Rick Springfield, 80’s Grammy Award winning artist was back in Atlanta last night playing at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center as part of his nationwide tour to promote his latest album “Songs for the End of the World.”
Springfield hit the music big time in 1981 with his No. 1 hit “Jessie’s Girl” the song that won him that year’s Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. He followed with four more top 10 US hits, “I’ve Done Everything for You,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “Affair of the Heart” and “Love Somebody.” His two US top 10 albums are Working Class Dog (1981) and Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet (1982). During his career, which shows no signs of slowing down, he has sold more than 20 million albums and has had 17 Top 40 hits.
He is also an accomplished actor, recently playing himself on Californication but he is best remembered for playing Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital from 1981 to 1983 and during 2005 to 2008. In 2010, Springfield published his autobiography, “Late, Late at Night: A Memoir.”
It’s a function of his many talents that Rick Springfield has a very broad and very loyal fan base; it’s also a function of the respect and regard he has for his fans that creates that loyalty. While he has many talents, music is his first love and performing it live is his passion. On stage he thrives off the crowd’s energy while they feed off his; it’s a perfect relationship and one that he does his best to perpetuate playing more than 100 shows annually.
Last night Springfield played to a wildly enthusiastic mostly female crowd. He played for more than 90 minutes and he included a lot of new music off his latest album release which has received some very good reviews.
One fan, Nancy Bataille, travelled with Amy Provost and Kathie Donnelly from Tampa to see him perform. She’s a huge fan, one of the most loyal. In all she has seen him more than 20 times, been on a Rick Springfield cruise and taken a Rick Springfield Cancun vacation. When asked what Springfield’s appeal was, she didn’t have to think about the response, ‘…we love his accessibility to his fans, his heart, his soul, his music and willingness to include all of us in his life.’
Amy and Kathie are equally passionate about Springfield. Amy had him sign her shoulder after one concert and then went straight to a tattoo parlor to convert the signature into a permanent one. After this concert they all volunteered to help sell tour merchandise in the lobby because they love to be involved with the concert rather than just fans.
The Cobb Energy Arts Center was full of fans just like these three women and, as Bataille said Springfield made himself accessible to them. He invited fans up on stage to have them sing along to ‘Don’t talk to strangers’, stepped off the stage and clambered over the seats to be in the midst of the fans and sing ‘Human Touch.’ Everyone had a great time and its the fun that they have that keeps them all, the fans and Springfield alike, coming back for more.
As for the music, Springfield and his band played a very tight, upbeat set which had everyone dancing in the aisles for the entire show. He mixed up the show with some great live versions from his new album including ‘I hate myself’ where the audience joined in.
The biggest reaction came for his classic hits, and Springfield teased his fans by playing the opening riffs to ‘Jessie’s Girl’ several times during the concert before launching into it at the end: A great finish to a great evening of high energy live music. Nancy, Kathie and Amy left the concert and prepared for the drive back to Tampa already thinking about the next road-trip or cruise or Cancun vacation they might take to watch and hear Rick Springfield enjoy playing for his fans again. They certainly weren’t the only ones thinking about it either, Rick Springfield mentioned it on stage!