Two women strutted down the amphitheater aisle in shaggy blonde wigs before Rod Stewart’s headlining set at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Saturday night, in homage to the British singer’s rooster-like do. The soulful rocker is in the middle of a five-week tour with ’80s icon Cyndi Lauper, with whom he shares a lively fashion sense and an iconic spiky hairstyle.
The two stars are also quintessential show-people, and they put on one of the best shows of the summer — a rollicking double-bill that thrilled the packed crowd.
Aside from his somewhat diminished vocal range — in part a result of surgery he underwent in 2000 — the raspy-voiced 72-year-old showed few signs of his age, and Stewart’s charisma as a performer transcended the vocal limitations.
During a 21-song set that drew from his greatest hits, he swaggered across the stage in a gold tuxedo jacket during “Some Guys Have All the Luck,” executed jumping jacks during the sing-along “Maggie May,” and kicked around soccer balls during the set-closing “Stay with Me” from his days with the rock band Faces.
Part of the success of Stewart’s show had to do with its top-notch stage craft and the quality of his band and backup singers — a crew of consummate pros dressed in checkered jackets (the men) and red Celtic skirts (the women) who truly looked like they were having a ball as they backed Stewart on classic ‘70s and ‘80s hits like “Infatuation,” “Forever Young,” “Tonight’s the Night” and “You Wear It Well.”
A video of Stewart being knighted by Prince William in 2016 played on the backdrop during the Celtic-flavored “Rhythm of My Heart,” a mid-set highlight followed by Stewart’s Grammy-winning tune “Young Turks” and his heartfelt Tom Waits cover, “Downtown Train.”
After this tour, Stewart returns to his long-running Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace. A series of acoustic tunes — for which the singer donned a satin lavender suit — had a bit of that Vegas crooner feel. He and his band sat on chairs along the stage for “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” “Ooh La La,” “Reason to Believe” and massive sing-along “You’re in My Heart.”
Stewart exuded sexy vulnerability and genuine feeling on Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately,” and encored with a goofily fun version of ‘70s disco hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.”
Shortly into her 11-song opening set, ‘80s synth-pop star Lauper pulled off a long powder-blue wig to reveal her trademark hot-pink hair. She had come out onstage in black and white striped pants and a black top-hat for Wanda Jackson’s haunting rockabilly tune “Funnel of Love.” The song appears on Lauper’s Nashville-recorded 2016 album “Detour,” from which she also showcased Skeeter Davis tune “The End of the World.”
But the crowd truly thrilled to the ’80s hits: quirky new wave song “She Bop,” beautiful ballad “Time After Time,” LGBT anthem “True Colors” and smash “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun[damental rights],” which became a women’s empowerment theme after the Women’s Marches of January 2017.
Later, Lauper appeared onstage with Stewart during his headlining performance to duet on the Isley Brothers love song, “This Old Heart of Mine,” fulfilling a bucket-list accomplishment to tour with one of her idols, she said
Tilting and whirling, a sinful grin etched across his rakish face, Rod Stewart leaned into the crowd at Tampa’s Amalie Arena and promised them a party.
From rocker Rod to the Rodfather: Stewart, 72, didn’t even acknowledge his first child for 18 years as he was too busy chasing
but now he is a doting dad to all EIGHT of his children
Was there ever a prouder father than Sir Rod Stewart? The Rodfather, now 72, has eight offspring. His paternal adventures began at the age of 17, and his youngest was born nearly half a century later, when he was 66.
Along the way there has been three wives, one long-term girlfriend and a teenage fling.
He was, by his admission, not the best dad in the world in his Lothario early days. But this weekend, pictures emerged of him gathering ‘the Stewart clan’ as he and wife Penny Lancaster renewed their vows for their tenth wedding anniversary. Six out the eight were there, making the old rocker glow with pride.
‘It’s the best, proudest feeling to look at your kids,’ he says. Expensive too — the adult children apparently get £7,000 a month from a trust, plus other contributions from the Bank of Dad, who is worth £170 million.
Many credit Penny with keeping all the plates of his complicated family spinning happily. As she once said in an interview: ‘Two kids are the perfect number for me, although I always think of us having eight children because all Rod’s kids are so much a part of our lives, like one big extended family.’
Rod, too, is a much more hands-on dad now. ‘He has learned to compromise. He has become a lot softer and his elder children will even admit he’s a better parent who gives them more time,’ says Penny.
So, how have they all turned out? Here’s the Stewart family story . . .
THE FORGOTTEN ONE
Sarah Streeter, 55, is Rod’s oldest child. Her mother, Susannah Boffey, was an art student girlfriend of Rod’s and he was only 17 when she got pregnant. Sarah was put up for adoption and only learned about Rod when she was 18. They were reconciled in the early Eighties, but fell out of touch again until about six years ago.
He said: ‘At first it was hard to feel like she was my own. But I’ve worked hard at it and now it’s beginning to feel like we’re family. Sarah had something of a chip on her shoulder when we first met, but it’s understandable.’
She now lives in East Sussex and is married. She said relations had improved since her adoptive parents died. ‘The more I reflect on why Rod initially didn’t get very involved, the more I believe it had a lot to do with my adoptive parents. I think he was wary of encroaching on their territory.’
THE FULL-TIME MUM
Daughter Kimberly, 37, is the older of his two children by Alana Hamilton. She was five when her parents broke up and Rod was rarely around when she was growing up.
In her youth she was a socialite and pals with Paris Hilton, in LA’s party-hard scene. She dabbled in modelling, launched a clothing label, dated the odd inappropriate rocker and got an embarrassing tattoo.
Rod sighed: ‘I’ve never told my kids what they can and can’t do, who they can and can’t see. But I tell them I had my own bad times and I get it. I had my druggy period between 1979 and 1981, and you know what? I felt like s*** all the time.’
Life changed radically for Kimberly after she fell pregnant by actor Benicio Del Toro. They were not in a relationship. She has not worked — other than appearing with brother Sean in a short-lived reality TV show — and been raising daughter Delilah who was born in October 2011.
She has a fiery relationship with Alana, as does Rod. He said: ‘Alana and I don’t see eye to eye on the upbringing of her two children. She’s the type who thinks money should be thrown at them. And I believe they have to work for a living.’
She used to live with the other grown-up children in the guest house in LA, but now lives in a home in Beverly Hills bought by Rod which she used to share with half-sister Ruby.
Rod says she was one of his greatest supports when he was dumped by second wife Rachel Hunter in 2006 and at his lowest ebb. ‘Kimberly was wonderful,’ he said.
THE BLACK SHEEP
Sean Stewart is 36 and has given his father enough worries to turn his rooster barnet grey many times over.
Rod broke up with his mum, Alana, when Sean was only four, and was touring the world, and chasing blondes, during his formative years.
Sean was going to nightclubs, getting drunk and doing drugs aged 13. Dyslexic, and suffering OCD, he dropped out of school at 16 and says he was bullied. At 17 he tried crack cocaine, at 19, heroin.
I felt lost, I didn’t want to deal with my emotions so I just did drugs and partied and acted out because I was hurting inside. I had no direction, I was searching for a kinship with my father,’ he said.
Sean served time in jail for beating up a man outside a nightclub, and was once charged with attacking a couple with a brick outside a party.
He says that he has been clean since he was 30, runs a casual clothing line Dirty Weekend, and is talking about opening a nightclub in Las Vegas.
A chip off the old block, for the past year he has been dating a blonde, busty Playboy model Daisy Lea.
Nowadays Sean and Rod are close, and share a love of football and shopping. Sean said in 2015: ‘I get a lot of love and support from my father.’
He lives in LA in what Rod calls ‘a little apartment, which I pay for’.
THE COUNTRY STAR
Ruby Stewart, 30, is Rod’s daughter by Texan model Kelly Emberg, who he started dating in 1983.
In his autobiography he said he had been planning to propose to Emberg, but on the night in question met New Zealand supermodel, Rachel Hunter, who became his second wife. After their split, Emberg moved to Manhattan Beach, California, with Ruby and trained as an interior designer. She married lawyer Mike Padilla, and they had two children.
Fiercely loyal to her mother, Ruby remained outside the Stewart family circle until her teens and told an interviewer in 2008 that there was a point when she and half-sister Kimberly weren’t even speaking.
She recently paid a moving tribute to her mother: ‘She is the most resilient woman I know.’
After a spell as a lingerie model, Ruby launched a music career and is in a band, The Sisterhood, recently signed by Sony Records. Last month, father and daughter were spotted having a pint celebrating the deal.
She said: ‘Dad came to our first show and was crying because he was so proud. It’s rare that my dad cries, so when he does, it’s like mountains move. I couldn’t even look at him when I was on stage because I saw him welling up in the front row. I knew if I looked I’d start crying, too.’
Shy brunette Renee Stewart, 25, is Rod’s older child by Rachel Hunter. He and Rachel were an item from 1990 to 2006, and separated when Renee was seven.
She was raised by Rachel in Culver City and Redondo Beach, California, rather than being a Beverly Hills brat like siblings Kimberly and Sean.
She says: ‘We didn’t have the whole Hollywood thing going on. I was so focused on dance and Liam [her brother] was focused on his sports. I was never difficult as a kid. The only times I’ve been in trouble with dad is over my dog (chihuahua Jagger) because she poos in the house, which drives him mad.’
She has just finished a BA at the London Contemporary Dance School and is keen on gym and yoga. Her stunning looks have got her some modelling jobs too, for Tatler, Pantene shampoo and a lingerie company Bendon.
Rod had put his wild ways aside when he married Rachel — indeed, she is credited as the only woman to break his heart. He remained a close father to their children.
Rod and Rachel saw her in her final performance at LCDS. Renee, like half-sister Ruby, says her dad sat with tears of pride in his eyes. ‘He tells me he’s proud of me all the time. He knows I work hard and I’m following my passion.’
THE ICE HOCKEY PLAYER
Handsome bearded Liam Stewart, 22, turned his back on a possible football career in favour of ice hockey.
Liam said: ‘Dad’s supportive but he would have loved it more if I’d played football because that’s his sport. He loves coming to watch me play, he enjoys watching the sport, but I’m not sure he’s always been sure of the rules.’
He signed for Coventry Blaze, one of the British Elite League’s top clubs, last year and previously played in Alaska. He specialises in blocking shots — with the puck moving at up to 100mph.
He said: ‘I’ve broken my foot a couple of times and last year I shattered my ankle, but it’s all part of being a hockey player.’
His Twitter account seems to indicate a love of the Liverpool FC, but he told an interviewer: ‘I try to be a fan of Celtic, like Dad.’
Penny Lancaster and Rod’s marriage shows all signs of being rock solid, and their boys, Alastair, 11, and Aiden, six, are the children he’s stuck around for.
Alastair is a gifted swimmer. This year, his doting dad lodged plans to build a huge pool house in the grounds of their home in Harlow, Essex. A design statement says: ‘The pool is designed as a training pool for the owner’s son, who is achieving high level performance in competitive swimming.’
Alastair also plays football. Penny said: ‘Come rain or hail, Rod is on the sidelines of Alastair’s football matches. They support Celtic . . . football is about more than just a sport in our house.’
He and Aiden divide their time between Essex and Los Angeles. Penny says she is determined to bring up their boys to appreciate their lifestyle. ‘They have to do chores around the house to earn money and save up. They need to understand that our lifestyle is not the norm.’
THE WILD CARD
Aiden was born after three rounds of IVF treatment just before Penny turned 40. Rod says: ‘The office is now closed, mate. I can’t have any more kids, otherwise I’ll be touring until I’m 90.’
Penny says her youngest is known in the family as ‘the wild one, a right little performer’. Sir Rod said last year: ‘He likes dressing up as a lady. So we don’t know which way he’s thinking.
‘He’s always dressing up like Mary Poppins. Hopefully he’ll grow out of it. If he turns out to be a homosexual, that’s OK with me. As long as he’s happy.’
But Penny has no doubt who’s the biggest kid in the family: ‘Rod has always been like my third child and my most demanding boy out of the three.’