For prepackaged musical commodities, Australia's Rick Springfield and Canada's Corey Hart proved rather likable performers at the Merriweather Post Pavilion Saturday night. Though their hard-pop music was strictly radio formula and their stage moves transparently calculated, they did it all with a boyish charm that was appealing in its way. Their simple but quite catchy melodies were bolstered by a muscular rock beat. Moreover, there wasn't the slightest trace of pretension to spoil the fun.
Springfield's set had the extra dazzle of computerized lights, a futuristic set, three movie screens and a predominantly female crowd that screamed and squealed incessantly. Springfield led his bright, efficient sextet with crisp guitar work and a clear, ringing tenor. Far from the Tin Pan Alley pop served up by most matinee teen idols, Springfield played rock 'n' roll. For all their lack of originality, Springfield's songs, especially the hits like "I've Done Everything for You" and "Don't Talk to Strangers," seamlessly joined the hook to the beat.
In his first U.S. tour, Corey Hart looked like a coming star, sort of a cross between Springfield and John Cougar Mellencamp. He too seemed totally derivative but nonetheless appealing with tuneful teen diversions like his current top-10 hit, "Funglasses at Night."