Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rick Springfield Rocked Elgin

Rick Springfield plays
the Hemmens Cultural Center
Elgin, IL - December o4, 2009

Review by B. Dahl
Photos by B. Minett
* The theatre seemed to be filled almost to capacity, from the floor seats to the balcony, despite the cold and snowy weather outside.

* The concert began with a video retrospective of Rick’s career – I never tire of seeing this, and am still hoping they decide to put it out on something sometime so fans will have it as a memento to keep. After seeing all these vintage video clips, it’s only appropriate that ‘Nothing Is Ever Lost’ plays. Then Rodger began the drumming intro to ‘Mr. PC’. Such an energetic way to open the concert; it never ceases to excite me!

* Several songs into the set, Rick mentioned how when he woke up this morning, it was SNOWING outside. He said to himself, “There’s no way I’m gonna sweat on stage tonite” - brief pause with guitar playing - “But I was wrong!” He had already worked up a sweat and had to take off the suit jacket he was wearing.

* He introduced ‘I Get Excited’ by saying it was a song that Rodger “loves to hate”. During the pause between the first and second verse (where Rick used to invited a girl on-stage to sing with him - I’ve finally gotten used to hearing this song minus that stage antic), Rick said how he was surprised this song wasn’t played on “Californication”.

* Also, someone tried to hand him a beer during this song, which he used briefly as a slide. At the end of the song, Rick asked what he was supposed to do with a beer while he was playing the guitar? Then he said that’s how the roses thing got started – with someone trying to hand him roses while he was busy playing his guitar.

* Rick asked who went on the cruise, then said he recognized some in the audience as having been there. He said, “Wasn’t that the most fun you had on the water?” Then added, “Other than on a waterbed with your boyfriend….”

* He wished everyone a Merry Christmas, then corrected himself, saying “Happy Holidays – I mean Happy non-denominational-so-you-don’t-offend-anyone-and-by-the-way-I-see-you’re-an-a$$.......Merry F**kin Christmas.” Which got a roar of approval from the audience.

* When introducing ‘Venus in Overdrive’, Rick joked, saying that if anyone hadn’t got the new CD yet, “please go and get it - not that it’s any good, but because I need to buy Christmas presents for my kids!” He then went on to say how “sucky” he thought it was when performers advertise their records on stage like that, then proceeded to add “Venus in Overdrive” at the end of every thought as he continued to talk about how “classless” (Venus in Overdrive) it was to push an album on people who are there to see you (Venus in Overdrive) and how he would never do that (Venus in Overdrive). Matt was also helping in the background by saying “Venus in Overdrive” very subliminally when Rick wasn’t saying it. Rick also brought on stage an Illinois license plate that read VNUS N OD, which he said looked “really rude”.

* After having the audience practice the “Yeah Yeah” refrain for ‘Venus in Overdrive’, Rick started singing, “Dashing thru the snow…”. The audience supplied the next line, followed by Rick, then the audience again, after which Rick said that was enough Christmas music, and literally jumped into the opening of ‘Venus in Overdrive’.

* The surprise of the night for me was hearing ‘Red Hot & Blue Love’. It sounded amazing live, and I’m glad he decided to add it into the set list, after he and the band had learned it for the ‘Working Class Dog’ concert on the cruise.
* The three cover songs – ‘Fire’, ‘Crossroads’ and ‘Wild Thing’ – all highlighted Rick’s amazing guitar talents. He also displayed some awesome guitar work on the intros for ‘Affair of the Heart’ and ‘Alyson’. One of my favorite things about seeing Rick in concert is watching him play guitar.

* Before ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’, someone gave Rick an animated gingerbread man that danced and played a guitar. Rick imitated the dance movements of the toy, then said there was no way he would be on ‘Dancing with the Stars’. But the audience indicated by their response that they would like to see him on the show.

* After briefly wearing a Birthday B*tch crown that he grab from someone in the audience, catching Rodger smoking on stage, and having a few other fans sing the “don’t talk to strangers” lyrics, Rick brought a young girl named Jackie onto stage. When Rick said, “Ok, Jackie, let’s dance”, and began his funny arms-in-the-air dance moves, Jackie went down on the floor into the splits. This surprised Rick, who then tried to copy her move – but was unable to go as far down on the floor as Jackie did.

* Rick went into the audience for ‘Human Touch’, sans guitar and with a handheld mic. He didn’t seem to go too far back, but made it across both the left and right side of the auditorium.
* A two-song encore – at the end of which Rick pulled Jackie (the ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’ girl) back up on stage, where she did a dance, followed by a cartwheel – so Rick also did a cartwheel. And when Jackie did a handstand – so did Rick. What a way to end an energetic concert!
* Rick’s energy level was very high tonite, with lots of jumping and leg movements, a weird donkey-kick off the drum stand, and much interaction with the audience. He seemed to be enjoying every minute on stage. Matt and George B. were also in a playful mood, joining Rick at the front of the stage and messing around with him, even giving him a ‘Melvin’ at one point! And Matt and Rodger came back for the encore wearing Hemmens Center safety vests, for some unknown reason.
* 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 (snapping photos from the sidelines).
* What he wore: Rick came on-stage wearing a black suit jacket, black pants, white dress shirt with a skinny black tie, and his black high-top shoes with the sparkly embellishments. He had several beaded bracelets on his left wrist and a few braided string bracelets on his right wrist along with his black sweatband. He took off the jacket after a few songs, revealing the rolled-up sleeves of the short-sleeved dress shirt. For the encore, Rick changed into his black sleeveless shirt with the spider design.
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
Fire (Jimi Hendrix cover)
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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