Rick Springfield, Part 1

270mm, f/5.6, ISO 4000, 1/125th second

The five year old me is amazed at what the 35 year old me did last Friday night: Photographed a Rick Springfield concert. There’s a little bit of background to this you need to understand: When I was growing up, my sister adopted Duran Duran as “her” band. Somewhere along the line, I guess I modeled myself on that and adopted Rick Springfield as being mine. He was cool. I didn’t get the concept of “teen heartthrob” at that age. I was younger and innocent.

But this isn’t Confessions of Augie’s Youth, so let’s move on:

Rick Springfield, Bergen PAC, Englewood, NJ

85mm, f/2.2, ISO 3200, 1/250th second

The thing with Rick Springfield is that he’s a big showman. He attacks the microphone. He attacks his guitar. He struts around the stage, strikes a pose, and screams the lyrics with the best of them. He knows his audience — the middle aged woman who worshipped him as kids, some of whom now bring their kids with them – and plays to them. He walks through the crowd, tosses off an innuendo or two, sings his songs about the girls he loves, flashes his winning smile, and very clearly works out at the gym on his days off. He probably also hits the gym on the days he works. Likely, he’s also at the gym in his sleep. The man is impressively shaped for a 62 year old rocker.

Yes, you read that right: Rick Springfield is 62 years old. How old do you feel right now?

Anyway, his concert is pure entertainment, it’s all in good fun, and he had the crowd in the palm of his hands for the hour and a half he had on the stage. (OK, so maybe some of the husbands were less enthused, but this wasn’t their concert.)

Rick Springfield at the Bergen PAC, Englewood, NJ

85mm, f/2.2, ISO 3200, 1/250th second

I was a bit worried going into the show. I had seen TicketMaster’s “Available Seats” chart the day before. The audience wasn’t going to be half full. I’m not sure if that’s because the concert was underpromoted (doubtful, he was sponsored by a local radio station), the audience just doesn’t exist for him in the area, or the fact that this was a make-up show for one he cancelled last month due to illness. Maybe the timing didn’t work out, people took their refunds instead of their rain dates. I don’t know.
But looking around at the crowd from the sides of the stage, the place sure didn’t look empty. It was a bit of an optical illusion. The crowd was on their feet for the entire show. Never sat down, not once. That fills them out better, and blocks your view of the empty seats in the back third of the hall. The rest of the emptiness was up in the balcony, and only the people on stage would see that. The front rows were filled, and that’s all you see from the floor.

Rick Springfield, Bergen PAC, Englewood, NJ

85mm, f/2.2, ISO 3200, 1/160th second

Song-wise, the show was mostly greatest hits, with a couple songs of more vintage and a couple of covers I didn’t recognize mixed in. Even with a medley of hits in the middle of the show, there are a lot of Springfield songs to get through in the hour and a half set. I kept forgetting just how many memorable songs he had, but they kept coming. They might not all have been Top 40 hits, but I own all the records, so I recognized them. Great pop songs, many with slightly rock undertones.

More to come tomorrow and the rest of the week!

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