JENNINGS: Next up for Artpark: A trip to the early '80s

Rick Springfield headlines a night of early-'80s music at this week's Tuesday series show at Artpark. (The Associated Press)

The date was Sept. 14, 1982, Rick Springfield was riding a wave of two successful solo albums, “Working Class Dog,” and “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet,” and in the midst of a headlining tour with Greg Kihn as his opening act when he came to the Rochester War Memorial. The concert experience was blazed into my memory for one reason, the ratio of females to males seemed like it was 100 to 1.

Nearly 40 years later, Rick still draws a crowd, and now it's with plenty of males in attendance, and fans who attend his show for the first time on Tuesday at Artpark will quickly find out, the guy is more than just a pretty face — he's a dynamic performer.

In 1982, I was a typical arena rock show attendee, complete with a mullet. I was a casual fan of Rick’s music, and even an occasional watcher of “General Hospital,” the morning soap opera that introduced Rick to America. I kept tabs on his career but he fell off my musical radar when I grew older.

I caught Rick again in 2013 at the Niagara Fallsview Casino, and from that moment on I have been telling anyone who would listen that Rick would be the perfect addition to the Artpark lineup.

Born Richard Lewis Springthorpe, the Australian native started out his career as a musician in Australia before his foray into acting when he moved to the U.S. in the late 1970s, making his television acting debut in 1977 on “The Six Million Dollar Man.”

His acting career eventually helped relaunch his singing career, especially his role as Dr. Noah Drake on the aforementioned soap opera “General Hospital.” From 1981-1984 he released four consecutive platinum selling albums, and even won a Grammy Award for “Jessie’s Girl.”

Rick’s last three studio albums, “Songs for the End of the World,” “Rocket Science” and “The Snake King” contain some of the best work of his career and fans can expect a few songs from the recent releases to be included in Rick’s set.

Also on the bill is the return performance from Canadian rocker Loverboy. They appeared at the Tuesday series in 2017 and they sounded great.

Like Rick Springfield, Loverboy released four consecutive multi-Platinum albums during roughly the same period — Loverboy’s consecutive Platinum albums were released from 1980-1985. The band cranked out a ton of radio hits in those few short years, including “Turn Me Loose,” “Working for the Weekend” and ‘Hot Girls in Love.”

The current lineup features all of the band’s original members except bass player Scott Smith who passed away in 2000.

Tommy Tutone will get the evening underway; they had a massive hit with "867-5309/Jenny.” Most people think that Tommy Tutone is the name of the group’s lead singer, but it is actually the name of the band.

Released in 1981, "867-5309” may be the most famous telephone number to appear in a song. At one point one of the song’s writers claimed Jenny was based on a real person and that was her real number, but in later years that story was debunked, and it turns out the number was chosen because it sounded good in the song.

If you are a fan of early 1980s popular music you will not want to miss this show, you can also find out if Rick is really as good in concert as I say he is in concert.

Tickets start at $17 and are available through or the Artpark box office.


Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.