Rick Springfield’s ‘Best in Show’ recalls the 1980s

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Rick Springfield is known for his energetic, collaborative shows. He acknowledges fans close to the stage. He strums his guitar with roses given to him by fans and encourages ticketholders to sing along with him.

But off stage, Springfield is quiet and contemplative. He’s on the road with his “Best in Show” tour with Loverboy, Tommy Tutone and Greg Kihn, but admits he wasn’t really friends with his tourmates previously.

“I’ve never been real social,” Springfield says quietly. “I never sought out bands to hang with them. I’ve actually kind of avoided that. It’s nice, though, to be relaxed enough now, to be confident enough, and secure to hang with these people. They’re all good, good guys.”

Loverboy singer Mike Reno recalls meeting Springfield on a music cruise in the Caribbean.

“We’ve been playing together a lot lately and people seem to really like the mix,” Reno says. “Rick and our band really got along well. We liked their band. They liked our band. The camaraderie is great, and the music is from the same era. That’s good and it just seems to work, and the crowds seem to love it.”

The goal of “Best in Show,” which comes to Casino del Sol’s AVA Amphitheater on Sunday, August 19, is to have fun while bringing back memories.

“Fans remember where they were and who they were with when they hear these songs,” Reno says. “It makes them feel young and it makes them have fun.”

Loverboy and Springfield have new material out. Springfield recently released the provocative blues album The Snake King, while Loverboy posts new songs regularly on its website. Rest assured, “We always play all the hits and everything,” Springfield says. “But it makes it exciting when we have a challenge of a new song.”

The multifaceted entertainer has been quoted as saying The Snake King was the album he’s always wanted to make. He corrects that.

“I mean, they all are,” Springfield says. “I wanted to talk about things going on in the world, and I thought the blues media would fit. It seemed like an appropriate vehicle for that. My first bands were blues bands. Blues has been the basis of my guitar playing for forever.”

“It’s me who’s writing,” he says. “There’s going to be some kind of through line.”

At 68, Springfield is feeling more confident these days. Success and age has brought security.

“I’ve never been particularly confident myself, but I’ve always had that belief that I could do what I want to do.”

Performances help as well.

“It’s hard not to feel good when you’re playing in front of people who are there cheering and yelling and partying with you,” he says. “I’ve always loved that aspect of it – the live thing, the connection with the audience. There’s nothing else in my life that does that in that particular way. When I’m not on stage, I’m pretty quiet. I’m a bit of a loner.”

Rick Springfield performs at Casino del Sol on August 19. (Photo by Elizabeth Attenborou)