Rick Springfield Entertains KSU Tuscarawas Audience With Stories And Music
January 7, 2018
Rick Springfield, the 1980s TV heart-throb and platinum selling artist, brought his solo acoustic tour to the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University Tuscarawas campus. The appropriately titled Stripped Down tour featured Springfield sitting center stage with his computer and a variety of guitars surrounding him.
Springfield noted that some songs needed additional background vocals or rhythm guitar and that was the reason for his computer on stage. He said that he recorded all of those parts which led him to quip, “So you are getting four or five of me. That could be a good thing or bad thing depending if you like me or not.”
This was a very entertaining show where Springfield told many stories about his upbringing and the origins of songs. He also interacted with the audience, was funny, engaging and, oh yeah, the guy can play a mean guitar.
After “Affair Of The Heart,” he told a story about growing up in Australia, being an army brat and moving around a lot. He showed images of himself as a youngster riding a camel in Egypt, walking through the ruins of Pompeii and traveling to the Palace of Versailles in France.
Not a bad childhood.
However, when he returned to Australia as a fourteen-year old, he learned to play guitar and that’s all he wanted to do. He played guitar so much that his grades suffered and was actually not invited back for his senior year after receiving a three percent average during his junior year.
He joined a couple of bands, one of which was invited to play overseas. Springfield thought “England or the United States would be incredible!’ However, he and his band were sent to Viet Nam to play for the troops. He played a snippet of The Doors' “Light My Fire” and a great version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” which represented that era.
“Love Is Alright Tonight” and a clever mash-up of “Jessie’s Girl,” “Stacy’s Mom” and “867-5309/Jenny” was played in the middle of the set.
Then Springfield did something that I have never seen in concert before. He got out his phone, opened up a guitar app and played “Inside Sylvia” on his virtual guitar.
Proving that virtual reality can only go so far, during “Human Touch” Rick went out into the audience, hugged and high-fived fans and even took a couple of selfies before returning to the stage.
Showing off his guitar prowess, Springfield broke out a dobro and played the blues classic “Rolling and Tumbling.” He mentioned that he has a new blues-based album titled The Snake King that is set to be released in a couple of weeks.
In a touching moment, Springfield said that his dad passed away over thirty years ago, but he just lost his mother last year at the age of 93. He dedicated “4 Billion Heartbeats” and “My Father’s Chair” to his parents. On the latter, he walked out in front of the stage and sang without a microphone. You could have heard a pin drop.
This fun and entertaining show ended with his number one smash “Jessie’s Girl.”
California singer-songwriter Jennifer Lynn Simpson opened the show with a nice set of acoustic originals.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this beautiful venue; it was the first time that I've been to the Performing Arts Center and hopefully it won’t be my last.
The 1,100 seat auditorium has a unique set up. It has a typical floor seating setup which hosts a gradual decline to the stage. The uniqueness comes from the horseshoe shaped upper level; starting a few feet from either side of the stage, the second level gradually rises up to the back of the horseshoe where the balcony is located. This creates great sight lines and the acoustics in the venue are fantastic.
Photos and review by Greg Drugan