Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rick Springfield in KC

December o5, 2009

The Midlands

Kansas City, MO

Review: B Dahl
Photo: B. Minett

* The Midlands is a remodeled historic theatre in downtown Kansas City . It has elaborate ceiling and wall decorations, as was popular in older theatres. Though the setting was beautiful, the ambience really didn’t suit the energy of a rock concert. A good-sized crowd was in attendance, though I’m unsure how close to a sell-out it was.

* There was an opening act, whose name I never did hear. They were fairly decent musicians, and didn’t make the wait for Rick unbearable, as sometimes opening acts can. The lead singer looked like an imitation of Rick, as he had shoulder-length hair, was wearing a suit jacket and tie with blue jeans, had on high-topped sneakers, and played guitar. The opening band played a lot of cover songs, and seemed to have a following of fans in the audience, who sang along to some of the songs I didn’t recognize.

* No screen for the opening video retrospective of Rick’s career, so the concert just began with ‘Nothing Is Ever Lost’ playing, then Rodger banging out the ‘Mr. PC’ intro.

* During the first break between songs, Rick pointed out the ray gun that was sitting on top the speakers (seen in the background of photo). He made sure that a spotlight was put on it, and explained how Mancow (a Chicago DJ) had given it to him last night (in Elgin , IL ). He said the two of them were “probably the only two guys in all of America who collect this crap”.

* He introduced ‘Jet’ by saying it was his new single out on iTunes. This is a song that Rick was meant to play live!

* After having the audience practice the Yeah Yeah portion of “Venus in Overdrive’, with the aide of two audience members holding up their YEAH YEAH signs, Rick briefly mentioned the holidays, saying, “I’m only gonna say it once: Merry Christmas!” Then he launched into the opening chords of ‘Venus in Overdrive’.

* After playing ‘Red Hot & Blue Love’ (a great new addition to the set!), Rick said that “for a two and a half minute song, it sure has so many frickin’ chords and changes”. And, he said, for some reason, people thought he only wrote songs with two chords!

* For the ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’ chorus, Rick choose a few audience members up front to sing, before picking on a security guy, Ed, who he told, “Girls like that when you sing.” Then he brought a young girl on stage, and was surprised by George N bringing up another young girl from the other side of the stage. While Rick was talking to one of the girls, Matt stole away the other girl and put her on the drum stand behind Rodger. When Rick told the girls to dance, he followed the lead of the girl on stage, who was waving her arms and jumping from side-to-side. It’s amazing that he has as much energy as 10-year-old girls!

* Rick waded out into the audience for ‘Human Touch’, sans guitar and with a handheld mic. He went into rows fairly far back, but stayed mainly in the middle of the theatre, and he fell a few times while walking across the chairs. Once back on-stage, he was given a flashing Christmas-light necklace, which he wore for the final song. Earlier on in the show, someone had given him an elf hat with attached ears, which he put on, saying, “I’m not afraid to look silly” – though he only wore it briefly.

* A two-song encore – I was hoping to maybe hear ‘Wasted’ or ‘Jesus Saves’, both really rockin’ songs with which to end a high-energy show, but it was the usual cover song ‘Wild Thing’ instead, followed by ‘Kristina’ (which I always sing as “Rick Springfield, take me away…..”)

* Rick’s energy level was very high again tonite, even though early on in the concert he asked George N to bring him some tea, saying he’d screamed his voice out last night ( Elgin , IL concert). Matt and George B. were in a playful mood again tonight also, with Matt rushing forward to towel the sweat off Rick’s brow a few times. Of course, Rick then had to jokingly extend other body parts for Matt to wipe off (underarms, behind).

* 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 N, and crew guy Buzz.

* What he wore: Rick had on a black vest, a short-sleeved light gray dress shirt with a white collar and rolled-up sleeves, a skinny black tie, light gray checked pants, and his black high-top shoes with the sparkly embellishments. He again wore several beaded bracelets on his left wrist and a sweatband on his right wrist. For the encore, he changed into a faded black sleeveless shirt.

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

Red Hot & Blue Love

Don’t Talk to Strangers
Love Somebody
Human Touch
Jessie’s Girl
Wild Thing


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