Friday, June 07, 2013

Rick Springfield @ Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 4th June 2013

Rick Springfield has never been that big in the UK and Europe, which probably explains why it had taken him 28 years to return to UK shores for this gig. The last time he was in town it was in support of TAO, which coincidentally was an album that did well in Europe. I've always loved good pop/rock, so have been a fan of springfield since I bought the Living in Oz album back in 1983. I have wanted to see him live ever since, so I was not going to pass up on this long overdue opportunity. Would Rick be worth the wait? Would it all be a bit of a let down?

Well before he took to the stage we had a young British band from Brighton to get us in the mood – Rubylux. Already with one album under their belts, which did better with critics than the record buying public, it was immediately apparent that this is a band who know how to blend 80s pop song writing sensibilities with that 90s indie rock attitude. Having subsequently listened to the band on record I think the band are currently loosing something on record, as live the band are an impressive rock outfit. On record the rough edges are a little too smoothed off for my liking, but they're a band I will certainly pay to see live again.

And so the time had come. Lights down, and we launch into new album opening track 'Wide Awake' (with its thrash metal drumming and typical Springfield catchy chorus). I know immediately the only disappointment is going to be him not playing some things I would ideally want to hear, although when the band then go into 'Living in Oz' a couple of songs later I think even this might be wrong.  I've done Everything for You, Affair of the Heart, Don't Talk to Strangers, Celebrate Youth, Human Touch (during which RS went wandering through the crowd to get that 'human touch'), I Hate Myself, This Ship is Sinking, Rock of Life, Love is Alright Tonight,  a medley of Bop Till You Drop / Calling All Girls / Don't Walk Away / State Of The Heart / What Kind Of Fool Am I, a nod to his time as a child in England with a cover of Cream's cover of Robert Johnson's Crossroads, and of course Jessie's Girl.

There was just time for an encore of the Beatle's All my Loving and  I'll make you Happy and then that was it.

I had sang virtually every word, and loved every minute … although at 80 minutes including encore, still felt a little short changed after 28 years – it's not as if he doesn't have the material … But that gripe aside, I left the gig a happy man.

And here is proof the man can STILL write catchy pop/rock