Trio Of '80s Acts Keep Audience Entertained
By: Jules E. Beuck
Photo by Rose Botkin-Beuck 

Depending on when you were born you will have a favorite decade for music. For those born in the early 1970s that decade would probably be the 1980s. Three acts were on display at the Citizens Business Bank Arena on August 7, 2014, to demonstrate why that would be so. Little River Band, Eddie Money and Rick Springfield rocked Ontario, California that night.

Surprisingly a local act from Claremont opened the show. Mick Rhodes and the Hard Eight did a set of country rock originals that kept the early crowd entertained until the main attractions arrived. Songs like “Back To The 909” and “Married Girls” went over well.

Little River band was next. They sounded surprisingly well considering there are no original members in the band that showed up in Ontario. Still and all “Lady,” “Dancing In The Dark” and “Lonesome Loser” sounded almost exactly like the originals. During “Happy Anniversary Baby,” keyboardist Chris Marion did a solo on keytar and even played it behind his head. When their set was over bassist/lead singer Wayne Nelson took photos of the audience. “If you are not on Facebook tonight, you will be tomorrow” He was not kidding either. I checked their page and there were the pics. LRB was probably the most proficient musically of the three acts in this writer's opinion, especially Richard Harry on lead guitar. He and Greg Hind performed a lot of harmony guitar solos ala the Allman Brothers.

Eddie Money was next. He and his band went through such standards as “Shakin',” “Baby Hold On,” and “Two Tickets To Paradise.” Money not only sang, he played harmonica and saxophone. Often when he was playing an instrument he would gesture to the crowd to cheer, and the crowd would oblige. Money's teen age daughter Jessie is now part of the show. When she was a toddler Eddie brought her out to sing on “Take Me Home Tonight,” which she still does as she sings Ronnie Spector's part. She also got a solo spot as she covered Sly and the Family Stone's “I Want To Take You Higher.” Money joked that he thought Jessie's skirt was too short.

Rick SpringfieldNow it was time for Rick Springfield. This was who the crowd came to see as the audience immediately stood and stayed standing throughout his lengthy set. He started out with “I've Done Everything For You” and the set took off from there. Springfield has always been an energetic performer and in thirty plus years has not slowed down one iota. Other songs he performed included “I Hate Myself Because I Want You,” “Human Touch” and of course “Jessie's Girl.” Springfield plays so intensely he had to switch guitars after every song.

During “Don't Talk To Strangers”he went into the audience and had audience members sing the chorus. Then he brought a young girl on stage and had her sing the chorus. During “Human Touch” he went back into the audience and pretty much walked around the whole stadium. There were plenty of smart phones flashing while he did that. He of course did his “antichrist of flowers” thing by taking bouquets handed to him and doing the Pete Townshend arc while using the flowers to strum his guitar.

There were some surprises as well. He performed Katy Perry's “Roar,” The Chantay's “Pipeline” and The Troggs “Wild Thing.”

It was not the largest crowd to ever attend an event at the arena, but the mostly middle aged crowd that was there was thoroughly entertained.

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