Rick Springfield set to hit Rocksino as reborn rock star

By Malcolm X Abram
Beacon Journal pop music writer

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Singer songwriter Rick Springfield performs onstage at Harrahs Casino on March 23, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

The Hard Rock Rocksino at Northfield Park has been filling out its upcoming concert schedule with a mix of classic rock, pop and country veterans along with some more contemporary artists thrown in for variety.

Up next for the venue tonight is ’80s teen idol and power-pop singer/songwriter Rick Springfield, who has had a bit of a career renaissance in recent years.

Generally regarded as a super-cute purveyor of bubblegum pop tunes such as Jessie’s Girl and Don’t Talk to Strangers and not especially “cool” or “hip,” the still sexy sexagenarian has reached the point in his career where his work can be reassessed through the prism of time and without the teen idol image or the hysteria and critical backlash it usually generates.

The Grammy winner has been seen in some good hard rock company of late. Springfield’s appearance in Foo Fighters main man Dave Grohl’s documentary Sound City: Real to Reel — where a kinetic, energized version of the new Springfield-penned The Man That Never Was backed by the Foo Fighters was widely praised as one of the best musical moments in the film — gave Springfield’s Q rating a healthy bump.

The soundtrack won a Grammy and Springfield rode that wave of critical goodwill with appearances on Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He also went on tour in the U.S. and the U.K. with Grohl’s all-star Sound City Players, which included the Foo Fighters as the house band and special guests and film co-stars such as Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor.

Springfield’s most recent album, 2012’s quite serious and slickly produced Songs for the End of the World, peaked in the top 50 of Billboard’s Top 200 albums and made the Top 20 on the rock chart.

His self-penned memoir, Late, Late at Night, was a critically well-received best-seller and he also has a novel — his first — called Magnificent Visions about a man who discovers a 1-800 phone number that directly connects him to God. The novel is scheduled to be released later this year.

In addition to the Hard Rock Live stage, the Rocksino also has a “cafe stage” where local acts, a mix of cover bands and original bands perform for free throughout the week. If you can’t get a ticket for Rick Springfield, the Ace Molar Band, which will perform tonight on the cafe stage, might help to dampen the disappointment.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at mabram@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at www.ohio.com/blogs/sound-check, or follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.

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