Marx ready to hang out with fans at the Lyric and just have a good time

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If you're not planning to dance in the aisles at Richard Marx's Nov. 14 concert at The Lyric Theatre in Stuart, Marx has some advice for you: Save yourself some money and just stay home.

"I just want people to have a great time," Marx said. "If you need to sit down, you're too old to be here."

He expressed the same sentiment about 20 years ago at large sold-out arenas and stadiums to fans who weren't screaming, dancing and having a good time at his show.

After a few years without touring, Marx has returned to playing in front of live audiences. He has revamped his performance from the traditional concert with a band to a solo acoustic show — just him with his guitar and a lot of fan interaction.

"In theory, you would think that might indicate it's going to be a really mellow soft show, but it's really not," Marx said. "It's just the energy comes just from me and not watching a band or a production. "

In essence, the show is just Marx hanging out with his fans.

"It's way less of a performance in traditional terms and it's more like as if I had you over to my house and we were just sitting there and I just grabbed it and said, 'Hey this is how this song started out,'" Marx said. "It's really become the most fun way of performing I've ever experienced."

Some of the traditional rock songs such as "Don't Mean Nothing" and "Satisfied" don't lend themselves to this type of acoustic performance, so Marx said he had to tweak them.

"In some ways, I like them better than the records. Because you can make a really great record out of a lame song. But if the song's not any good, you can't just grab a guitar and play it without it being exposed as a piece of crap," he said.

At this show, traditional concert rules about not taking photographs or videos don't apply. Bring your cameras and your videorecorders. Don't be afraid of posting the performance on YouTube. Marx said it was all right.

"I want you to take my picture. I put product in my hair. I try to look my best. I'm in show business. I want your attention," he said.

After years of writing songs — and hits — for other artists such as Luther Vandross and Keith Urban, Marx only returned to touring a few years ago. Compared to the incessant tours between 1987 and 1995, Marx said now he actually can experience the towns and cities where he performs, finding a cool, local place to get a cup of coffee or seeing the sights.

This trip to the Lyric is his first visit to the Treasure Coast.