Downtown Rocks at Fremont Street Experience has brought some incredible shows this summer and to top off the excitement all the concerts are free!
Saturday night August 19 at 7:30 p.m. just thirty minutes after gates opened, all Fremont and side streets were getting full in front of Third Street Stage between The D and The Four Queens. By showtime at 9:00 p.m., it was elbow to elbow room. Fremont Street Experience President and CEO Patrick Hughes announces this is the largest crowd ever for the summer concert series!
Grammy Award winning singer / songwriter Rick Springfield walked on to the stage to a roaring crowd of 21,000 plus who were gridlocked in the streets, ready to catch a glimpse of the soon to be 60+ year old rocker. His hair still long, and looking fine and fit as always. Beginning his show with the perfect song "Light This Party Up", he walks into the hundred degree temperature with shorts and tee shirt and black hi-top Converse and one of his many signature guitars, and every female an even a few males were singing and dancing from the get go. The stage with a small thrust in the middle kept the 6’ 1” rocker at arms length to the ladies, and being in the barricade I had the opportunity to take a step up just before the third song of the night began and reached up to hand him a dozen roses. If you have been to a Rick Springfield show, then you know what happens next. He takes his stance and for the first chord of "I Get Excited", and slams the bouquet of roses against his guitar and a huge spray of rose petals fly through the air. The trademark move has been done for the past 30 plus years and never fails to wow the audience, the exact reason I brought the roses for the night!
It’s quite comical to watch at times as a movement catches his eye every couple of minutes - the canopy covered Fremont Street has a double zip line called Slot Zilla and each time the riders zip past, he watches them go by, points at them and says he feels like he’s in the movie The Matrix. He also announces it will be his birthday in a few days, and has the crowd join in singing happy birthday - it’s quite amazing to hear over 20,000 people sing happy birthday to one man! Springfield and band are non-stop energy, always running across the stage and up to the front of the front, and then he states how hot and wet he his and laughs saying ‘You all took that the wrong way’! During his cover of Katy Perry’s "Roar", he jokingly states he needs his girly guitar for this song. The guitar tech brings out a very sparkly silver design, which is one of many he designed himself and sells on his website.
Nineteen albums, four Grammy nominations, one Grammy Award and more than 30 songs which received airplay during his career, and an autobiography under his belt, how do you pack 45 years of music into a 2 hour show? Half way through, he plays a medley of seven of his fan favorites and keeps going. Slowing it down for "Miss Mayhem", a release from his latest album Rocket Science, he sits center stage on a stool with a beautiful tourquoise blue and silver guitar and explains the story of "Miss Mayhem" as the music begins.
The energy returns with a guitar solo and another medley. "Don’t Talk To Strangers" brings him into the photo pit around the barricade, as he gets fans to sing along in the chorus. On far stage left, a 'Don’t Talk To Strangers' sign can been seen waving in the distance, and before you can blink an eye he walks on stage holding the hand of a little girl holding the sign. He introduces her and states that she was 9 years old and had been doing this she was two!
“Please, I’m not sure you know, but I’ve been performing the last several shows with a broken rib and a couple of nights ago, a woman hugged me so hard, she rebroke my rib. No kidding! So please, when I come out, please do not hug me! Give me high fives and fist bumps, but please be careful of my ribs", Springfield (semi) jokes before "Human Touch" begins, and half way through the song he steps from the stage, over the barrier and into the crowd. For a full 5 minutes he walks through the crowd giving fans the thrill of his human touch. Eventually hopping the barrier back onto the stage, grabbing his ribs a couple of times, smiling through the pain. Finishing the night with "Love Somebody" from his 1984 movie Hard To Hold he introduces his band and everyone jets off the stage, but quickly returns for the encore with "Jessie’s Girl", his Grammy Award winning song from 1982 as the crowd cheers and another massive sing along ensues.