Concert Review: Rick Springfield at the Indiana State Fair

Rick Springfield - photo by Nora Spitznogle

Near the end of Rick Springfield’s free concert at the Indiana State Fair in the early evening 90+ degree heat Thursday night, the soon-to-be 61 year-old singer waded into the track seats, while singing his 1983 hit “Human Touch”. He walked – on the chairs – through the audience, from one end to the other. Then he went up into the grandstand, making his way to the upper section, slapping hands and hanging onto shoulders to keep his balance.

While this move, and an extended version of his 1982 hit “Don’t Talk to Strangers” that concluded with four girls, ranging in ages from 4 to 17, singing the chorus – evokes more than a whiff of rock and roll cheese when done at a normal 21-and-over concert, it worked perfectly for the free outdoor show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The mix of 40 and 50-something moms and cougars, plus kids, teens and guys who wrongly won’t admit going, mixed into an engaged, tuned-in crowd. It doesn’t hurt that Springfield is a relaxed and seasoned musical road dog, having been on stage for more than 40 years.

Many in attendance had seemingly seen a Springfield show before (the Hoosier Lottery lady who came out 15 minutes before the show asked, and more than 50 percent of the hands went into the air), but even those who only know the radio songs were rewarded with the hits – and just couple misses.

Dressed in a black and white checkered button-up shirt, black jeans and Chuck Taylor’s, Springfield was aided by a band that recreated the sound of the records on many of Rick’s later-career songs, though struggled on a couple of his more power-poppy Working Class Dog hits.

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