All of which is my way of telling you that, if you live in the Connecticut area, next Friday is your chance to do two things:
- Meet up with me, Jason Hare, and our pal Michael Parr from Ickmusic
- See television heartthrob Jack Wagner perform live and in concert
What’s that, you say? You didn’t know that the guy who played Dr. Peter Burns on Melrose Place was a singer? Oh, for shame! You must not remember his #2 hit “All I Need,” which clambered up the charts in late 1984 while Wagner was making love in the afternoon as General Hospital‘s singer/adventurer/cop/superspy Andrew “Frisco” Jones. Allow me to refresh your memory:
Anyway, here’s the deal: 25 years after scoring his biggest hit, and more than 20 years after making his last appearance on the Billboard charts, Wagner — who currently spends his days playing the occasionally tuneful fashion magnate Dominic “Nick” Marone on The Bold & the Beautiful — is still packing ’em in for his periodic concert dates. He’s mostly abandoned his music career (his most recent album, 2005’s Dancing in the Moonlight, was released as a sort of promotional tie-in with his B&B gig), but when he decides to get the band together and hit the road, his fans show up in droves…as they surely will on July 31, when Wagner makes what is becoming his annual pilgrimage to the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT.
As I’ve mentioned several times before, I am not ashamed to admit that I spent my youth as an ardent fan of Wagner’s music, not to mention his globetrotting, bad-guy-busting antics on GH. (Okay, maybe I am ashamed. But when you’re 10 years old and the show your mom is watching when you come home from school features a character who foils Aztec treasure thieves, prowls the catacombs of a quaint New York burg while pursuing the head of the Chinese mafia, and scores a hit single, well, you’re pretty much done for.) I listened to All I Need, 1985’s Lighting up the Night, and 1987’s Don’t Give up Your Day Job more times than I can count, and interviewed him prior to the release of 1993’s Alone in a Crowd. Though I rarely listen to those records anymore, I still maintain that, had he not been saddled with the “singing actor” stigma — particularly in the era that gave us Don Johnson and Bruce Willis albums — he would have been able to score at least as many hits as, say, Glenn Medeiros. He can sing, after all, and although his ’80s records may sound…’80s now, they fit right in with the aesthetic of the day.
So my plan is to head out to Uncasville early next Friday and set up camp at the Mohegan Sun, where I’ll be talking with some of the Wagner fans who will be cooling their heels in line for (free) tickets, knocking back some libations with Jason and Michael, taking in the show, and maybe — hopefully — speaking with Jack Wagner himself. I come not to bury Mr. Wagner, but to give our readers a look at just how persistent fanhood can be, even for artists commonly regarded as footnotes. If you can make it out, we’ll see you there; if not, I’ll see you here in a couple of weeks with my report from the show. ‘Til then!