Rock and Roll Never Gets Old – Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman

Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman

The Sands Event Center rocked Friday night with the return of opening band, Night Ranger, followed by Rick Springfield to a full house. 

Night Ranger always is fun to watch their high energy which covers every corner of the stage.  These guys are always having a good time as they performed their classic hits,  “Sister Christian”, “When You Close Your Eyes”, “Sing Me Away”, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”, and “Rock in America.” 

For this reporter, the roots run deep with the history of Rick Springfield.  Back in the early seventies, he appeared almost out of no where on the American scene.  He arrived just in time to rival another shagged hair teenybopper sensation, David Cassidy, of The Partridge Family fame.  A well established musician in his home country of Australia, Springfield entertained on the Saturday morning cartoon, “Mission:  Magic.”  Almost a decade later he emerged as Dr. Noah Drake on the popular General Hospital soap opera, and then release of his hit single, “Jessie’s Girl” sent his musical career into rock and roll orbit. 

With several dozen roses placed around Springfield’s microphone stand, the show started with “Light This Party Up” followed by “I Get Excited”, in which the first dozen roses were shredded into Springfield’s guitar, which created a colorful display of rose petals confetti. 

Before Springfield started “Affair of the Heart”, he informed the crowd his birthday was 4 days away, and the crowd returned their love by singing a full round of Happy Birthday.  While the high kicks may have disappeared for this almost 67 year old rocker, his unrelentless energy and movement covered the full stage, often dashing from one corner to the other. 

For Springfield, who has just released his 18th album,  “Rocket Science”, finding the right balance of songs that span his career may seem daunting, and the solution resulted in a mash up of favorites:  “Bop Til You Drop”, “Celebrate Youth”, “Calling All Girls”, a very brief snippet of “Jessie’s Girl”, “Don’t Walk Away”, “State of the Heart”, and “What Kind of Fool Am I”. 

Springfield also threw in some cover songs,  Katy Perry’s hit, “Roar”, and Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, and the classic, “Wipeout”.  While these songs may express the pop side to Springfield, unmistakabilty they were given a new life with a metal edge.  “Miss Mayhem”,  was performed with  a scratchy blues sound,  as he often displayed full arm pendulum swings on guitar. 

Springfield later walked down into the front of the crowd for “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “Sylvia”, and “Human Touch”.  For these songs recorded over thirty years ago, they’ve been reincarnated with faster and sharper punches on the drums, along with a techno sound.

The crowd created an over the head hand clapping in unison for “Love Somebody”, as Springfield’s vocals cut through the band crystal clear.  Closing the set, was everyone’s favorite, “Jessie’s Girl”, now with harder guitar lines added, and the encore, “Kristina” with more pulsating drum beats. 

While time may age us all, Springfield’s ability to rock remain intact, it remains clear that he is having the time of his life.