Sunday, July 3, 2016

WMMX--Summerfest 18

My wife and I went to the Fraze Pavilion last night to see Summerfest 18 which was sponsored by WMMX.  They were handing out stickers and rubber bracelets so I grabbed a few (along with a vinyl banner that was taped to a walkway handrail and somehow magically ended up in my possession.  Shhhh don't tell anyone...)  Other "Mix 107.7" stickers can be seen here.

This year's concert began with a set by Detroit's garage poppers The Romantics.  Lead singer Wally Palmer still plays a mean harmonica and the crowd got on their feet for "Talking in your Sleep" and especially "What I Like About You" which is pretty much a perfect power pop anthem.  I was kinda disappointed they didn't play "One in a Million" which hit the Top-40 but almost never gets played on the radio these days.  In fact, the last time I heard it was on a Saturday morning WMMX rerun of American Top 40 from 1984 when the song reached #37.

Up next was Night Ranger who played a non-stop string of sing-along anthems including "Sing Me Away", "When You Close Your Eyes", "Don't Tell Me You Love Me", the Damn Yankees' "High Enough", "You Can Still Rock in America" and, of course, "Sister Christian".  You can tell these guys have been doing this for a long time, just great sounding, tight rock and roll.

Then Rick Springfield walked out on stage alone with an acoustic guitar.  I figured he started all of his concerts this way but he explained that some members of his band had just landed at the airport and wouldn't be there for about 30 minutes.  Rick's flight was delayed as well and apparently he didn't make it in time to do a soundcheck.  His clothes didn't arrive with him either so he had to wear one of his own concert t-shirts.  After a five song acoustic set, Jack Blades from Night Ranger came back out to play bass joined by Rick's guitarist and drummer and we were treated to an impromptu set of covers done totally on the fly--"Crossroads", "Gloria", "You Really Got Me", "Fire" and "Wild Thing".  Right about the time they ran out of songs they could all play together (Blades didn't know any Springfield tunes) the remaining members of Rick's band showed up and they ripped through a quick Springfield's greatest hits set culminating in, you guessed it, "Jessie's Girl".  The Fraze Pavilion has an 11:00 curfew because the outdoor venue is situated right in the middle of a neighborhood in Kettering, a suburb of Dayton.  It's hard to say what songs we didn't get to hear because of the situation although some we got to hear twice, both acoustic and electric.  "I've Done Everything For You" is great either way.  It was a really fantastic show and a lot more spontaneous than anyone could have expected.  I joked that I was probably the only guy who dragged his wife to this concert instead of the other way around.  (Rick Springfield's rabid female fan base is legendary.)

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