Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A New York State Affair of the Heart-Rick Springfield

September 2nd 2009
New York State Fair

Syracuse, NY
review & photo by:
Pam Geiger

A New York State Affair of the Heart

Where else can one find wine slushies, duck races, butter and sand sculptures, vacuums that pick up bowling balls, haircuts, massages, manicures, an American Iron Chef, and Rick Springfield? Why it’s the New York State Fair of course!

The mid week fair day was perfection; the sun was shining and temperatures were moderate. People all around were truly enjoying their day with the carnival rides, livestock, fried dough, ice cream, and pastries only New York’s water can make; and that vibe of true enjoyment would last throughout.

The Chevrolet Court, or Chevy Court as it is referred to, is the smaller, general admission, venue of the fair that offers great accessibility to wheelchair assistance and hearing impaired individuals, by providing assigned seating and a sign language interpreter. When planning the fair this year, much attention was paid to this particular venue as a major goal was to attract record breaking attendance numbers despite the economy by providing the best possible value for the admission price; and talk about value, fairgoers got Bobby Flay followed by Rick Springfield all on one stage, in one day - awesome!

The waiting time of the day was long, but was always filled with something to do, and it was cool to hear some of “Rick’s Jukebox” selections playing during the wait. As the sun began to set and songs from VIO began to play, the large crowd was treated to the cruise promo video. After the video and true to fair custom, we had to sit through a few speakers. The first gentleman, who after making some very Mr. Anti PC comments, told those in the first ten rows to remain seated for the show. This was to ensure the hearing impaired and wheelchair accessible people were able to see and everyone happily obliged. The next speaker, a favorite of mine, NY Senator Chuck Schumer, spoke about the success of the fair and told us we would all be Jessie’s Girls for the night. Finally, Rick was introduced by a local radio personality.

The crowd was treated to very adrenaline infused Rick belting into “Mr. PC” and “What’s Victoria’s Secret”. This was a show where something memorable happened during every song, Rick played with some of his rarely seen (and pretty good!) dance moves, and his best known hits shone.

After “Living in Oz” Rick addressed the audience for the first time to ask why stuffed animals were being thrown at him. Picking up a bear wearing a shirt with “60”on it, he jokingly asked, “Go?” “I Get Excited” was then introduced with the questions, “How many of you really knew what this song meant when it first came out?” and “How many of you get it now? “ I’ve Done Everything for You” had Rick flirting with his finger points to the very enthusiastic and awesome sign language interpreter, and “Jet”…”I thought the major” (…oops, I kind of get hung up on that one!) And... “Jet” was a sure crowd and Rick pleaser; lots of Rick smiles were directed towards a gentleman in the second row who stood and rocked to the song wearing a Paul McCartney “Driving USA Tour” shirt.

It was obvious from the beginning of the show guitar issues were going to be bountiful, and although he didn’t know it at the time, Rick prepared for the biggest guitar issue of the night by changing his shirt on stage right before “Venus in Overdrive”. Within the first few seconds of VIO, guitar #1 was gone. Within the first minute of VIO, guitar #2 was gone, and while guitar #3 was being prepared, we were treated to a Rick Springfield sans guitar. Rick Springfield a la sans guitar has always brought me back to those Solid Gold days of his awkward bopping, but age has done this man well and I personally would like to see this more often!

“Don’t Talk to Strangers” was the highlight of the night. Rick’s prey for the song included Sergio, a New York State Trooper. Rick didn’t recognize the state wide famous purple ribbon troopers wear, and asked “what” he was, finding out he was a trooper, Rick made Sergio promise if he stopped anyone and the person mentioned the show, they would get a free pass. Moving on to the next pushover, Rick found a 74 year old English woman who played along quite humorously. The children portion of the song included a crowd the likes I had yet to see. No fewer than twelve children got on stage and danced and sang to an up-tempo DTTS. Rick even went past the usual arm sway and joined in on the dancing with some kicks. Since there were so many of them, Buzz escorted the children backstage to safely ensure their return to the waiting parents.

Not convinced he could top DTTS, Rick proved me wrong. He gave the audience a “Love Somebody” at center stage with no headset and a “Human Touch” that sent him far back in the crowd walking on the skinny backs of the bleachers. In return, the crowd gave Rick a roar like no other I have heard when those first famous chords of “Jessie’s Girl” were played, and always ever present performer, he reciprocated with the newer, anticipation filled JG arrangement - full of breaks and starts, and searches, and points, and crescendos, and a full Rick Springfield JG jump!

While waiting for the encore, I was looking up at the full moon and enjoying the beautiful weather. August in central New York is known for its warm days and cool nights…and cool nights mean clothes. Certainly there was too much of a chill for a shirtless encore, right? WRONG! On stage walks a shirtless Rick offering his best “Wild Thing” with a dirty little peek down his pants during, “So come on and hold IT tight“. Yes, “It” not “Me”! The show ended with “Kristina” and extra long Rick Hug.

Leaving the venue I saw tons of people, both men and women, holding vinyl RS records, waiting for Rick and hoping for a signature. I headed out for last round of fried dough and thought although the slogan for New York State is “I ‘heart’ NY”, for this night, the slogan was New Yorkers ‘heart’ Rick Springfield.

Set List

Mr. PC

What’s Victoria’s Secret

Affair of the Heart

Living in Oz

I Get Excited

I’ve Done Everything for You



Venus in Overdrive

I’ll Miss That Someday

Love is Alright Tonite

Crossroads Blues

Don’t Talk to Strangers

Love Somebody

Human Touch

Jessie’s Girl

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Wild Thing


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