About last night…
Last fall I found out Rick Springfield would be bringing his “Stripped down solo show” to the KUSS Auditorium. I’d already told Rick a few times I hoped to host the Q & A session when it was in our listening area. I told him his gig in Springfield, OH was 30 min. from my house and within 45 minutes I had an email from his management saying Rick told them I would like to host. I was so excited but I also know my boss Jeff Stevens is not only a huge fan but would be a great promoter of this show. So I asked if we could co-host it and they and the folks at Clark State Performing Arts Center obliged. I thanked Rick and told him I wouldn’t let him down. I may or may not have promised him a dog to love on when he’d be here… ;) (ok, yeah I did).
On December 21st, Rick’s beloved Mother passed away in Australia. She was 96 and lived a wonderful life but I know that pain, unfortunately. I sent my condolences to him and told him we would do something special at the Valentine’s Day show in honor of his sweet Mum. He thanked me and said she was a magnificent spirit.
The past few months have been spent working out details and trying to keep the 2 promises I had made. Luckily, I found a way to keep both! I bought a memorial brick to be installed in the garden at the Humane Society of Greater Dayton in honor of his Mother who had now joined his father in Heaven. Could I afford the $100 gift? Sure. But the more I thought about it, I didn’t know if his fans had all been able to be a part of the other donations like the Calendar sales to benefit Linda Blair’s WorldHeart Foundation. (which was brilliant and I was happy to take part in that too). This show was attached to the station and to a local venue so The Humane Society of Greater Dayton was the perfect choice here. Especially because at first, I was just going to open it to local fans. However, Rick has THE MOST LOYAL and LOVING fans on the planet with the biggest hearts, so it was opened up to any fan who heard and wanted to participate. So I posted on FB that I would collect for this brick & donation to the HSGD and the rest would go toward a Starbucks gift card for Rick.
So as I said, I wasn’t sure who had participated in other donations/condolence gifts so I had no idea if I was going to be paying for most of it or what… boy was I off in that thinking! I had received enough for that brick within FIVE MINUTES of posting on FB. Then, the awesome RS fans just kept donating. I started realizing this would be a huge gift card and a much better for the HSGD than I even thought! The totals: $1000 to the HSGD and a $250 Starbucks Gift card for Rick.
It was time to start planning promise #1, a Dog. RS fans all know he has said “I am always at my happiest in the presence of a Dog”. So I asked Brian Weltge, CEO of HSGD if he would be willing to actually bring a Dog to the venue for Rick at the end of the show. (he brings pets to our studio every week). At first this was the plan but it fell through (being Valentine’s Day). So a few days before, I was faced with breaking my 1st promise. Luckily, Ashley Schmitt from HSGD said she would! The coordination of something like this is VERY detailed so I really appreciated not only Ashley’s help but the assistance I got from the venue. There are a lot of hoops to jump through when you plan something like this! Totally worth it though.
For the show, we’ve been seeing video clips of his songs he has been doing about losing his Mom and then goes into the song “My Father’s Chair” about losing his Dad. The day before the show I went to the party store and bought every pack of heart plates they had (silver plate, red heart). I placed them on the seats of the first 4 rows right before doors opened. On the back of each one had the directions for the seat holder to hold up the heart after the 2nd parent song to show Rick some extra love. The directions were followed beautifully!! I was so proud of our crowd! He said he wished we could all see it from his view, it was awesome.
So before we were going to do the Q & A part of the show I was told to engage, not just say “next” but really get involved. But we also had to be structured too. This was harder for me than I thought! I had to do my job and police things… It’s not fair for one audience member to ask Rick for a kiss or hug or be able to share their life story and not everyone else… so we can’t allow those requests. But even though we tell people not to put him on the spot like that, they always tend to anyway. But Rick came out and like usual, Jeff shook his hand and I hugged him and immediately took the wrath from the audience (I trained them well!!!) for doing so lol! (I apologized...but on the other hand I was working, so that didn’t count) ;) ANYWAY - - I’ve worked lots events and meet n greets for artists who come through and for Steve Burton and actors who need a personal assistant for the day, so I figured this would be easy. Not so much. You see, I’m now looking out at so many faces I’m used to being next to in the audience! So I tried to make it firm but joke as much as I could. Not sure how it came across but hopefully they got it that I had a job to do.
One of the questions was about why he doesn’t do the song “Kristina” very often. He actually does it in encore quite a bit! So he picked up the guitar and started to play. I thought Jeff would join in for a little harmony but now that I think about it, he wasn’t there yet when Matty gave me direction to really engage and become part of it and join in. (I even said “that won’t be like stepping on Rick’s toes?” and he said “absolutely not. It makes it a unique and engaging show”). So it was just me doing a little harmony on the chorus but right there…another dream come true.
After the last question I reminded Rick of the two promises I had made him. I showed him the brick and told him how his fans love him SO much that the donations kept coming in. Then I gave him the card with the Starbucks card inside. (he kept worrying about where it was after the show lol). I gave him the receipt letter from the HSGD showing the $1000 donation in honor of his Mother and the certificate for the brick. He said his first thought was he couldn’t wait to show his Mom because she loved stuff like that. (My heart hurt for him on that one). Then I reminded him there was one other promise to keep and that Ashley from the HSGD was there with a special guest to say thank you… Out came Ashley with lil adoptable ZaZa - a black puppy who was just as excited to see Rick as we all are every time! (Just for different reasons). The show ended and we went back to get some pics & video clips of Rick with ZaZa. My favorite was the video at the end where he kisses her head and he says “puppy breath!” (in a happy voice) and puts her down. She immediately turned and put her from paws up at him wanted more RS love. We feel ya Zaza, we feel ya!
At the end of the meet n greet Jeff and I helped Matty with, Rick said he was going to go put his Starbucks card away. I said “I hope whenever you use it you’ll be reminded of how much your fans love and support you” He said “oh I will” and smiled. :)
And just like that, weeks of planning and work became instantly worth it. :)