Finally, after almost 26 years we will have Rod at our old, dark and rocker arena instead of the posh Auditorio Nacional where he have played in 2002, 2008 and 2012 - the return to the venue where he played for the first time in México City back in december 1991 was guarantee of good enthusiastic rocker audience.
After getting lost in my own subway system due to heading to the venue from an unusual area of the city we barely made it to our seats on time, just 10 minutes before the gig start.
I have to admit that due to being sick of the same setlist I haven’t paid the usual attention on the fan live videos in the last 2 years, so even when I’m aware that there have been changes on the live versions I wasn’t really aware about all the details. Same goes to the band changes: I knew Becca Kotte and Adrianna Thurber from Las Vegas circuit were doing background vocals and second violin respectively, but I have to admit that I haven’t paid too much attention to Adrianna violin skills or Becca’ vocals... But I certainly knew their dancing skills and I was so looking forward to see Becca dancing, specially during River deep - mountain high.
When I knew it will be at the Palacio de los Deportes arena I tought we will have the curtain and the steps at the edge of the stage and I was surprised when I didn’t saw them: it is the first time ever that the whole live production didn’t come to México, and I was dissapointed by that. Due to the lack of the curtain I knew we might not have the “playing dead” at the end, that was sad.
Red lights on stage and audience lights dimmed down, and the crowd reacted: it was lovely to finally see a good mexican audience for Rod!!! From the initial roar I knew it would be a good gig even if the set list were terrible as usual.
Band came in, Soul Finger, and when Sir Rod Stewart came to the stage his left foot got trapped on the back curtain and he almost felt, but he graciously got rid of the incident. The crowd roared again.
Having a party, This old heart of mine and by Some guys have all the luck Rod already knew he had the audience in his pocket, so he encouraged us to join with the chorus and it was so loud that he asked the band to stop so the audience could have a solo spot.
Love is gave us (for “us” I mean my friends Anuar and Abel Hernández, Luis Bernal and myself) our first “wow” moment, since it was the very first time we will see it live - Rod said that we might not be familiar with it and certainly most of the audience werent, but I lost my voice singing it as loud as I could and they delivered a marvelous version, specially my J'Anna with her fantastic "Adrian Belewsque" solo wich led me to tears and histeria.
Tonight’s the night and finally I got 5 minutes to rest, then It’s a heartache which is another favourite of the mexican audience. Forever young will never be a fail anywere in the world, and the new drum solo caught me by surprise then again because I haven’t been paying attention lately (and have to admit that when I knew about the concert and knowing I haven’t been paying attention I decided that I will not watch anything so the changes could be a surprise for me) and I haven’t noticed the new structure, and didn’t knew Matt’ role on it.
Rhythm of my heart and I was glad that the vocals solo at the end is gone: I never liked that kind of vocals with high notes. And another surprise for me: the flag of the hosting country is not on display at the end anymore, instead it was the United Kingdom flag and the Knighthood.
Then when I was expecting Young turks, Baby Jane caught me by surprise: that song is allways on the second set, and if it was on the first set that mean we will not have Young turks - dissapointing!! The only thing that I like about the latin american set list is that we get both Young Turks and Baby Jane, but this time it looked like no Young turks for us. Bummer!! Still Baby Jane got an amazing response from the audience as usual, and it was even better due to the venue and the no-posh rocker audience.
Now the song I was most looking forward to: Downtown train. Downtown train has always been a personal favourite live (maybe I don’t listen to it so often but I enjoy it live so much, don’t know why) and knowing that it has a new solo by Jimmy it was something that had me very excited. The song went on, slow and intense as usual, great solo by Emerson, and suddenly there it was: The Saxman taking the stage and the whole venue by assault with a long and impressive solo which got me in histerical tears, feeling every change of notes as if they were needles sticking in my skin and all the way into my soul which BTW hasn’t been in good shape lately, but I experienced some sort of catharsis feeling Jimmy’s notes and aparently I feel better now. I guess I’ve never experienced any solo at a Rod concert ever the way I felt this one: when I was having breakfast with Jimmy hours before I told him that he is a legend in México since his solo on Passion back in 1989 when Rod came over for the first time, and Jimmy tought I was talking about Rod. “No Jimmy, YOU are the legend over here, you will see when you play your solo on Downtown train tonight” and he looked surprised for my words. I guess he reminded of my words when he saw the audience response: it was fantastic, pure magic.
Then the first of my two most hated moments came: First cut. Lame as usual, audience loving it as usual. Maybe I felt asleep for a minute, then Rod announced a Faces song and I almost dump in my pants: I stand up and yelled histerical to my mates “OOH LA LA!! DAMN FUCKING OOH LA LA!!!” and yes, for the very first time in latin american soil, there was Ooh la la. Every time Ooh la la comes on my mp3 player while on the street I fantasize of seeing it live, and finally it was happening: miracles exist, oh yeah they do - and the little remainings of my voice were finally lost there.
You’re in my heart, then I don’t wanna talk about it and I was about to leave my seat to have a smoke by the hallway, but there was a lot of people I would disturb to get out of the row so I tried to have 3 minutes of much needed sleep with no success: audience were singing so damn loud.
Thought the torture was over but no, still one more: have I told you lately. Couldn’t find anything more interesting to do during the song than singing it to my mate Abel to his ear in the most romantic attitude I could, while playing with his spiky hair to the delight (or horror?) of the middle aged women seated behind us. Have to admit that we were just talking and having a laugh during the acoustic segment - but not on Ooh la la - during that one we were histerical!!
Finally the damn chairs went off and Can’t stop me now started - and to my surprise I felt it weak. I swear it was more powerful when I saw it as an opener in London 2013, or maybe that time I was excited and by this time I didn’t find it too interesting.
Without announcement Rod left the stage and River deep-mountan high started, and I was delighted by Becca’ dance moves.
Then another surprise on the set list order: Sailing. An audience favourite, but it was strange that it was right after the girls’ song.
Maggie and my J’anna got her biggest (out of several of course, as expected) ovation by the crowd both during her mandolin solo and also when Rod made her sing the usual line.
So now must be balls time, right? And Stay with me started leaving no room at all for Hot legs or Young turks and definitely killing the dream of Rollin’ and tumblin’. He kicked some really large ones, didn’t counted them.
New intro for Sexy and of course the audience went nuts. Balloons, Conrad slap solo, the end, they left the stage. They came back, Enjoy yourself and certainly I was so looking forward to see Julia dancing around the stage on that one!! then they all start walking off the stage while still playing, until only Dave and Chuck were left to hit the final notes and the concert was over.
I enjoyed it a lot: being seated on the upper section for a change was different since there was no pressure to get good video or photos since my camera is crap at a distance, it was different by not feeling the pressure of being Fan Club waving a flag at the front, no pressure of trying to catch Rod’s or Band’s eye, no pressure trying to get a ball; just a concert, that was it: a great rock concert having fun with my mates, yelling “MA MAAAN!!” every time Jimmy got a spot, yelling “SHE IS MY LOOOOVE!!! Every time my J’anna got a spot, dancing and singing my ass out with nothing to lose at a venue which I love, lost among the best audience Rod had since 1991 here in my city.
Final random notes: I missed Katja and Anne A LOT, and I loved the presence of Matt again on stage. Rod was in top form from start to finish, both voice and attitude. I found the percussion accents by Julia very interesting, they certainly enrich the songs. The venue is known by its terrible acoustics, but it sounded far better than I expected at least on my spot (which was right above and slightly to the right from where the photo below was taken from).
Maybe this was the last time I saw Rod playing México: will he still be around other than Las Vegas in 4 or 5 years? Only time will tell.