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Rick Springfield rocks with old and new at Cobb Energy Centre

Springfield played the hits as well as some new tunes from his terrific new album. Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

Springfield played the hits as well as some new tunes from his terrific new album. Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

For those who have been going to see Rick Springfield for years – and trust us, his fans are so dedicated they even required their own documentary – you know what to expect: A run through as much of his catalog as possible (because, yes, even though the perception is that he’s just the “Jessie’s Girl” guy, he’s had 16 other Top 40 hits), some casual chit-chat from Springfield, many flashes of his dimpled grin and the chance to get a whiff of his shampoo when he hops into the crowd and cruises across seat backs during “Human Touch.”

For those few first-timers, though, a Springfield show has to be impressive. The guy is 63, for goodness sake, and not only looks 20 years younger, but still plays, moves and sings like a rangy Australian teenager.

Thursday night’s show at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre might not have been packed (the venue was about half full) and the sound, especially in the first third of the show was unusually echo-y, but Springfield acolytes had to be sated by the 90-minute no-frills show.

With nary a stage prop in sight, Springfield and his four-piece band attacked the opening twofer of “Who Killed Rock and Roll” and “Affair of the Heart” with gusto, Springfield immediately going to his signature move of windmilling clutches of fan-bestowed red roses against his guitar strings.

Clad in a black jacket and gray jeans and T-shirt, Springfield whirled his guitar around his neck during the galloping “Living in Oz” and bopped around the stage during the band’s spot-on cover of Wings’ “Jet,” a song he’s been playing live for years and finally included on his outstanding new album, “Songs for the End of the World” as a bonus track.

That, obviously, is the reason for these tour dates (though he said in a recent interview that he’s already planning a new tour for 2013),and in between the hits came a couple of fresh tracks – the fun, tuneful singalong “I Hate Myself” (“a darker ‘Jessie’s Girl’,” Springfield called it) and the engaging pop-rocker “Our Ship’s Sinking.”

But Springfield, who sounded strong with a hint of rasp to his voice, made sure to cover his bases, putting many of those numerous hits into a medley that included “I Get Excited,” “Bop ‘Til You Drop,” “Calling All Girls,” “Celebrate Youth,” “Don’t Walk Away” and “State of the Heart.”

You're welcome, ladies.

You're welcome, ladies.

He also showcased his underrated guitar skills on a cover of “Crossroads,” played on what he called his “steam punk” guitar, a cool-looking dark metallic instrument, and waded into the crowd for his first trip during “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” even pausing to take a sip from a fan’s glass of red wine.

“I’m not driving,” he joked, a reference to his DUI arrest last year (he received a reckless driving plea deal).

The mostly female crowd – though some dutiful male mates were spotted – blissfully shouted along with “Love Somebody” and tripped over each other trying to reach Springfield when he returned to the orchestra pit during “Human Touch.”

He, of course, relished the attention and, as he has throughout his career, took the extra step to make fans feel appreciated by getting close to them and never going through the motions – even on the overplayed “Jessie’s Girl,” which wrapped the set.

But soon Springfield was back with a cover of The Beatles’ perky “Can’t Buy Me Love.” No need to, with this devoted fan base.

“Don’t Talk to Strangers”

“Jessie’s Girl”

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By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

15 comments Add your comment

christy girl

November 30th, 2012
8:29 am

wow half full, can’t believe that many people actually paid good money to see this old dude, i mean i think my grandma used to listen to this old dude back in the old days

kay

November 30th, 2012
8:37 am

Hey Christy Girl, I can’t believe anyone would pay money for this junk they play on the radio today. In twenty years nobody would know any of this people. Rick is still the man

Quagmire

November 30th, 2012
8:47 am

christy girl — Rick might be old(er), but he can still sing and put on a great show. Go back to listening to the crap you like, and learn how to use capital letters. Tool.

Deb

November 30th, 2012
9:30 am

Rick has had a forty year career. Most popular artists today will be lucky if they last four! He is mega talented, generous and kind. We love him and always will.

Atlanta

November 30th, 2012
9:40 am

Probably in the best shape of any 63 year old. He looks at least 20 years younger!

Gigi

November 30th, 2012
9:42 am

Christy Girl must get all her news and music from the Bert Show. Clearly pitiful.

bry

November 30th, 2012
9:46 am

christy girl- what do you have against older folks performing? You will be that age one day and I don’t think you will feel the same then. If they can do it great. There is no retirement age in rock and roll.

Buzzkill

November 30th, 2012
11:10 am

Ladies, you’re not gonna shag him, and forty years or not, it’s throwaway pop. That said, as a gay man, I loves me some Jessie’s Girl. He was so sweet backstage. ;)

LaLa

November 30th, 2012
10:31 pm

LOL – Poor Christy – don’t mess with a classic whose fan base is as strong and true as Rick’s. It was a great show for all ages. Springfield has great guitar skills and pop or not – he is obviously here to stay. Great review Melissa. My favorite part of the show was his “windmilling” – actually it was his cover of “jet’ I thought it was very well done.

[...] immediately going to his signature move of windmilling clutches of fan … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) This entry was posted in Black Girls Rock T Shirt and tagged adoring, Comes, fans, finalist, [...]

Wanda

December 1st, 2012
1:18 pm

Love You Rick. Please come back. You said you would be back next year.

pete

December 1st, 2012
2:05 pm

take away his wig and make-up and he would probably look like my 78 year old grandpa

Autumn

December 1st, 2012
8:03 pm

The concert was awsome. Loved the windmilling of flowers. You can really rock and loved all your songs. Hope you come back soon. You are truely a legend in my book for sure.

HOT FOR ROCKIN' RICK

December 2nd, 2012
9:10 am

Rick was excellent, he’s an entertainer, and in awesome shape thruout his show @ the Cobb Energy. I has seen him in 83′ when he played a special show for Atl. during Christmas. He was selling out bigger venues, yet played this intimate setting in Atl. Awesome.The other nite he rocked just as hard, and had same enthusiasm as 1983-85 era. Better yet, not only is he still rocking, making new good songs, its obvious he takes care of himself. Most Springfield freaks know he’s way beyond the top 40 hits..Take a listen to Tao, if any doubt. He’s a solid performer, a really good guitarist and his voice the other nite was better than ever. Though he’s a sexy, personable man, his talent is there, and shines on. He’s proven he was always a lot more than the pretty boy image that surrounded him. He’s got all the moves and more. He will be around, making people happy, and listenening for years and years. love you Rick Springfield ! Take Good Care Man

beaverbob

December 5th, 2012
2:52 pm

come on these kid will be wishing they look and sound that good when they are 63, if they even live that long and I kinda doubt it.
Rick is a great entertainer and as far as I,m concerned he is a rocker not a pop singer