Valentine’s Day weekend kicks off in high gear with Rick Springfield in Nashville ahead of the release of his new abum, Rocket Science.

Rick Springfield brought his full band show to the Wildhorse Saloon on Friday night for the first of two back-to-back shows in what has become an annual Valentine’s weekend tradition.  For anyone who thinks that Springfield’s career began and ended in the 80s, the intro video that plays when the lights go down offers a recap of a musical and acting career that has spanned decades.

Springfield kicks the night off with “Light this Party Up,” a high-energy party anthem from of his new album, Rocket Science, that gives us the first taste of the country elements. “Light This Party Up” is a song that would be at home in a Nashville honky-tonk or a Malibu beach party. The crowd approves getting on their feet, raising their glasses, and dancing.

Without missing a beat, Springfield tears into a few familiar favorites; the Sammy Hagar-penned, “I’ve done Everything for You (You’ve done nothing for me),” immediately followed by “I Get Excited.”

Back to Rocket Science for the next songs as Rick performs “Down” (co-written with Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts) followed later by the live debut performance of “That one.” Squeezed in between these two songs was a fan favorite, “Affair of the Heart,” and an engaging and playful cover of Katie Perry’s “Roar” that had the crowd singing along.

Now more than half way thru his set, Rick performs his medley of  “Bop ‘Til You Drop,” “Celebrate Youth,” “Calling All Girls,” “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Walk Away,” “State of the Heart,” and “What Kind of Fool Am I.” Fans barely have a chance to catch their breath before Springfield jumps straight into another fan favorite, “Love is Alright Tonite.”

Slowing down slightly, Springfield changes guitars and takes on the blazing riff of the Safaris surf classic, “Wipeout,” featuring drummer Jorge Palacios and his frenetic beats. They transition seamlessly into the Chip Taylor cover of “Wild Thing.”   

There are some tried and true standards at every Rick Springfield show, including “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” During the chorus, Springfield choses various audience members to sing the line, “don’t talk to strangers.” He laughs, thoroughly enjoying the audience interaction until eventually announcing, “Finally! Someone who can sing!”  

The penultimate song of Springfield’s main set was another huge fan favorite, “Human Touch.” Everyone at the Wildhorse knows what’s coming next. Springfield steps off the stage and into the audience, walking from table to table as people clear the way and offer hands to help him navigate back to the stage. It was an awesome show moment! Springfield finished his main set with the awesome and fitting, “Love Somebody,” on this Valentine’s Day weekend.

A Rick Springfield concert is not complete until he performs “Jesse’s Girl,” which is how he opens his three-song encore. He followed with fan favorite a cover of The Easy Beats song, “I’ll Make You Happy,” and ended this incredible evening with the fast and furious sing along, “Kristina,” that left everyone in attendance fully satisfied

Springfield’s band, Sigve (Siggy) Sjursen (bass), Tim Gross (keyboards and guitar), George Nastos (lead guitar) and Jorge Palacios (drums), were on fire tonight. All were clearly having a great time, feeding off of the audience energy. Springfield’s set was a fantastic blend of old, new, and everything in between. His high energy stage presence was contagious; it is almost impossible not to have a great time.

Rick Springfield’s upcoming album, Rocket Science, is scheduled to hit stores this Friday, February 19. As such, he surprised everyone in attendance by offering the album for sale ahead of its official release date. Springfield also took time to meet and sign CDs after the show; it is just another reason why his fan’s love him so much.

Unfortunately, due some technical difficulties, the anticipated opening set from Nashville-based country rock band, Loving Mary, had to be cancelled. We are hopeful to get to see them on an upcoming tour date.

Some additional notes from the weekend;  Friday night’s show was streamed live on Yahoo music. Friday morning, Rick Springfield hung out with The Moose of 96.3 JACK FM along with some very lucky fans for an intimate interview, meet and greet, and a few acoustic songs.

Saturday afternoon, Rick met over 100 loyal fans who braved freezing temperatures, some for more than ninety minutes, at Grimey’s New and Preloved music in Nashville for an short acoustic set and CD signing.

Saturday night’s encore show included a very special rendition of Jesse’s girl, featuring The Nelson brothers and Tom Kiefer singing the chorus. It was surprise and a real treat.  Jumping behind the drum set to close out the Saturday set was longtime friend and former bandmate, Jack White, who performed a rocking version of the Jimmi Hendrix classic, “Fire.” It was fitting end to a great concert and a great weekend.

Rick Springfield
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Loving Mary
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The Wildhorse Saloon
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