Review/photos – Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
Lewiston, NY – For fans of 80’s music, there was no other place in the world to be other than Artpark in Lewiston, NY, when multi-platinum superstar artists- Rick Springfield, Loverboy and Tommy Tutone gathered together to perform on a perfect summer evening for one of this seasons most anticipated Artpark concert events
Unlike many of the 80’s nostalgia package tours playing around North America this summer, this unique line-up was a special one off event. Predictably, a good portion of the 3500 people in attendance consisted of middle age females, who were there to see Rick Springfield, and likely worshiped him during their teenage years. Although the American-Australian musician was very prevalent during the 1980’s with his top 10 hit “Jessie’s Girl,” and his stint as Dr. Noah Drake on the popular soap opera General Hospital, he has been rocking audiences non-stop for decades. Springfield’s most recent release, the blues-based “Snake King” is one of the most innovative records of his career.
Springfield hit the stage at just before 9 pm, and played an intense, high-energy 60 minute long set. Springfield must have discovered the fountain of youth because he looked incredibly physically fit for someone who is about to turn 70. Springfield swooned the audience with his charm and his reckless rockstar attitude. He is still a very dynamic frontman and was backed by an incredible band, consisting of seasoned musicians- Sigve (Siggy) Sjursen – Bass, Tim Gross – Keyboards & Guitar, George Nastos – Lead Guitar and Jorge Palacios – Drums. This band did double duty by also backing up the first band on the bill Tommy Tutone.
Springfield performed a good mix of classics, with a couple of newer tracks. “This one is from one of my most recent records, that nobody bought,” joked Springfield before playing the hard-hitting “Little Demon” from his 2018 ‘Snake King’ blues-infused record. Springfield played some very impressive slide guitar on this track. It clearly showed that he is more than just a pretty face and has some serious musical skills.
A few songs into the performance, Springfield announced to the audience that he has a big birthday coming up soon on August 23th. “I can’t believe this, but little Ricky is turning 70!!! He added, “How the fuck did this happen!!!” He then encouraged the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to him.
During the 1982 hit-single, “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” Springfield threw a microphone (that he repeatedly said cost $300) into the audience and encouraged whoever caught it to sing along. After a few minutes of off key singing and fans yelling into the microphone -“I love you Rick!” – Springfield called for the mic back and joked that some people sang a few of the notes right, and others seemed like they were singing for the very first time in their lives.
The next song up was the 1983 single, “Human Touch.” Springfield walked into audience, giving hi-fives and quite frankly putting his life in danger as a mass of people reached out trying to touch him. When he returned to the stage (noting, “you’re a bunch of crazy motherfuckers,”) he certainly seemed a bit relieved that he was on safe grounds again.
The show ended with an intense version of the hit single, “Jessie’s Girl.” This of course came as no surprise as this was the song that helped take a struggling Springfield to the tops of the charts and on to mega-stardom. It seemed as if, like the audience, Rick didn’t want the show to end as he kept extending the out chorus. When he finally did finish the song, the concert ended and, much to the dismay of the audience, he did not come back on for an additional encore. Springfield apparently subscribes to the old adage, always leave them wanting more. Well, he certainly did.
Overall, Springfield dominated this evening, winning over any doubters that may have mistakenly thought that he was nothing more than just a washed up pin-up star from the 80’s. As far as musicians, Springfield is the real deal and a true one-of-a-kind star that still puts on truly amazing and highly entertaining show.
Rick Springfield’s Setlist
Light This Party Up
I’ve Done Everything for You
I’m So Excited
Affair of the Heart
Medley – Bop ‘Til You Drop / Bruce / 867-5309/Jenny / Jessie’s Girl / Don’t Walk Away / Rock of Life / What Kind of Fool Am I
The Voodoo House
Don’t Talk to Strangers
Prior to Springfield’s performance, the Canadian classic rockers Loverboy played a well received, 10 song, co-headlining set. This band was fired up and ready to deliver.
Loverboy dominated the 80’s radio and album sales charts with such hits as “Turn Me Loose,” “Working for the Weekend,” and “When It’s Over.” All three were played this evening to the delight of the audience.
The band currently consists of four original members- Mike Reno (vocals), Paul Dean (guitar), Doug Johnson (keyboards), Matt Frenette (drums)- along with Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve (bass). Original bassist Scott Smith was tragically swept overboard during a boating accident on November 30, 2000. His body was never found.
Highlights of Loverboy’s set, besides Mike Reno’s spot on vocals and Matt Frenette’s incredible drumming, included an intense extended guitar solo by Paul Dean during “Loving Every Minute of It” and a jazz influenced saxophone / piano solo by Doug Johnson towards the end of “Take Me to the Top.”
Queen of the Broken Hearts
Take Me to the Top
The Kid Is Hot Tonite
Lovin’ Every Minute of It
Hot Girls In Love
Turn Me Loose
Working for the Weekend
Opening the show in the blazing sun was Tommy Tutone, who is certainly the classic example of a one hit wonder. Tommy Tutone, which is actually a band, fronted by lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Tommy Heath, was accompanied by Rick Springfield’s backing band on this evening.
Tommy Tutone’s 1981 chart topping song, “8675309 Jenny,” has fueled Heath’s career for almost 40 years. Their short set ended with a long, audience participation version of “8675309 Jenny.”
Special thanks to Maria Hays for the credentials to cover this event.
For more on Rick Springfield, please visit www.rickspringfield.com
For more on Loverboy, please visit www.loverboyband.com
For more on Tommy Tutone, please visit www.tutone.com
For more on events at Artpark, Lewiston, NY www.artpark.net