Friday, August 03, 2018

'80s favorites deliver night of musical fun at Pacific Amphitheatre

Rick Springfield headlining a night of fun-filled melodic rock at
Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, CA on Aug. 2, 2018.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
For lovers of '80s-minded melodic rock, what wasn't to love about the fast-moving concert staged at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa on Aug. 2, 2018.

Headliner Rick Springfield's inspired set featuring a mix of crunchy power pop-styled '80s hits and arresting new material from his latest album The Snake King (released in January 2018). 

Taking the stage and opening with the aptly-styled good times anthem "Light This Party Up," Springfield proceeded to get the fervent crowd on their feet. The second selection, a powerful take on Sammy Hagar's "I've Done Everything For You," certified that this was a crowd set on having a great time and cheering on the Aussie native and his talented four-man band. 

Another early highlight was "Affair of the Heart," a song whose melodic undercurrent is especially powerful live. Springfield - who turns 69 later this month but looks a decade or two younger - remains a dynamic and energetic performer. Additionally, his voice is fully intact and he is able to sing while running about the stage as if it's all child's play.

"Little Demon" was the first song from The Snake King he performed, a heavy blues rocker that showcased in dramatic fashion how Springfield has a range far beyond the hits he carved out throughout the early '80s. Later in the set, he again visited the new disc, using his nimble skills on the fretboard and with a slide on the Delta blues-flavored "The Voodoo House." 

Rick Springfield going into the crowd during
"Human Touch" on August 2, 2018.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
He then turned quickly back to perform some of his most beloved songs, including the catchy "Don't Talk to Strangers," an extended version of "Human Touch" where he ventured far into the crowd to connect up-close with fans, and a Smithereens-worthy take on "Love Somebody." 

Springfield closed with his best-known song, the 1981 number 1 hit "Jesse's Girl," a song whose infectious allure elevated the vibe inside the venue to even greater heights.

Doug Johnson on keyboards and harmonica.
Canadian rock band Loverboy scored a number of hit singles throughout the 1980s,  so it's not surprising the group's uptempo arena rock went over well on a beautiful summer night. The band's set opened creatively with Doug Johnson crafting a dramatic keyboard solo and then layering harmonica work atop that as a lead-in to the rocking "Notorious." Next up was "Lucky Ones," with the group's signature sound built around Mike Reno's tenor and Paul Dean's muscular guitar work fully on display. 

Loverboy singer Mike Reno.
"You all like '80s music?" Reno asked after that one-two punch. "Check this one out!"

The quintet then launched into "Queen of the Broken Hearts" and proceeded to play a score of high-energy rockers. The band gained momentum with "Lovin' Every Minute of It," "Hot Girls in Love," "Turn Me Loose" (likely the band's most creative anthem) and "Working for the Weekend," all which had many in the audience dancing and cheering on the outfit's big sound. 

Loverboy's encore "The Kid Is Hot Tonight" capped the band's hits-minded hour-long outing.

Tommy Tutone and Greg Kihn each had hits in the '80s, and both those artists were featured in brief 20-minute sets that set the stage for the aforementioned high-profile artists.

Tommy Tutone (featuring singer Tommy Heath) opened the night with a four song set capped by his 1981 hit "867-5309/Jenny," offered via a buoyant power pop sing-along. But the early part of his set also yielded some melodic nuggets including a memorable version of his 1980 single "Angel Say No" and a complete roots-rock reworking of Jim Croce's 1972 hit "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels").

Greg Kihn at Pacific Amphitheatre
on August 2, 2018.
Equally strong was Kihn's four-song showcase, with the Baltimore, Maryland native getting early-arriving concertgoers to move with potent takes on his 1981 hit "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)" and his even bigger cut "Jeopardy." 

This writer was especially taken with his new track, the original "The Life I Got" off Kihn's latest LP, the cleverly-titled Rekihndled (released in 2017).

Review and photography by Robert Kinsler

1 comment:

newwavegeo said...

Good review! I enjoyed seeing Greg Kihn and Tommy Tutone live for the first time.