May 17, 2003
Chastain Park Amphitheatre-Atlanta


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In Atlanta, Rick Springfield performed all of his tricks and played a mostly satisfying combination of hits and less obvious choices. Had I not seen him before, I would have thought this concert was great. However, I have seen him in the past, and compared to what I know he’s capable of, it fell a bit short.

  He opened with “Affair of the Heart” which cannot possibly rock to its full potential at Chastain because of their decibel limit. However, it still hinted at the excitement that I hoped was to come. I did see a gray haired, pot-bellied husband singing along as he carried a picnic basket into the food-friendly venue. Also, the show started early, before sundown, to spare the audience from an impending thunderstorm. “Playing in daylight’s like making love under fluorescent lighting,” Rick said, clearly rattled by the less than ideal circumstances. Perhaps this explains his lukewarm delivery of the first few numbers as he relied on backup vocalists and the audience to sing the choruses and even forgot a few lyrics that he’s been singing for 20 years.

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  Rick employed all his usual gimmicks from the beginning. Starting in the second song, “I’ve Done Everything for You,” Rick took a gift of roses from a girl in the front and proceeded to play his guitar with them, smashing the flowers against the strings in a colorful explosion of petals. This occurred many more times throughout the night without ever losing its impact. Also in the second song, Rick showed off by periodically tossing his guitar high into the air and catching (or sometimes dropping) it. At one point he even heaved it about 50 feet to an imperiled guitar tech. Rick also made the first of several lengthy trips into the audience.

  After “Alyson,” the medleys began. The first one alone contained big chunks of at least seven different songs. Rick handles these combinations well, making you feel like you heard more of each song than you really did. He played a solo using a rose during a short version of “Bruce,” which started out gently but then kicked in. Following that, he launched into a spirited cover of “Gloria.” (By the way, I’m sick of hearing every band in the world cover “Gloria”-what is it with that song.)

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  Soon after, the set became mired in audience participation. First, Rick gathered about 20 people on stage around him for “I Get Excited” and played guitar over a girl’s shoulders while she held it (the guitar). Not everyone is talented enough to perform at Chastain, so it’s not always a good idea to hand the mic to random people. Rick kept handing the microphone to people to sing the title, except every one of them seemed tone deaf! It was cool to see people having this much fun, but it grew tiresome about ten minutes into “Don’t Talk To Strangers.” Rick even talked to someone’s friend on her cell phone and got HER to sing, too!

  Luckily, it didn’t actually last forever and before long, a brand new song was introduced. “I Don’t Want Anything From You,” was reminiscent of songs from Living in Oz and a primo example of power pop. It wasn’t long, though, before Rick headed back into the audience for “Kristina”….and “You Really Got Me”…and “Human Touch.” During “You Really Got Me,” the singer climbed up on a would be dinner table in the middle of the audience and delighted the occupants with their very own table dance of sorts. He even grabbed a portable camera from an overly excited fan and used it for a “slide” solo before posing and taking his own picture with the makeshift instrument. This clearly made this fan’s night!

  For “Jessie’s Girl” and “Rock of Life,” Rick mustered genuine feeling, but these led into “Love Somebody,” which seemed rather perfunctory.  The concert ended well with a rousing version of “Love is Alright Tonite” and everyone seemed satisfied. I’ll bet anyone in the crowd named Alyson or Gloria or Kristina or Rovianne or Sally or Gloria must have been thrilled. I’ll bet even Jessie and Bruce got excited.


Amanda Stahl/concertshots.com

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RICK SPRINGFIELD set list (5-17-03):

1. Affair Of The Heart
2. I've Done Everything For You
3. Alyson
4. Medley: What Kind Of Fool Am I/Don't Walk Away/Carry Me Away/Everybody's Girl/Calling All Girls/Rovianne/Bruce/Stand Up
5. Gloria (Them cover)
6. Don't Talk To Strangers
7. I Get Excited
8. Foxy Lady/Fire (Hendrix cover)
9. I Don't Want Anything From You (new song)
10. Kristina
11. You Really Got Me (Kinks cover)
12. Human Touch
13. Jessie's Girl


14. Rock Of Life
15. Love Somebody
16. Love Is Alright Tonite