When you’re a fan… a rabid fan… you will move heaven and Earth. I guess that’s the best way to put Helaine and Stef’s trip to Rockford, Illinois into perspective. They are rabid Rick Springfield fans. You remember, the Jessie’s Girl, Don’t Talk to Strangers guy?
I’m not sure I would travel to Rockford for the ‘cup of coffee and danish’ period of time they were there. On the other hand, I don’t hang out online with people who decided to call it “Rickford” or “The Rickdom.” They do.
Tonight they’re back home.
For Rick Springfield, the venues are no longer giant stadiums and arenas. However, a dedicated. screaming crowd – mainly women – is still there and as Helaine’s license plate frame says, “Rick Rocks.” He has moved into the retail world of rock and roll where the contact with fans is a little more manageable and the touring a little less frenetic.
I’m not sure how Rockford got involved in this, but the classic and freshly refurbished Coronado Theater was chosen to be the site of a concert/DVD taping. Steffie and Helaine could not resist.
I have asked them in the past how many of the attendees of a Rick Springfield concert have been to see him before? Most. How many have seen him a dozen times or more? Lots.
I know for this concert, women were traveling from all across the US and parts of Europe. That’s rabid fans!
Over the past few years Helaine has gotten more involved in the infrastructure of his fan base, becoming a “Street Team” manager who helped in the promotion of his last CD. For this concert, Helaine and Amy, the Street Team national manager, organized a charity luncheon for 150 guests.
I watched over the last few weeks as faxes and emails and phone calls moved back and forth from the hotel in Rockford¹ to our house in Connecticut. The fact that Helaine is extremely organized and probably could visualize what she wanted, didn’t hurt.
It was a thing of beauty. Helaine is modest and very talented in this regard. I’m not quite sure how she did it, but I’m proud she did.
Stef pitched in, helping register the attendees as they came in… and finally associating faces with some of the names she’s seen online.
From what I hear, the luncheon went off without a hitch and with the money collected through raffles and auctions of Rick Springfield oriented ‘stuff,’ around $18,000 was raised for the Disaster Relief Fund of the American Red Cross.
Helaine says Rick, who came to the luncheon for a few minutes and ended up spending around an hour, was taken aback by some of the prices paid for tickets and ‘meet and greet’ access.
They said the concert was great — but they always do! The proof will be in the DVD, whenever that’s issued, and the HDTV concert that will also be broadcast.
I think ‘being’ Rick Springfield is a good and lucrative business. He has to look at it differently than he did when he was a soap star and avoiding having his clothes torn off. He understands what his product is and who is buying, and he delivers. In the few times that I’ve been around, he seemed to genuinely enjoy what he’s doing.
When people find out Helaine and Stef are big fans, they are often surprised. Rick Springfield is no longer a household word. Who would expect a 21st century fan base? In fact, in this morning’s New York Times his name was used as a contrast the modernity of today’s MTV.
It was not meant to be complimentary.
MTV’s durability at the place where the fickle music business and the protean television trade intersect can be attributed to a singular mind-set: its 24-year-long insistence that the channel itself is the star. The Rick Springfields of the world can rise and fall, but MTV endures.
The problem is, even without the hits, he’s a talented guy who was a musician before he was a soap opera star. His success is now different, but there’s no denying, it’s still success.
¹ – You would think a hotel in Rockford would be thrilled to get what amounts to convention-like business, on a weekend, in the dead of winter. They did and I’m told it showed.