You couldn't attend WPGC's "Toys for Tots" concert last night at the Capital Centre without donating a gift for a child at Christmas time. And you probably couldn't leave without feeling a little better for it.
Thousands upon thousands of toys were collected at the entrances, deposited into plastic bags and carried by marines to trucks and buses parked around the arena. Judging by those toy-laden transports, the concert was a huge success long before even the first chord sounded.
The entertainment, as in previous years, was polished family fare. Quarterflash, an up-and-coming quintet from Oregon, opened with a bright and bouyant pop-rock set. Its music may not have been original or inspired, but it was clearly catchy enough to delight the younger members of the near-capacity crowd.
As for the Spinners, their infectious songs and unbridled enthusiasm are hard to resist no matter what your age. If they've grown tired of their numerous hits, they've yet to show it, and their spunky choreography made the music all the more enjoyable.
Juice Newton followed with a mildly entertaining blend of country, pop and rock. As expected, her big hit, "Queen of Hearts," generated the most excitement, eventually winning her an encore.
For sheer ear-splitting audience approval, though, nothing even came close to the welcome given Rick Springfield. The top-40 rock star and soap opera heartthrob, Springfield has parlayed his careers with enormous success in the past year. Springfield didn't disappoint his fans. His songs were consistently sharp and accessible, his pacing was near brilliant and he worked the crowd masterfully. Even so, his concert was memorable more for the teen-age delirium it inspired than for the music itself.