Rick Springfield and Pat Benatar & Neil Geraldo
May 5th, 2017
Starlight Theater, Kansas City, MO
Our score: 5 out of 5 Stars
To me, it was the “First time and Familiar” Show.
This is the 15th time I’ve seen Rick Springfield. I’ve seen him at outdoor venues, arenas and, on July 15, 1993, got to sing with him at Max’s on Broadway in Baltimore. Ironically, 1100 miles west of me, my future wife was celebrating her birthday! And tonight I was seeing him at same place I saw him for the very first time.
Mr. Springthorpe (his real name for those of you that have a desire to stump others in trivia) kicked off the show with a rousing “I’ve Done Everything For You,” then filled the night with an amazing assortment of hits, newer songs and covers, including an amazing version of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” He did a fine medley of some of his biggest hits as well as two long, fan friendly versions of “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and “Human Touch.” And, of course, he brought down the house with “Jessie’s Girl!” In his book, Springfield talks about how another guitarist was brought in to play the lead on the recording of “Jessie’s Girl” as the record label didn’t think Springfield was playing it clean enough. Obviously this stuck with him as he has, in the past three decades, become a fine guitarist, even throwing in a little “Purple Haze” in this show to demonstrate his chops. All in all a very high-energy and entertaining set.
Next on the bill were Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo. I had never seen these two live before and they were surely an act on my bucket list! Following a short video which explained how the two ended up together (both professionally and personally) the band took the stage. In the pre-show video we learned that Ms. Benatar had been trained to use her voice from a young age and that training obviously paid off. Unlike recent shows I attended of her musical contemporaries (Joan Jett, Ann Wilson from Heart), Ms. Benatar was in amazing voice, never missing a note, no matter how high or long. And I owe Mr. Geraldo an apology. In December 2000, writing for a friends web site, I listed him as the 8th greatest guitarist of all time. I may have sold him short. Seeing him live, watching him provide the backbone to some of the most popular songs of the 80s, certainly moved him up the list. Their on-stage stories about how some of the songs came along were just as entertaining. Oh, and as a follow-up to the story I told about Rick Springfield needed a better guitarist, the audience learned what I already knew…that guitarist was Neil Giraldo. Ironically, in the past Mr. Springfield had already lost a girlfriend (Linda Blair) and a new mixing machine to Mr. Giraldo so I can’t see his feelings being hurt too much more! The hits were many and the stories interesting. Ms. Benatar talked about the “Holy 14,” which are the songs they must play or they get blasted on social media for neglecting them. As far as I know, she did them all because I left the show more then satisfied.