Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Verona, NY Show Review

Turning Stone Casino
October 1, 2017
Review by Mufi Hayes

It had been over a year since I was able to attend a full band show of Rick Springfield's.  There are advantages to that. New set list. Heart has grown fonder aching for a full band show and all the fun it is. The fun? Getting away for a girls' weekend. Me time. Getting to know local friends a little more. Seeing faraway friends I have not seen in forever. Getting their human touch all.

My inner 18 year old (the age I was first smitten by his voice on AM radio and then the images on TV and in magazines) vibrates. I made a few bracelets for him just in case I had the serendipity of running into him. I have done that before. Quick, here you go. He smiles. I might get a hug. That didn't happen. Here is what did. All at the show:

I was fortunate to have a front row center ticket thanks to the good graces of friends. You ladies rock!  You know who you are! The first time I was at Turning Stone in April of 2005, the concert was in the showroom with the tables. Interesting some years a back. Remember him crown surfing walking on those tables. This time it was in the event center. Very nice set up with stage high but not too high to kill the neck. Security at first would not let us stand up at the stage! I talked to them as did others, they told us it was band rules. I said never mind the band’s contract riders, look at Rick and sign language him. He did motion it was OK. We were then right up there after a few songs. Behaving for the most part. I always behave. No grabbing. Yes, there were some who were too raucous I heard after. I only saw two. The people around me were cool for the most part and not pushy. My thing is to get some photos on my phone and then put it away and enjoy the show. Eye contact. Watching those around me. Totally in the moment. Yes, I had props this time. The bracelets? He came and was by me a few times. I showed him I had them. At one point, he sat down on the low speaker thing in front of me and put his hand down so I could put them on him. Still letting that sink in. He let me put them on him. Oh, human touch! Yes, after all these years I still get all "squeeeee!" inside while staying calm with a silly grin on my inner 18 year old face shining out. I put them on carefully but quickly. Oh yes, he came out with the sling on. That got shed early. As did the sport coat (very natty sport coat, Rick. Like it!). I liked he had a button shirt on. Not a tee. I love it when he gets new to me clothing. He worked that stage. Back and forth giving those up front attention as well as the rest of the entire hall. You just know he is soaking it all in. I swear he absorbs energy from it all. I thought he might be antsy without a guitar. But it's obvious he is working it, doing it well without one and not awkwardly. Someone to my left had a blow up party store guitar and gave it to him at one point. He "played" it. Handed it back to the giver. Roses? Of course! A few had been put on the stage before the show by set up crew. Nothing was sacred from his aim with those rose explosions! I did enjoy getting showered with petals a few times and had a few shreds in my hair friends were kind to try to remove. I left them in. Inner 18 year old. I also gathered up some petals to add to a vase of them I have at home. Since 2002 EFX show. 

Now, you know a new album is in the works, The Snake King. It's Halloween in the stores.....you know all those skeleton figurines? Never saw a snake one before last week. You know I bought that sucker just in case. Put a snake skin patterned bow on it. After a few songs and he says: “...have a new album coming out.” Slowly put the snake skeleton on that low stage speaker cabinet in front of me. He took it. Said something about us guys being ahead of the curve and it really is not about a snake, but a character.

The music mix was great (as if Matty would ever disappoint in that regard working the soundboard). George N is something to watch on guitar and more than stepped up with guitar parts as Rick was not playing. Jorge has his own patented drumming style for sure and is just so much fun to watch. Siggy on bass. His energy, I want it bottled and shared. Tim on keyboards is solid. Just solid. (Yes, you know I miss Derek). No buts, Tim is first class pro in his own right. This time, I did not really look at the back screen. Being that close it was all about the people on stage and around me. There was a boy with headphones on (go mom! protecting his ears!) who was sort of pacing behind us. Just in motion the way boys can be. His mom and grandmother trailed him and would correct his course when it was going to go into others. They kept him corralled without tying him down. Rick did have him up on stage for Don't Talk to Strangers. Kid rocked it. Anyone get that on video? His mom was overjoyed. I grabbed her from behind me and put her up to the stage so she could get better pics or video of her son, whatever she was doing with her phone. She talked to me afterwards. She said it was a miracle her son even got up on the stage let alone get into it. That it was a really huge breakthrough for him. I bring this up because it is yet another little story showing that everyone has a story. Things are rarely what they seem to be on the surface at first glance. Glad for her I grabbed her. I got another hug from a cool human being out of it. So....he at some point does Human Touch! Woot! I have this thing about the stuffies claw machine at my local Kmart. I nail that thing every other time. There was a little rust colored monkey. You know that came to the show, too. He's just to my left when he starts Human Touch. I quietly hold the monkey up. He looks, then decides to take it. *grin* Hugged it. Sang the “monkey on her back” lyric and tossed it back to me. I immediately gave it to the boy who got up on stage earlier. Asked him if he'd like it. Asked his mom at same time if it was OK. I don't need it. I have my cherished RS stuff. It is so much fun to pay it forward! He liked it and now has a cool memento of that show. Really charming boy actually in his own way. Rick did go through crowd for Human Touch, too. I did get a hand touch. As he had mentioned about his right arm surgery at the beginning, and why he could not play guitar yet. I think people were for the most part careful of that arm. He had his left hand out for side 5's as he walked along. A security guy was in front of me and Rick, stopped at him, stared him down until the guy high 5'd him. LOL!

I wrote up to here Tuesday morning. Real life at work. The after-show glow is different this time. Because of Sunday at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas - It is possible to compartmentalize. Grab onto the good times, the positive while simultaneously taking stone cold sober hold of other realities and dealing with it. You can light this party up in the moment. To re-energize to be stone cold sober for the realities of this planet. He did play a song from SDAA (my personal favorite album). "Jesus Saves." I will just leave that there.

I love the screen backdrop with various video accompaniment for each song. The lights from that add an energy. My summary? Not a show to be missed if you can help it. Lighting the party up for me with a show like this fills me up for real life! Woot!

This was the set list: (Thanks Darla!)

Light This Party Up (excellent way to launch full speed into his show!)

IGE  (I…..do not miss having folks on stage.  Means more time in show for more songs!)
Affair of the Heart
Jesus Saves
Bop Til You Drop
Love Is Alright Tonight
Our Ship’s Sinking
That One
Human Touch (was amazed he braved the audience surfing with the arm still healing.)
Love Somebody
Jessie’s Girl

Photos by Darla Gerken