Rick Springfield, The Hooters, Paul Young, and Tommy Tutone at Liberty First Credit Union Arena on August 30th, 2023
I am a fan of festivals and package tours because, with most bands and artists, I rarely want to see more than an hour or ninety minutes. There are occasions where the package tour or festival will bite back and leave you wanting a lot more. Last night, on a four-artist 80s line-up at Liberty First Credit Union Arena (it was originally going to be the first show at The Astro), a little of both happened. We got just enough Tommy Tutone, Paul Young, and maybe even Rick Springfield, but not enough of The Hooters.
The first act up was Tommy Tutone, who, I guess, is just Tommy Heath now. Tommy Tutone was a band, and I thought it was still Tommy and Jimmy. Tommy did have a band, which was Rick Springfield’s. They started off with “Angel Said No” (which was a Top 40 hit and disqualifies the band as a one-hit wonder) and went into “Cheap Date”. The 76-year-old sounded fine and was charming in a mumbly old rocker way. He then said he was going to play Jim Croce’s “Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels) in the style of The Clash. He then did a kind of punk/ska version of said song. Fun. He would then do “Sylvia” and, of course, “Jenny (867-5309). He stated that “Jenny” was his guitar and that the secret was out. The crowd got on their feet and danced, and we heard “the screamer” for the first time. “The Screamer” was a woman belting out bloodcurdling screams that should be recorded for Halloween albums. She would do this all through the night, sometimes at peak moments in songs and sometimes not. It was really distracting for much of the night. The odd thing was that we didn’t hear her during Rick Springfield. The bottom line is that sometimes your fandom, or perceived fandom, is too much. I have been guilty of this myself.
Paul Young was up next and performed four songs. He has all the rock star moves and a lot of energy, but his voice is not so good anymore, at least not on these songs. He could probably do just fine on different materials. He (backed by Rick’s band) played the only two songs I know by him (which are both other people’s songs), “I’m Going To Tear Your Playhouse Down” and “Every Time You Go Away,” and two other songs.
We had a little set change time as The Hooters are a full band and would be playing on their own equipment. The band has five of the original members, which was nice and would come into play as they performed like a well-oiled machine. The band opened up with the anthem “I’m Alive” and then went into the minor hit “Day By Day” before playing a song off of their new album called “Why Won’t You Call Me Back,” which was a ska-reggae song and didn’t fit too well with the rest of the set. The band was originally a ska-reggae band before the hits, and they are trying that again. Next up was “All You Zombies,” which they played very straight and didn’t try to change it up or take it over the top to emphasize it as one of their hits. The band to this point had been very energetic and engaging, switching up instruments, pulling out hooters, mandolins, horns, and more. It was hard to keep track of everything happening up there. Next up was my personal highlight “Karla With A K”, which was a deep cut favorite of mine, and I have many from this band. They then played one of their later songs, “25 Hours A Day,” which I think is 20 years old at this point, and then played the trio of hits. The first was “One Of Us,” which was made famous by Joan Osborne but written by Eric Bazillian of The Hooters, and she was backed by the band on that recording, I think. I have seen her perform it, Prince perform it, and now The Hooters perform it. I will let you guess my favorite version of that song, but The Hooters did a great job, and it was nice to see Eric sing it. Next up was “Time After Time”, which, of course, is a huge Cyndi Lauper song but was written by Rob Hyman of The Hooters, and I think the band may have performed on her recording of the song. Again, it was cool to hear Rob sing it, but yeah, that one is Cyndi’s song. They closed out with “And We Danced,” and the audience did just that. I feel like another half hour or more would’ve really driven this performance home even more. There were many more songs I wanted, and the band still has all of the tools to put on a lengthy set that will keep our attention. I hope to see that someday. Fantastic set of music from the band.
Rick Springfield was up next, and when he swaggered onto stage, I think my jaw dropped. That man looks amazing, and he would go on to own that stage like he was forty years younger than his 74 years old. People would throw up bouquets of roses, and he would windmill them into his guitar strings. He walked the chairs in the audience and got among the people, and yes, he performed shirtless, and he had every right to do so. He sounded in great voice, and they pounded through hits like “Affair of the Heart”, Sammy Hagar’s “I’ve Done Everything For You”, “Love Is Alright Tonight”, “Don’t Talk To Strangers”, “Human Touch” and “Love Somebody”. He did a new song called Automatic,” which was kind of an aggressive rock/rap song. That was a dud for me. He talked about his depression as a lead into “World Starts Turning” and would do a generous medley of deeper cuts. He, of course, closed with “Jessie’s Girl”. It was a fun hour-long set that never slowed down, and even with the one new song, it never lagged or felt like there was any filler. It is truly amazing what he is able to do at that age.