Rick Springfield / Myrtle Beach, SC / 07-09-2004 Concert Review

There’s a lot more to Rick Springfield than “Jessie’s Girl” and “Don’t Talk To Strangers.” He’s a performer that truly knows how to work an audience. A lot of people dismiss him as an 80s icon living on past glories. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, 1/3 of his live show was devoted to material from his new album, shockdenialangeracceptance.

While the crowd that showed up at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, SC may have been older, their enthusiasm surpassed any other crowd that I’ve seen there. They were into the show from the opening chords of “I’ll Make You Happy.” Springfield had no qualms about inviting his fans to participate. For “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” he stepped out on the barricade to get the audience involved. He joked around and insulted their singing voices before pulling a small girl onstage to sing the chorus when the older members of the crowd just stood there shaking. During “I Get Excited,” he invited about 15 people on stage with him to help sing and dance. Then it was back into the crowd for another four songs. Springfield performed from every corner of the House of Blues. While singing, he would sign anything that the audience members passed up to him. At the beginning of “Love Somebody,” a lady in the crowd actually passed out when he got near and had to be escorted to the back. He definitely made the crowd feel like part of the show. It grew a little tiresome after awhile, though. If you weren’t close to where he was standing at any give time, you really couldn’t see anything.

For someone in his 50s, Springfield moved like he was in his 20s. The guy was jumping and running all around the stage. When he wasn’t throwing his guitar into the air or abusing it with roses, he proved that he could play a pretty mean guitar. This was demonstrated best on the bluesy “Red House.”

After a few more tracks from his latest CD, he played the song that everyone was there to hear. The crowd went nuts when he started into “Jessie’s Girl.” Even after all these years, Springfield looks like he still has some passion playing that song.

He ended the show with pumped up versions of “Idontwantanythingfromyou” and “Love is Alright Tonight” before smashing a police car piñata that someone passed on stage with his guitar and throwing out the candy innards.

As anyone who was at the near packed House of Blues can attest, Rick Springfield is an awesome performer. It’s really a shame that more people won’t give him a chance. He puts on an incredible live show.

-Benji McKay