Rick Springfield and Richard Marx

To the Review….

I wanted to yell to her, “Yes, he is going to play “Jessie’s Girl,” now will you please, you and your friend, shut up and enjoy the rest of the show, even if you don’t know the songs.”

I didn’t.

I also didn’t move my feet for about an hour and a half. They were firmly planted on the ground no matter how much said girl kept pushing her way into my space. My wife saw how she kept bumping into me and suggested I move closer to her (my wife), but I told her, “If I give this drunk girl any space, I’ll never get it back.”

Richard Marx in concert at RaviniaAnd so it was on a rocking, freezing night at Ravinia Festival near Chicago for the double bill of, as Richard Marx put it, “Two Dicks.” Yup, Richard Marx and Rick Springfield on a night when you would have thought it was the middle of October instead of mid-June.

None of that mattered, though, all that really mattered was the music, the hits, new stuff, and a great time through the mist and cold.

Richard Marx had the opening slot. Kind of a bummer for him with the weather because the pavilion was sparsely populated at this point. The weather wasn’t helping walk-up sales, and a lot of the crowd was there for the other Rick. That’s not to say the folks who were there didn’t have a great time with Dick #1, I mean, his initial call to the top of the charts was around the same high school years as that of Mr. Springfield.

Richard Marx in concert at Ravinia, Highland Park, ILThe interesting thing with Richard Marx, however, is that a lot of his more recent success has come in the shadows, as the songwriter and producer of tons of artists, many of whom you have heard of. Yup, remember “This I Promise You” from NSYNC? He was a part of that. Remember Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father?” A part of that, too. Keith Urban’s “Long Hot Summer?” Not just Keith, but Richard, too.

And the list goes on.

Richard Marx in concert - Ravinia in Highland Park, ILAnywho, Richard Marx’s set consisted of many of the hits you might remember from those 80’s, “Angelina” and “Hold On to the Nights” to name a couple. The crowd loved him, sang along as they should have, and appreciated his song “When You Loved Me” which he recorded with his sons as his “band” on video. He did a fantastic set, including stories of the songs he worked on with the other artists. His NSYNC story was pretty funny, and seeing a young Justin Timberlake in the picture he flashed was, well, actually just made me feel old.

Richard was fun. The crowd had fun. It’s Two Thumbs Up for Richard Marx. It is too bad he moved to the west coast, Chicago lost a favorite son, but with the weather we’ve been having, holy crap I understand the move!

Rick Springfield in concert, Ravinia, HIghland Park, ILA quick set change brought a video montage of Rick Springfield’s successes, but really, the crowd didn’t need a refresher, well, except maybe that intoxicated girl next to me. Out came Rick to the raucous “Light This Party Up,” and the crowd began to party.

Now, it’s been almost 20 years since I last song Rick Springfield in concert. Yes, I admit, it’s been way too long, especially for me who loves his music. Back then it was at a venue called “Joe’s Bar” in Chicago, on a cold, November night, and crap, it was nearly as cold this night in June.

Rick Springfield in concert at Ravinia, Highland Park, ILRick blew through a set consisting of the songs people wanted to hear and a few more recent ones the girl next to me didn’t want to hear. She was definitely in the minority.

You might remember the songs, like “I’ve Done Everything for You,” “Affair of the Heart,” and “Love is Alright Tonight.” He even did a great rendition of “World Start Turning,” explaining his ever-present demon of depression, but I’ll tell you what, if you miss rockin’ these days, and haven’t checked out Rick’s later offerings, may I suggest you give a listen to “The Snake King” from 2018. “Little Demon” kicked ass, and he even got crowd participation on a newer song, not the easiest of things to do, on “The Voodoo House,” a bluesy, rocker.

If you are Rick Springfield and have lots of hits people want to hear, what do you do so the concert isn’t a marathon? Why not a medley? So he did, with songs like “Bop ’Til You Drop,” the always fun to hear “Bruce,” “Don’t Walk Away,” “Rock of Life,” and “What Kind of Fool Am I?” in a mid-show medley.

Rick Springfield in concert at Ravinia, Highland Park, IL“Don’t Talk to Strangers” brought true crowd participation as Rick tossed a microphone into the audience for people to sing into, and “Human Touch” got Rick into the crowd, coming down the aisle, across the seats, and back up to the stage. Funny, or maybe sad, how the song, with lyrics like “Everybody’s talking to computers” and “I’m so scared and isolated in the modern world,” actually has more meaning, some 36 years after it was originally released.

With the evening wrapping up, and the girl next to me still blabbering for “Jessie’s Girl,” she would have to wait a few more songs as Dick #2 brought Dick #1 back to the stage for some duetting to each other’s tunes, with Richard Marx handling “Don’t Mean Nothin’” and Rick leading “Love Somebody.”

Yes, finally drunk girl got her wish. Yup, it was “Jessie’s Girl” time, as if Mr. Springfield wasn’t going to play it?

Sure, the weather completely sucked, but Richard and Rick brought a good time to everyone who braved the elements. There was reminiscing about the old songs, enjoying the new songs and Rick even had a sing-along of “Happy Birthday” for himself as his 70th birthday is approaching. Quick side note, as Rick was “questioning” the crowd how old they thought he was, the drunk girl next to me pegged him at late 50’s. When I told her he was 69 she seemed shocked, but then said something similar to “I’d still sleep with him.”

I do have to say that following the concert I felt a little down about myself. I mean, there he is, approaching 70 year’s old, coming off the flu, and bouncing around the stage with the energy that I, well, I don’t think I had that energy when I was in my 20’s. I have got to give the guy credit for continuing to put on a fantastic show and not just resting on his old hits but also making some great, new music.

It’s Two, Giant Thumbs Up for Rick Springfield. Go ahead, see him to relive the 80’s but enjoy the new stuff, too! All I know is one of these times I have to get real photo clearance for his show so I can get better pictures of the man. I just probably shouldn’t wait another 20 years to see him.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Bachman: Special Edition


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 78 Minutes
From: Filmrise / MVD Entertainment Group
Available on DVD and Blu-ray:  May 10, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes | MVD Group

I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize Randy Bachman was a member of The Guess Who. Sure, I knew the songs “American Woman” and “These Eyes,” but I never knew Mr. Bachman was a part of that magic.

Enter “Bachman: Special Edition,” a documentary of Randy Bachman, out on Blu-ray and DVD.

Maybe you didn’t realize Randy Bachman was a part of The Guess Who, either. I’m guessing most of us think Bachman-Turner Overdrive when we hear his name. Also not realized might be that he is in his 70’s now, still making music (check out the most-interesting “By George – By Bachman”), and he was never the stereotypical partying kind of rock and roller. He just wanted to play guitar and make great music.

Which he does, and a lot of it.

Continue reading Bachman: Special Edition

White Chamber


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 89 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
In Theaters and VOD: March 29, 2019
Get it via : iTunes

I get so mad at myself when I don’t see the plot twist coming. I also secretly applaud the film folks when they pull it off. And so I must applaud the film folks of “White Chamber” when the big reveal came towards the end of the movie because I just didn’t see it coming.

It was a wonderful “Ahhh!”

I won’t give this moment away, so let’s get to the story.

It appears the United Kingdom is in a civil war. Somehow the military has taken over, led by General Zakarian (Oded Fehr). Enter Ruth (Shauna Macdonald), or whatever the woman’s name is. She wakes up in this white room, a.k.a. chamber, completely lit up, and with a bump on her noggin.

Continue reading White Chamber

Level 16


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 94 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
Available in Theaters and VOD:  March 1, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Strange things are afoot at the secret lab. Girls are locked away hoping for one thing, to be adopted by a nice family. That sounds nice and all, but as we watch the girls and their training, it appears something else might be going on. Hmm? I’m thinking the good Dr. Miro (Peter Outerbridge) and his assistant Miss Brixil (Sara Canning), may be up to no good. Uh oh!

Now, the press materials for “Level 16” have a number of references to the Hulu phenomenon, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The problem for me? This means absolutely nothing. Most of my experience with said Tale is walking by the TV when my wife is watching it. Yes, it looks interesting enough, but I’ve got enough shows, I don’t need to get sucked into another one. Me, I’ll do my best to review the film without the comparisons.

Back to the girls in the “school.”

Continue reading Level 16

Bohemian Rhapsody


Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 135 Minutes
From: 20th Century Fox Home Video
Available on Digital Platforms:  January 22, 2019
Available on DVD: February 12, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

While watching the movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I had to chuckle when the scene arrived showing the various clips of reviews of the Queen album, “A Night at the Opera” and the epic song, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Yup, critics really didn’t like the album, didn’t get it, and basically dismissed it. Enter “Bohemian Rhapsody” the movie, and sure enough the critics didn’t really like it, didn’t get it, and basically dismissed it. The problem? The people going to the theater appeared to love it.

This reviewer is in line with the people going to the theater, though I am disappointed with a few liberties the film folks took with the life of Freddie Mercury (played in the film by Rami Malek). More about that, later.

Me, I was seven years old when “A Night at the Opera” came out. I can’t say I remember it back then, but what I do remember is “A Night at the Opera” was the first album I ever bought. I remember riding my bike to Big Town in Lorain, Ohio, putting the album on my turntable, and there it was, a skip, during “Seaside Rendezvous.” I didn’t care. I loved the album, and listened to it over, and over, and over. It’s the only piece of vinyl I will not depart with, has a place on my knick-knack shelf, and when I bought the CD of “A Night at the Opera” I would still sing the “skip” during “Seaside.” Queen has always been one of musical influences of my life.

It was with much hope that I didn’t want to be let down by the movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and I loved it.

Continue reading Bohemian Rhapsody

Fleetwood Mac

To the Review….

Excitement of a concert experience can come from a variety of ways. You can engross yourself in the people-watching, with your pre-show critiquing of concert-going attire and wondering if someone is a rebel or an ass for wearing a “No F%^#s Given” t-shirt (with the %^# being the actual “uck”). You also might notice a younger woman, in a sea of elders, sitting by herself, in a chair on the floor section, and wonder, “Why is she here by herself?” Don’t forget the groping couple, seemingly to never separate for two-plus hours, and you also might find yourself sometimes distracted by the drunk guy who can’t seem to understand the security folks simply trying to explain to him that his seats are on the other side of the floor, eventually resulting in his flipping-off said security folks, and the subsequent ending to his night as they lead him away.

Gosh, and don’t forget the concert, itself, as Fleetwood Mac filled the United Center in Chicago with hits everyone knew, some songs that had many wondering, “Is this a Fleetwood Mac song?”, and a touching tribute to Tom Petty.

Yup, just another evening at a concert!

Continue reading Fleetwood Mac

Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 118 Minutes
From: IFC Films
Available on DVD and Digital Platforms:  February 6, 2018
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

There was one point during “Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton,” when I just felt like such a schlub. It was during a scene showing Laird training. With his being 53 as I type this, and the footage not looking that old, he was probably about my age now, me being 50, or a little older. There he was, training in the gym, in the water with weights, and just being all healthy and stuff. Laird was able to love life, even with his aches and pains, and here I am struggling to get my ass out of bed most days just to get on a treadmill. I’m sure living in Hawaii kind of helps, but now I’m just making excuses.

Maybe I should let Laird’s life inspire me, even at 50, to live life instead of not let life go by, because as you watch the documentary, Laird never lets life go by.

I first heard of Laird, and that he was married to Gabrielle “Gabby” Reece, on the Tim Ferriss podcast. During the podcast they touched briefly on Laird’s past, but most of the talk was of exercise, marriage, and life in general. I found him interesting, but after watching “Take Every Wave,” I now find him fascinating. And I miss Kauai.

Continue reading Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton

Rick Springfield

To the Review….

It was supposed to just be a Rick Springfield evening. I would go to his concert on Friday night, write the review, maybe listen to “Karma” (his latest CD) again, and be done with it. But the whole weekend I couldn’t get away from him. Saturday comes, I’m at Bed, Bath & Beyond, (hey, no jokes, I needed some supplies for the dude-pad) when over the speakers I hear “Prayer,” one of the songs from “Karma,” as part of the piped-in music. “Hmm, that’s a little coincidental, don’t you think?” I thought to myself. But I let it go. Then, that evening, I’m channel surfing and stumble across “Martial Law.” That’s not special, but I rarely channel surf to the local stations on a Saturday night because there’s usually nothing I like on. Then I notice something and mumble to myself “That’s Rick Springfield. He’s getting hand-cuffed to a tree!” I was beginning to have Rick Springfield overload. He was everywhere. Thank goodness Saturday was over. No more Rick Springfield! But then Sunday came. I’m watching VH-1, it’s “The List,” they’re listing best bands of the 70’s, and there he was, again, Rick Springfield. I was beginning to go out of my mind and figured I had better write this review soon because if I didn’t I might have pages and pages of Rick Springfield experiences instead of just a concert review. So let’s get to it before somehow Rick Springfield ends up on “King of the Hill.”

When I told Stu I was going to see Rick Springfield he asked where Rick was playing. I told him “Some bar called ‘Joe’s,” to which Stu replied “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.” I told him that Rick sold out three shows and little did I know about Joe’s. After getting there I realized Rick hadn’t fallen at all.

Driving to Joe’s I recalled seeing Meat Loaf in a bar. It was small, cramped, I think Meat sweat on me, and as cool as it was to see him so up close and personal it was a little sad that he was stuck playing such a small place. I was getting close to Joe’s and those same feelings came back – it would be cool to see Rick Springfield in a bar, but he should really be playing larger venues. I walked into Joe’s, it seemed kinda small, more a restaurant than a bar, but no stage. Then I noticed people walking to another room. I followed. So much for a small bar as the place opened up into a large room with people already packed around a real stage. There was no photo pit, I was stuck on a stairway near the back, and my dreams of Rick sweating on me all but disappeared. Alright, the place is no United Center, but a bouncer-dude told me they sold around 1200 tickets per night, bodies, mostly of the dudette persuasion, were packed from front to back, and Rick put on an hour and a half show that had the dudettes screaming while their boyfriend dudes tried to be too cool for Rick Springfield even though I could see them singing along.

It’s 11:30 PM, an hour and a half later than the concert was listed, Rick came out, screams reminiscent of a Backstreet Boys concert filled the air, and suddenly I’m remembering things that I figured were long forgotten, things like the words to “I’ve Done Everything for You,” like the words to “Human Touch,” like the words to “Kristina,” and, well, you get the idea. And you know what, Rick rocked. Yea, that’s right, I said “Rick rocked.” I never knew.

Opening with “His Last Words” and “It’salwayssomething” from “Karma (with one of my new favoritist lyric lines in “Down one, home run, your dog steals the ball”), Rick, dressed in leather pants that looked like they were painted on, led the crowd through sing-a-longs, destroyed dozens of roses as he used them as guitar picks, hiked a guitar to a member of his crew, used cameras as guitar slides, and played lots of songs most people knew and a few songs from his new CD that some people knew. It was all good.

Highlights, there were many, and none of them for me revolved around “Jessie’s Girl.” Even though I like the song, it’s not my favorite (“Inside Sylvia” actually tops that list), but Rick showed that he can play with the best of them doing a great surf riff into, happily for me, “Inside Sylvia,” could turn forgetting lyrics into crowd pleasing, worked a stage like a master, and even tried to fill audience requests. He did it all and looked like he was having so much fun. That’s what it’s all about.

What else can I say about Rick Springfield except that the man puts on one hell of a show. The old songs sounded as fresh as when they were new, and the new songs show that Rick still has it, although you can tell he has grown a little in their messages. He led the crowd through “Free,” his latest single (which sounds to me like it belongs in a movie, in the scene where the dude and dudette realize they love each other and wind up in bed – it’s way romantic), had dudettes screaming at him like they were teenagers and he was 25, and showed that you don’t have to get any slower with age.

Some people seemed a little grumpy that Rick started late, and I was a little grumpy too, but that grumpiness went away once he hit the stage. He impressed me with his guitar work, had dudettes screaming at him, made me remember songs I had long forgotten, and showed to me that he is still mighty, has not fallen, and just plain knows how to rock. It’s TWO “STILL MIGHTY AND NOT FALLEN” THUMBS UP for Rick Springfield.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!



Manhattan Undying


Rated: Not rated, but it’s got vampire gore. | Running Time: 87 Minutes
From: Momentum Pictures
Available on DVD, Digital HD, and VOD:  June 6, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Manhattan Undying out June 6, 2017. So we have Max. Max is an artist, and a mess. Lately he hasn’t had any inspiration, and most of the time he can be found partying or sleeping, then waking up in his loft trying to get through another day. His life is lost. Meanwhile his friend and manager keeps trying to get him showings, but Max has nothing to show. The challenge is that Max does have a cult following of folks who love his art, and want more.

It’s bad enough Max has his demons that he is trying to get through, now he is told he has lung cancer with only a few months to live.

Wow, it sucks to be Max.

You know what he needs right now? Cancer treatment? Nope, turns out Max needs a vampire.

Such is “Manhattan Undying.”

Okay, it’s not that simple, let’s get to more.

Continue reading Manhattan Undying

Silver Skies


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 96 Minutes
From: Virgil Films
Available on DVD, Digital HD, and VOD:  April 4, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Silver Skies on on DVD and Digital April 4, 2017Everything was coming up gold for me when watching “Silver Skies,” a movie about a bunch of seniors getting evicted from their apartment complex community, but then the movie took a dark turn that seemed better for shock value than to finish up the film. Suddenly we were down to bronze.

Let’s get to the story…

George Hamilton is Phil. He thinks he is Dean Martin, which is funny at times, until you keep remembering he thinks he is Dean Martin because he has Alzheimers. Jack McGee is Nick. He lives with Phil, is the best friend, and is doing everything he can to prolong Phil’s time in society instead of going to an institution.

The problem for our heroes, and the rest of elders? It seems their apartment complex is going condo as the owner, who is also the uncle of the manager of the complex, is getting rid of the place, and now Continue reading Silver Skies