Valentine’s Day traditions continue for Rick Springfield fans as they sell out the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville for the tenth consecutive year.
The Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville on Valentine’s day weekend has become a Mecca for fans of Rick Springfield. Incredibly, this year marked the tenth straight year he has sold out the venue over the Valentine’s Day weekend. Before the show, it was fun talking to lifelong Rick Springfield fans, some who have traveled more than 1,000 miles to spend the weekend with him.
Rick Springfield has been busy in recent years. He has toured regularly, authored a book, Magnificent Vibrations(2014); co-starred in the movie, Ricki and the Flash (2015), released a new album, Rocket Science (2016), and acted in recurring roles on two TV series, True Detective and Supernatural. He also hosted a weeklong fan getaway at Atlantis in 2016. Springfield exudes energy and positive vibes.
After a short video retrospective spanning Springfield’s career, complete with Arnold Schwarzenegger demanding “Jesse’s Girl,” Rick Springfield bounds on stage starting off with “Light this Party Up,” a high-energy party anthem from of his latest album, Rocket Science.
Since this is live music, anything can and usually happens. Tonight, mid-way through the opening song, the music suddenly stops, and the faint ring of the fire alarm is heard. Not to be outdone, Rick is out among the fans, shaking hands and fist bumping those around him while the guys break into a jig on stage entertaining fans while the power and fire alarm issues are sorted out.
After a brief delay, Rick and the guys launching into “Light this Party Up” for the second time and the crowd jumps in on the fun, raising their glasses, dancing, and singing along.
Springfield follows quickly with a few familiar favorites; the Sammy Hagar-penned, “I’ve done Everything for You (You’ve done nothing for me),” immediately followed by “Jesus Saves (White Trash Like You).”
“Down” (co-written with Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts) follows along with fan favorite, “Affair of the Heart,” and an engaging and playful cover of Katie Perry’s “Roar” that had the crowd singing along at the top of their voices.
Halfway thru his set, Springfield regales the house with “Our Ships Sinking” from Songs for the End of the World and a high-energy medley of “Bop ‘Til You Drop,” “Celebrate Youth,” “Calling All Girls,” “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Walk Away,” “State of the Heart,” and “What Kind of Fool Am I.” Fans barely have a chance to catch their breath before Springfield catapults into “Love is Alright Tonite” leaving the room a buzz.
Slowing down the pace, Rick takes center stage with his green dobro guitar on his knee. He takes a moment to tell a quick story about long-time guitar tech, Ruben Velasco, who lost his battle with cancer last year. Velasco, who’s birthday was this day, had repeatedly said that Rick needed a light-up guitar. Springfield now plays a light-up guitar on tour which he appropriately named “Ruben.” It was a touching moment and a class move by Rick Springfield.
The country twang of the slide and Dobro guitar take center stage next as “Miss Mayhem” is next in the set followed by Rick’s guitar solo. The surfer music dominated solo is punctuated with the blazing riff of the Safaris surf classic, “Wipeout,” which created a fun and memorable show moment.
There are some tried and true standards that new and old fans look forward to at every Rick Springfield show, including “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” Springfield chooses various audience members to sing the chorus and brings children from the crowd on stage to dance and help him sing. He seems to thoroughly enjoy the interaction with his audience and more importantly, the children on stage. Changing things up tonite, bassist Sigve (Siggy) Sjursen and drummer Jorge Palacios switched instruments during the song causing Springfield to do at least one double take, and there were smiles all around.
The penultimate song of Springfield’s main set was another huge fan favorite, “Human Touch.” Everyone at the Wildhorse knows what’s coming next. Springfield steps off the stage and into the audience, walking from table to table as people clear the way and offer hands to help him navigate back to the stage. It was an awesome show moment! Springfield finished his main set with the awesome and fitting, “Love Somebody,” on this Valentine’s Day weekend.
A Rick Springfield concert is not complete until he performs “Jesse’s Girl,” which is how he opens his three-song encore. It’s always fun to watch an entire venue singing Jesse’s Girl at the top of their voices and having a great time doing it. Joining the guys on stage was Jennifer Lynn Simpson as they rolled into a song he co-wrote with the Foo Fighters Dave Grohl, “The Man That Never Was,” from the Sound City documentary immediately followed by the fast and furious sing-along, “Kristina,”
As if this evening wasn’t already full of great music and good times there was one more trick up Rick’s sleeve. The final song of the evening was a raucous cover of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” with friend and longtime Springfield drummer, Jack White, behind the drums ending a fantastic evening and leaving everyone thoroughly satisfied.
Springfield’s band, Sigve (Siggy) Sjursen (bass), Tim Gross (keyboards and guitar), George Nastos (lead guitar), and Jorge Palacios (drums), were tight and full of smiles and laughter, having fun with the audience.
Rick Springfield and his high-energy set were fantastic; it is impossible not to have a great time at one of his shows. Many fans are already looking forward to an 11th straight year at the Wildhorse in 2018.
Providing the main support for the evening was Detroit-based singer/songwriter JTX. JTX’s fun and energetic set featured a number of hit songs he has written for people like Dirks Bentley, Blake Shelton, and Kenny Chesney and was well received.
Opening the festivities for the evening was the fantastic Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, Jennifer Lynn Simpson. Jennifer Lynn’s sound is a combination of old style country with Americana expertly blended in and what was short in duration was deep with quality.