.

- - He ask who was going on the cruise, and said there had been more guests added, but he couldn’t say who and to wait for an announcement soon about Yannick Bisson.

- - He briefly said he’d be touring in Australia in the fall.

-- When introducing “Venus in Overdrive”, he called it "the new record - at least until the next one comes out, probably at the end of the year”.

-- He mentioned the charity baseball game on Saturday, and ask for someone to find out the details. (They did, and announced the time and place.)

*Rick pointed out Matt’s broken ankle (he was sitting on a stool to play bass), and told the story about how it was broken, trying to rescue his “puffy” dog from a coyote. I couldn’t even begin to relate the story the way Rick told it; he is a great storyteller, and he acted it out very dramatically and hysterically. (Yes, Matt saved his dog.)

* Despite – or maybe because? – of having to sing softer, Rick’s energy level was very high tonite, with lots of jumping and leg movements. He didn’t break any guitars, and didn’t even throw any up in the air to catch. In fact, he even seemed to lay them down lovingly on the floor. However, there were several rose explosions.

* Who was there: all the usual suspects - Rick on lead guitar and vocals, Derek on keyboards, Matt on bass, George B. on guitar, Rodger on drums, sound guy Mattie, guitar tech George II, and the always pleasant Dave at the merch table.

* What he wore: Rick wore a grey sleeveless shirt with a black vest, grey dress pants (which made his look extremely thin and tall), and his black high-top shoes with the sparkly embellishments. Midway thru, his shirt was soaked and he changed into a baseball jersey (with Gomer and a numeral 1 on the back) – but only after performing IGE with guitar girl while he was shirtless. He was also shirtless for the encore.

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