Rick Springfield Concerts

First Concert . . .

The day dawned sunny with temperatures that would climb toward afternoon. The concert was to be outside so anything was better than cold and rain. In Texas the running joke is that “if you don’t like the weather, stick around a few minutes – it’ll change”. We usually skip the mild temps of spring and fall and go straight to hot or cold! Late April could have been either. Knowing that the concert gates would open at six, my daughter and I had decided to get to the Arbor Daze grounds in Euless before 4:00. Early enough to get a decent place in line. At 2:30 I had asked her for the fifth time that day – “do you know what you’re wearing yet?” I had chosen what I was going to wear back in February. I had a blue shimmery sweater that I felt would work great either in warm or chilly temps. It was light enough to keep me cool in the heat but sleeves I could roll down as darkness fell.

Even though there were three acts to take the stage that evening, my focus was only on the last act. A man whose career I had followed since he stepped onto American soil in 1972. I had stayed loyal through the years when he was trying to be made into the next “David Cassidy”, through the different record labels, the years when he couldn’t get a record produced, the acting stints on “Wonder Woman”, “Rockford Files”, “The Incredible Hulk”, and more, the stint as “Dr. Noah Drake” on “General Hospital”, his big break with “Jessie’s Girl” followed by many hit songs, “Hard to Hold”, the low times once again, more acting roles in “Human Target”, the pilot movie for “Nick Knight”, and the series “High Tide”, through his run as the master in the Vegas show “EFX”, and the anticipation for the new CD “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance”. As a pre-teen and teen-ager during the first few years after he came to America, I wished for a concert close enough to attend – but it was not to happen. After the success of “Jessie’s Girl” and “I’ve Done Everything For You”, there were concerts everywhere. When I heard he was to play Dallas, I found out exactly when and where I could get tickets. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to attend. An opportunity lost. More waiting. After the release of “Karma”, there was another tour – another Dallas concert. Again, circumstances dictated that I would not be able to go. When I read that he would be in the Dallas area not once but twice during the spring and summer of this year, I couldn’t believe it. Then finding out the first concert – in Euless – would be free was almost too good to be true.

I went to one of the sponsors close to my home the day they had tickets. I grabbed six, just in case everyone in the family wanted to go. Then I told – not asked – but told my daughter she was going with me. She said okay – she’d “borrowed” some of the CDs I owned to listen to them. She said he had some good songs. Soon she was telling all her college friends about the concert. They all asked “Rick who?” She became frustrated with them. The week previous to the concert, she asked me what I was going to wear. So she’d started planning for it. I don’t think she realized just how excited her mother was!

We listened to the “Karma” CD as well as one of the compilations of all his hits on the way home from her dorm on Friday. She had decided that “Jessie’s Girl” was her song! We left our house about 3:00 that Saturday afternoon and arrived at Arbor Daze before 3:30. The first thing we did after making our trek from the grassy area we’d parked in was to find some food. We checked out the ticket amounts for what we wanted and then got our tickets. We both settled on frito pie and some Cokes. She’d rather have had a Dr. Pepper. I got halfway through and decided it was too hot to eat Frito Pie so we headed toward the concert area. Both of us were amazed that the line wasn’t miles long! We spread our blanket out next to three other ladies and waited. My daughter decided to get some sunbathing in while I just got sunburned! Soon another couple on a blanket took the place on the other side of us. We listened to the lady in front of us – it was hard not to hear her. She had obviously traveled into town as we heard her talk about the hotels. Peering out into what would be the seating area, I kept thinking that there was no way we were going to get close enough to see the stage. I couldn’t tell exactly where the “premium” ticket holders were going to sit. Finally they let us into the area. People were running by – we just walked fast. I had sandals on that kept falling off my feet and my daughter decided she wasn’t going to run. There was another line of people that had to wait until we were almost halfway to the stage before they were let in. I guess we’d picked the right line! We ended up right next to the couple we’d sat next to in line. While my daughter went to get us some water, I introduced myself to them – Scott and Janet. Again we had to wait almost an hour before the first band to come on.

We occupied ourselves with a fun past time – people watching. She pointed out a baby dressed only in a diaper and shift being carried by a parent while I pondered why parents would bring babies and young children to a rock concert. Maternal instinct took hold as I worried about the hearing of those so young. It had been many years since my last concert, but I knew how loud it could get. I busied myself getting my camera gear together. I had brought my Olympus 35 mm with zoom lens and 800 speed film. I’d also brought my digital camera but was unsure if I would be able to use it at the distance we were.

Starship – formerly Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship – took the stage around 6:45 p.m. Their music was familiar and enjoyable. Everyone clapped and sang along with the band. After they were done, there was a short break while we all waited on Little River Band. I was just as surprised as my daughter that she knew most of their songs. While they were playing, we kept watching people standing in a line next to us trying to get closer to the stage. Scott, Janet, my daughter and I kept asking each other “where do these people think they’re going?”

The surge was immediate as soon as Little River Band finished playing and left the stage. The surge toward the stage as more and more bodies tried to get close to the stage. The security guards and concert staff kept telling those of us on the aisle that we couldn’t push the ropes out. We had to leave room. I hoped against hope that meant that Rick would go down the aisle but logic dictated that there was no way he was getting that far! As the 9:15 concert start drew nearer, everyone was standing. There wasn’t going to be anyone sitting down to listen for that last concert of the night. The announcer came out and said that he would be coming out in just a few minutes. In Rick time that could mean within an hour! I could tell that the patience level of some of the crowd was growing thin. Two ladies who had shared our blanket thanked us for that gesture as they left. They had a long way to drive that night. I told them they were going to miss the best part of the concert! Another lady on the other side of the aisle, was very loud in her declaration that she was leaving. Yet it had appeared while she was sitting in the waiting line that she was there to see Rick – I couldn’t figure out what had caused her to be so upset. I saw a lady in a wheelchair being wheeled out of the reserved section closer to the front. Later I learned that so many people were in front of her, that she hadn’t been able to see.

Then it happened. As the spotlight hit him as he took the stage, my first thought was that he looked larger than life. His hair was long and (thank goodness) the goatee was gone! As he played “Affair of the Heart”, I was in awe that I was finally listening to him perform live – a dream come true. The songs were ones that everyone knew and sang along too. He involved the audience in “Don’t Talk to Strangers” – first a guy named Brad, then little Tabitha, and one of the police officers. There were several “rose” explosions – some of the bouquets were offered up by members of the audience. I made sure that I was focused on him as I took picture after picture. Then it happened – he talked about coming down from the stage into the audience. I glanced at the space that was considered the aisle and realized now why the staff and security hadn’t wanted anyone loitering in that area or any objects in that way. He was clipping on the head microphone and made a comment about what the head gear does to hair. Then he announced that if anyone had a pen or a key and wanted to sign the guitar or put a scratch on it, go ahead. He wondered aloud how far he could go. Then he was down and into the crowd. I felt a surge of bodies pushing me toward the left – toward the aisle. I grabbed up my purse and camera gear for fear it would get trampled. With police in front of him as he made his way down the aisle, the crowd went wild. He’d made only one request of the crowd – no one touch his butt! He’d left everything else open! Could I? Should I? Did I dare? But of course – as the man I’d dreamed of for over 30 years drew near, I took a deep breath and reached out to touch his arm. Muscular, sinewy – just as I knew how it would feel. But a moment later he was headed back toward the stage – one more touch – a little longer this time. I soon realized why it was longer – he was preparing to jump into the crowd right in front of us! As the crowd grew tighter around us – I asked my daughter if she was okay. She was smiling and said yes. There he stood – signing “Kristina” – there were arms around his neck from the back. His headgear had come undone. He kept singing – those of us right there could hear that beautiful voice. And those eyes – they were clear and shining. He smiled and laughed – those dimples. He stayed there through almost a verse of the song before heading out of the crowd. And in those moments that he stood there, I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move – not just because there were so many people crowding us – but I was afraid that if I moved, I would fall down. I realized after he’d left the area and people started giving everyone space again that when I moved my legs, they were shaking. I had been thisclose to him!

It seemed that all too soon, Rick was telling the audience good night and taking his leave of the stage. The lights stayed down and everyone began chanting “Rick! Rick! Rick!” After a few moments, the band members came back out and everyone cheered and applauded. And there he was again – that white spotlight hit him and once again he was larger than life. He played a few more songs and then after “Human Touch” – he said good night once more and then was gone. The lights came up and it seemed as if half the crowd was stunned. No one moved for a moment and then activity resumed. Folding up the blanket and starting back across the field. My daughter and I were just amazed at how wonderful the concert had been. I said “He was right there!” and then as an offside I remarked “And he’s really cute!” We laughed and she agreed that he was!

Needless to say that on the way home, we listened to Rick’s music in the tape deck. We blared it out the windows and sang along! The next day at church, my daughter exclaimed to anyone who would listen that she got to touch Rick Springfield! I told her I’d felt that I was fifteen again!

Star Spangled Fourth in Garland . . .

Preparing for the Star Spangled Fourth . . .

Checked the website constantly through the month of May to determine when and where tickets would go on sale. On May 31st the computer broke down – so accessing the web wasn’t going to happen. June 2nd – called the City of Garland to get information. Talked to a lady in purchasing in City Hall. She said the tickets were now available and only in her office. So what does a girl do when she doesn’t want to drive to Garland to get tickets? She calls a friend who is always on the go! He said he’d pick them up in the next two days and true to his word he did! A church friend had asked if she could go so I called her and made sure she knew what she was getting herself into.

My friend arrived with the tickets a few days later. My daughter and I were excited. We started preparing for our second “Rick” adventure by listening (almost) non-stop to the CDs and watching (required viewing) “Hard to Hold”. In fact she told me several days later that she just could not listen to Rick before going to sleep! She couldn’t get “Human Touch” out of her mind!

Finally the computer was working again and one of the first sites I looked at was the Star Spangled Fourth. I saw that they had specific seating (and waiting) instructions for Rick’s concert. Line would start at noon. Folks let into the area in groups of ten at 5 p.m. First concert at seven. Waiting until 10 for Rick! Figuring how often does this woman do silly things, I told my daughter what the plan was. I couldn’t wait to see my friend’s face when I told her! The Sunday prior to the concert, I broke the news to her. She said “so what time do you want to get there?” I blurted out “Noon!” She glanced at the times on her ticket and gave me a funny look. I told her I’d call her later in the week to work out arrangements.

July 2nd – three days before the concert. I asked my daughter if she knew what she was wearing. Of course not – why should we know? I wasn’t real sure either. Thought about shorts but not sure if I want to get bitten by mosquitoes all night. Maybe jeans and a sleeveless shirt – something cool. Could get almost to 100 degrees and waiting in the sun all day could be very hot. Need to take plenty of sunscreen and bug spray (just in case). Bought more film and batteries for the digital – somehow I want to believe we’ll be close enough this time to be able to use the digital!

July 3rd – two days before the concert, I called my friend to work out final arrangements. She told me that when she saw me at the fireworks display on the 4th, we’d talk then. Turns out she wasn’t able to go due to work and other commitments. She gave me her ticket back. I immediately got on the phone and called another friend. She couldn’t go as plans had just been made that evening.

July 5th - I called three more friends. Two really would have liked to go but one was leaving on vacation and the other had a work conference. Another friend didn’t want to go. My daughter suggested that my son go. So it was the three of us. We left the house at 11 a.m. for Garland. Arrived at Williams Stadium (where the parking was) about 11:40. The shuttle arrived at 12:10 to take us to the event. It was raining and the sky was dark. I prayed for no storms. The rain stopped pretty quickly after we got settled in line. There were about twenty people already in line – most seated in lawn chairs with umbrellas. Almost all were women! We spread our blanket and I sent the kids off for food and drinks. We had a long wait. I introduced myself to the lady in front of us – Belinda from Houston. We shared pictures and talked about the April concert in Euless – which she had not been able to attend. While we waited, I also met some other Rick fans. Two other ladies in line near us both lived in Lewisville or Flower Mound so besides talking about Rick (which of course is the favorite subject), we discussed the schools and other stuff. I exchanged email addresses with Kristy so I could send her the IGE pictures from the Euless show – which she was front and center in – holding the guitar!

5 p.m. – They opened the gate to the seats. We were in the third ten people let in. We chose our seats on the center aisle in the 9th row. Finally at 7:40 (or somewhere thereabouts) the first act started. After was the second act – a rock band that got us more revved up for Rick. There were fireworks and as soon as they were done, the music told us that Rick was on his way out. Soon the opening strains of “Affair of the Heart” played and the crowd was on its feet as "Da Man" took the stage!

More to come . . .

My Rick Springfield Fan Tribute

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