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    As a child of the eighties I only knew Berlin from their signature sexy song from the movie Top Gun (“Take My Breath Away”), and as far as Mr. Rick Springfield…well…all I had was “Jessie’s Girl” from 1981.  So I literally donned my ripped jeans and OP shirt, and happily accepted this assignment.

    Berlin was great, and actually must have a time machine because they all looked more beautiful than I remember from junior high (or maybe I really am getting older).

     Then the Man took the stage.  No drama, no pyro, no “Hello Cleveland!”, he was just there.  The song he played…I couldn’t tell ya’, but he was into it, as was I, from my seat in the third row.  The lady next to me was having trouble with her seat so I offered to switch.  Then her friend was having trouble with her new seat, so I switched as well.  This went on for several round-robin episodes until I found myself without a seat.  (Yes, chivalry is now officially dead to me – as far as Rick Springfield concerts go.)

    Mr. Springfield  put on a terrific show.  Slowly through his performance, he even started to lose his clothes.  Leather jacket at first; of course, it’s hot under those lights.   Then his outer shirt; why not show us that Iggy Pop physique you’ve managed to keep over the last three decades – give the ladies a show!  On each song he hinted toward “Jessie’s Girl”, and then the girls went wild so he lost another bit of clothing.  But I didn’t care, I couldn’t hear anything next to his bass amplifier and was experiencing what it must be like to be surrounded by a group of tigers…or in this case, cougars, but still sexy ravenous ones screaming your name (ah, to be a rock star).

    Rick played the Palace Theatre like he owned the place.  There’s a thing about real rockers that you just notice.  Not just someone who knows how to play a guitar, but a controlled anarchy between when they plug it in and the machine becomes the player.  Rick Springfield had that.  Albeit he did do the obligatory guitar swing-around-the neck (Van Halen) and the occasional jump and point to the crowd, but that’s what made him great in the first place in the eighties.  Don’t try and fix what ain’t broke. 

    For many bands today, just plugging in and playing an ‘A’ chord is enough.  For people like  Rick Springfield, this is how he has lived his entire life.  Take a note of that.  He never unplugged, he was too “Hard to Hold”.  Rick did pay homage to his multi-generational crowd by not only playing a crowd pleasing “Louie Louie” but also an amazing rendition of Katie Perry’s “Roar” (awesome, I may add).  

    At this point, three-quarters through his show, while Rick was crowd-surfing topless, I had to leave due to an unforeseen circumstance.  As I left, I heard the last song of the night, “Jessie’s Girl”.  Missed her again. 

    (Photos courtesy of Glenn Hirsch)

    Kit Helton's picture

    About Kit Helton

    Average single guy who has been able to lead an above average life. Originally from New Orleans and arrived in Louisville after 10 years via Chicago in 2005. Currently residing near Churchill Downs with my dog, Dixie. Owner of a catering company for over a decade and published cookbook author, I am lucky to return to the Food & Dining as well as Arts beats for Louisville.com.

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