My “Affair of the Heart” with Rick Springfield

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It’s a love affair that has endured nearly 30 years.

No, it’s not Bacall and Bogey. Nope, I’m not talking about Taylor and Burton, either. It’s Springfield and Gacser.

No, my eyes are not totally closed. That naturally happens when I smile ear-to-ear.

What do you mean “Who?” G-A-C-S-E-R. It’s like “Gotcha,” except with an “errrr” on the end.

Is it possible you haven’t heard of my lifelong (albeit unrequited) love of rock star/“General Hospital” heartthrob Rick Springfield?

OK, so maybe I’ve only ever mentioned it once on this blog. But would you go blabbing on and on about a one-sided relationship for 30 years straight? I don’t think so.

One of two Rick Springfield ticket stubs I have from the early '80s. They say you never forget your first time...

Rick was the very first concert I ever attended, waaaaaay back in 1982. Aug. 21, 1982, to be exact, at Holmdel, NJ’s Garden State Arts Center (which I oh-so-reluctantly call PNC Bank Arts Center these days). I just turned 13, and I seem to recall my mom being less than thrilled at the idea of me going.

I have no idea why the thought of me being in the midst of hundreds of other screaming teenage girls made my mom nervous.

But in the end (thankfully!) she did. And she had no idea what type of monster she had unleashed. The following year, I was back to nagging her to see Rick again. This time, my friend’s dad took us. It was June 26, 1983, at Brendan Byrne Arena (that’s what the IZOD Center was backed back in the day, kids). The thing I remember most about that show was my friend and I cringing through “Affair of the Heart,” hoping like heck her dad couldn’t make out the *racy* lyrics. (OMG, he’s singing about making love!)

I finally got the chance to talk to Rick (over the phone, alas) in 2008 when I interviewed him to advance his gig at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. I *tried* to keep my gushing schoolgirl tendencies to a minimum, and I was thrilled when I was able to get him talking about his passion for “Star Wars” action figures and his obsession with Titanic memorabilia (which I share but can ill afford).

Can you believe I was 4 when Rick Springfield looked this yummy?

At the conclusion of our conversation – which Rick explained was taking place as he drove to his studio in California (and included a stop at a convenience store for a beverage) with his dogs in tow – I casually inquired if he would sign my “Comic Book Heroes” record album. He seemed impressed I had one and promised to do so when we met after his show in New Brunswick.

A friend snapped this photo as Rick came climbing over the seats to our aisle during his show at the State Theatre in New Brunswick.

Alas, our meeting was not meant to be. Either my name didn’t wind up on the correct list or I neglected to go to the right place, but I was summarily booted from the theater sans autograph and once-in-a-lifetime Rick Springfield meeting. I was a journalist, so I accepted it without making a scene. Yet I was a fan, too, and I was crushed. Well, at least as crushed as an adult woman can get about missing the chance to meet her first rock star idol.

Since then, my position at the newspaper has been eliminated, and along with it any <cough cough> clout I may have once possessed.

But fate decided that three decades is sufficient to keep someone (that would be me) in suspense, and it finally put me out of my misery. Last week – Oct. 13, to be exact (13 is now officially a *lucky* number) – Rick and I finally met face-to-face… and we consummated our relationship.

KIDDING!

Actually, the poor guy had no clue who the heck I was.

Or maybe he’s lucky. Depends on your perspective, I suppose.

Rick took the time to pose for photos with each and every fan who came out to Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ, last week.

Anyway, our exchange lasted a whole 30 seconds (and that’s a generous estimation) and consisted of me telling him I’m a huge fan and that I interviewed him two years ago. He paused at that, said “Oh?” and proceeded to look at me quizzically. Our photo was snapped, he handed me my autographed copy of his memoir, “Late, Late at Night,” and I was ushered along by a Francis Poncherello lookalike (in full Ridgewood, NJ, police uniform, no less!).

This is exactly how the cop looked, right down to the sunglasses. I kid you not. For a second I thought it was a reunion of the men I used to have hanging on my walls.

It wasn’t until I was outside that I realized Rick looked at me that way because he was trying to recognize me from our interview. Naturally, in my frozen, nearly mute I’m-meeting-my-teen-idol state, I totally forgot to tell him that it had been conducted over the phone, so he would not have recognized me anyway. But hey, he seemed to be trying, and I love him all the more for it.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous said,

    May 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    I too was at the 1983 concert. i was 9 !! I just found my stub tonight!! And I too was in Ridgewood for the book signing!! I have met him since then and my 5 year old sung on stage with him 2 years ago and i plan on going to the njpac show with both my boys. its always great to find more great fans!!


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