I may or may not be going to see Rick Springfield in concert for the fifth time this week. OK–I admit it–I definitely AM going to see him for the fifth time. Don’t judge me.
For all you naysayers, yes, Rick Springfield is still alive, and yes, he still looks darn good for a man who is 64 years old. More importantly, he can still rock with the best of them and no, he doesn’t need to use a walker to get around on stage.
I first became
obsessed with a fan of Rick Springfield when I was a freshman in high school. I bought all his 8-track tapes (showing my age, no?), posters, and planned my summer afternoons around watching General Hospital with Rick playing the part of Dr. Noah Drake. I had pictures of him taped inside my locker at school. I wore lots of purple and dreamed of buying a pair of high top Converses. Jessie’s Girl was a frequent anthem that my family could hear blaring from my bedroom. Rick was the leading man of many of my teenage daydreams. Typical teenage fangirl behavior.
When I was 16 years old, Rick was performing in concert in the big city near me. My best friend and I schemed about how we could bribe our parents into letting us go to the concert. You-know-where apparently froze over briefly because both sets of parents granted permission for our concert attendance. To say we were ecstatic was an understatement.
I remember the concert crowd being mostly girls (shocking, I know). Rick spit water on me from the stage (I was never going to take a bath again so long as I should live!) and I came very near to certain death. Remember how most concerts used to be general admission only and everyone flooded to the floor to push and shove their way to the front of the stage? My best friend and I wanted to get as close to Rick as humanly possible so of course we went to the floor. Naive, we were. At some point in the concert, we were pushed all the way to the stage which is good because we were near Rick, but it was also bad because I felt like I was being suffocated by the mass of bodies. Fortunately there were a few big, burly security guys at the front who were pulling girls over the wall at the front to save them from asphyxiation. I seriously don’t know how no one was crushed to death. My best friend and I wore our concert t-shirts with pride the next school day.
Rick Springfield, 1982. I snapped this picture after I was spit on but before being rescued from impending death by security.
When I was a sophomore in college, I saw Rick again in Lubbock, TX. Mr. Caffeinated Ginger, who was only Caffeinated Ginger’s boyfriend at the time, accompanied me to this concert. (I knew it was true love when he saw me in full fangirl mode and still wanted to be with me.) Once again, it was general admission, I was on the floor, and had to be pulled over the wall at the front so I would be saved from certain death. I’m a slow learner sometimes.
Fast forward a few decades. For the past three years, Rick has performed in venues near me and I have been lucky enough to attend. I still get giddy with the thought of seeing him. He still makes my heart skip a beat. I still know every single word to every single song. Considering the behavior of most of the women in the audience, I am not the only one who feels this way.
Rick in concert, 2013
Rick and I in the same room. Feet apart. Sigh.
What is it about our teenage crushes that make us still feel the same way about them several years and decades later? I think it’s because they transport us back to time where life was a little more dramatic, our life responsibilities (job, home, children) were a LOT less, and we really believed that given the right opportunity to know us, our crushes would drop everything to be with us.
Thank you, Rick, for making me feel like a teenage girl again. That feeling definitely doesn’t come around very often. So as I hear you sing this week, I will pretend that am I young, life is full of unlimited possibilities, and that you are singing just to me.