It starts with my mom Heather. She became a Rick Springfield fan as a teenager in 1981. Growing up Rick Springfield’s music was always present in my life because of my mom. In fact, my older sister and I spent what seems like most of our elementary years playing with barbies; our main male barbie took the name of Rick Springfield and “performed” with his band via a walkman handheld cd player with the volume up as loud as it would go.
This time seeing Rick at the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville, Tennessee was my mom’s nineteenth time seeing Rick live. My older sister has been to ten of Rick’s shows. The point is, I was in experienced company. I on the other hand had only seen Rick once, alike this experience- at the Wildhorse.
Considering I live in LaFollette, Tennessee any concert my family or I attend in Nashville takes about a three and a half hour drive- give or take. So once we get where we are going we are ready to be out and about in Nashville.
My mom, sister, and I unloaded from the car and put our boots on the Nashville ground. The streets were so full of life on this particular Saturday night. Tons of people all going different places. Music from every bar and street performer filled the air. The weather was near perfect for side-walking Nashville streets- 70 degrees in February. We made our way to the Wildhorse Saloon located on 2nd Avenue North.
The Wildhorse Saloon is what I would consider the apex of western themed bars- its decor has an upscale modesty and simplicity despite being termed a western themed bar. I was as excited about the show as I was just to experience the venue again.
We chowed down on some BBQ sandwiches and diet Pepsi’s while the Wildhorse supplied a playlist of 80’s hits.
Once the venue became full, hours past, and Rick arrived on stage at around 9pm. Much to our surprise, the fire alarm of all things interrupted his intro. By far a first for us. The funny yet concerning component to this interruption is that no one moved. Everyone was anticipating Rick; he was the priority not potential safety.
Rick has some of the most dedicated and enthusiastic yet strange fans. Dedicated in that when the concert began the MC asked, almost humorous, if it was anyone’s first time. Because so many people have seen him over and over. Enthusiastic in that women around forty still bring cardboard cut signs with his face on them. Strange in that one interesting fan even handed him a piñata she had made for him on stage. Lots of homemade gifts and signs filled the crowd.
Notably Rick acts like a rockstar. Maybe one of his most alluring facets as an entertainer. He shreds roses with his electric guitar, walks across the tables out in the crowd as women flock to him, and occasionally picks up a fan’s drink and claims it as his own.
It is a Rick tradition to walk across the tables at the Wildhorse. Several years ago when Rick was walking across the tables a table broke. No worries though, it happened to be the table my mom and her friend were seated at. They caught him. Got some hugs too. No biggie.
This could certainly be omitted from this account but it is too odd not to share. We watched the show from the third floor balcony; therefore, you could see everyone on the first floor. Holy people watching. We spotted a man, singing every-word, often dancing- in a kilt. A full Scottish kilt outfit. If only I could no more about this strange man… I’m perplexed because a Rick Springfield concert does not seem like a place this man would want to be. He was the demographic outlier of the crowd.
The setlist was comprised of old and new songs. 80’s favorites such as “Jessie’s Girl,” “What Kind of Fool Am I,” “Affair of the Heart,” “I’ve Done Everything for You,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” and “Love is Alright Tonite.” New songs such as “Our Ship’s Sinking,” “Down,” and “Miss Mayhem.” Covers included “Wipeout” by Sufaris, “Roar” by Katy Perry, and “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks. And my favorite of the night, one song off of the Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance (2004) album: “Jesus Saves.”