Two Australian rock bands meet a New York City rocker. Rick Springfield and The Little River Band are the bands from Oceania accompanied by Eddie Money, former NYPD Brooklyn Police Officer turned rocker. These acts are playing at The Mac Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa on June 6 2014. All of these entertainers are in their mid-60’s and living on a dedicated fan base that knows every word to every song. I am intimately familiar with Eddie Money and Rick Springfield, not so much with The Little River Band.
Felt like I needed a Flux Capacitor and Michael J. Fox as a wing-man
Back in the ’80s, I was a young gun into the NYC party scene like The Palladium, The Roxy, The Limelight and of course Studio 54 in Manhattan. I worked at Escapes which was one of those all-male revues like Chippendale’s, that was for women celebrating bachelorette parties, but less theatrical and famous. So to say this was my first concert of an ’80s band would be slightly inaccurate but if you said that it was the first time I saw a bunch of 60 year olds playing 30+ year old songs, that would be extremely accurate. I, now, live in Las Vegas so if I do catch a show, it is probably more mainstream like Rod Stewart, Elton John, U2, Celine Dion or even Brittany Spears. Maybe I am a bit jaundiced when it comes to celebrities because to run into a few celebs a few times a week is par for the course living here especially since I cover most of the concerts and shows for review. Which brings me to my problem writing this. I really didn’t like the show. And that makes me sad.
Ok, so I didn’t like the show. And for that I apologize. I am not sure when certain rockers need to be mandatory retired but in the case of Eddie Money and The Little River Band, if you check on their mics, I am sure you can see the faint expiration date and if you squint you will see their days of being fresh, relevant or even a semi-draw are at best in their distant past. They all did their hit songs and Eddie Money was definitely trying but, the vocals aren’t there anymore and to watch a 65 year old try that hard was heartbreaking. Would have been better off just lip synching to his 8-tracks. The Little River Band was greeted by, “I forgot they did that song.” The was almost the same thing said by everyone between songs and these were “music people.”
How I came to be at The Mac Center in Iowa
Recently rediscovering Rick Springfield and writing two article about him for Yahoo! Voices Music and Yahoo! Voices Movies, I was really up here in the middle of nowhere in Council Bluffs, Iowa to see Rick Springfield. It’s my first Rick Springfield concert that was born from a movie I saw on Netflix. Read about that movie in my Yahoo! Voices Movie article, Movie Review: Rick Springfield: “An Affair of the Heart”. I kinda wrote these articles on Rick Springfield in reverse order after experiencing the fan sub-culture first hand after the first article was published. Read the first article I wrote on Yahoo! Music, Rick Springfield..’80s Rocker to Spiritual Leader of Rock and Roll and see my epiphany first hand.
Highlight of the night but still was a bit disappointing
I came here for two reasons. First to experience Rick Springfield and get a further understanding of what fuels a subculture as loyal as the Rick Springfield fan base. The second was to watch the fans. For me, these fans are a bigger story than the artist. I wanted to see them sing along, cry when he jumped on the stage and throw him the bouquets of flowers that he uses to mimic Pete Townsend’s “windmill move” and decapitate the flower heads from the stems on the guitar strings. I wasn’t disappointed with the fans. They brought an energy and they knew Rick. You could tell the same audience would have been there even if Eddie Money and Little River Band weren’t. Rick was the attraction and I get why. He plays to his fans. Many songs with choruses that were solely sung by his fans. An extended version of “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” was good and resulted in the “death” of many flowers but it seemed too rehearsed. It was my first show, but I had that deja-vu experience that I saw this before. Maybe it was my vantage point seeing the show from backstage. I will see if that changes next weekend when I attend the concert in Primm, Nevada and it is just Rick and I am in the audience like the rest of his fans.
Highlight of the night but still was a bit disappointing
Rick was the definite draw for me and his 75 minute show was good but I was a bit disappointed. I am positive I wasn’t alone because I saw it as I decided to take a walk thru the first and second mezzanines and the further I got from the stage the more disconnected the fans were. As I walked back towards the backstage area, I realized why. Rick was playing to only a small part of the audience. He was concentrating so hard on the VIP fans in the front row areas that he neglected the rest of the Arena. I can see why he does this because the high paying fans that pay for the additional, “Meet and Greet” and the “Sound Check” VIP packages are the devout and they are the ones that Rick uses to insulate himself. His sound on the stage is ok. But like I said, it is filled with too much audience singing sessions and fits of laughter from him, which was weird. I felt like I was a a Jimmy Buffet show where the crowd ran the place.
Before you get upset at this review
This isn’t a review, but more of a report. I am not being critical of Rick, Eddie or the River Little band. I can’t do what they do and therefore reserve judgment on grading their talent. I am just telling you what my first experience was with Rick Springfield and one of his concerts. I am in a vacuum with this report. I have no benchmark for comparison and need more experiences to see if the show is different depending on the venue and the size of the arena. It’s impossible to say that these factors wouldn’t factor in. It’s like trying to compare a minor league baseball game to one at Yankee Stadium. So now I have some explaining to do to some “Rick Chicks.” I am sure 107.7 MIXX Radio Personality Doreen Harkema will be disappointed that I was not thrilled. Maybe because I am a guy and don’t droll over his looks like some fans do. Maybe because I tuned in so late to Rick’s talent. I appreciated the show. Was it the best I have ever seen, probably not. I would say a few nights at Madison Square Garden, like a recent U2 show and the 25th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert were amazing shows and this one was okay.
Bear with me
Might take me sometime to get to the next level. I am not giving up yet and plan on continuing trying to figure out this whole Rick Springfield “thing.” You all have a huge head-start on me and need to cut me some slack and wait till I get some concrete experience. I am looking forward to the next show on June 14th and hoping that this performance without other entertainers brings out the “real” Rick Springfield. Let me figure this out and please reserve judgment on my report and allow us to agree to disagree for now if you were at his show and thought it was the greatest show in your life.
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More content from this contributor:
Movie Review: Rick Springfield: “An Affair of the Heart”
Rick Springfield..’80s Rocker to Spiritual Leader of Rock and Roll
Will We Be Immortals?
Have Aliens Already Visited Earth?
Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down