Everybody Needs Passion
By Claire Springfield
When tickets went on sale in January for Rod’s 2017 tour, I cleared both my Mastercard and my calendar. I wanted to be at as many shows as possible. I ended up going to four, all of which were spectacular based alone on the sheer joy of being there, but each also had its own special moments that made the show extra-memorable.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama July 9 2017.
Rod opens the show in what I call his “jungle” jacket. It has black lapels and a safari feel to it. The outfit is combined with a white shirt, white pants, white belt. He opens with “Infatuation” after making his enrance to “Soul Finger.” I am so riveted when he takes the stage that I spend most of the first song with my hand clasped over my mouth in awe. I have brought a young friend with me, 17 years old. I have taken her to some other concerts, but she has never seen a legend. She watches my reaction to Rod, uncertain –yet – of the fuss. Rod eases through some hits. He makes it look so effortless, such a professional. Then midway through the show he says, “This is a song I recorded with Ronnie Wood back in 1972, not many people know this song.” He goes on to say, “This was recorded in three takes with three glasses of wine.” He then launches into “I’d Rather Go Blind.” I love it when he pulls out something from the past like that. We watch him, transfixed. When it’s time for the acoustic set, Rod appears in an electric blue suit with a white shirt decorated in matching blue, swaying flowers. “First Cut is the Deepest,” “Reason to Believe” are a couple of the cuts he beautifully delivers with his band seated with him across the front of the stage. Alabama heat is fierce, and he keeps running a hand through his sweat-soaked hair. Eventually he says there is a mirror he can look at from where he’s sitting, and he can see his hair is really bad. He laughs about it, apologizes, runs his hand through it some more. No one cares. We love him and his hair no matter what. At the end of the show while singing “Hot Legs” he kicks the soccer balls into the audience while making his way back and forth across the stage. I’m always amazed at how casually he does both. After the show is over, and we’re leaving, my young friend says to me, “I love him!” My hearts skips a beat at this news.
Saratoga Springs, New York. July 22 2017.
I fly from Atlanta to meet a friend in New York City. We drive the next day to Albany, NY which is about 25 miles from Saratoga Springs. She is friends with the band, so we go backstage before the show. I had no idea we’d being doing this so I am trying to keep my excitement in check. As she chats with everyone, we are casually sitting on some road cases in the hallway when who should suddenly appear, Rod himself! He greets everyone, smiles at me. I am mute at this unexpected moment, but I manage to smile back. I note he is wearing the same blue suit he had worn in Alabama. Renee and Liam are with him. He is gone within seconds, presumably to his dressing room. When the show starts, the blue suit is gone, and he opens wearing a gold textured jacket with black lapels, white shirt and black pants, a necklace featuring black beads and a large silver cross. I can see all this detail well because I’m front row….!!.... thanks to my friend. This location causes me to not take as many pictures as I usually would as he keeps looking at me, and I am concerned my photography is distracting or annoying. But maybe not… he comes over to me during “You Wear it Well” and sings a line right to me which I sing right along with him. I’m so happy because it’s my favorite song. I look at my friend afterward and ask, “Did you see that?” She did. Right after that he goes intos “Forever Young.” The song feels faster than usual to me, and he sings it with extra energy. I wonder if it was because Renee and Liam are backstage, that maybe the lyrics are ringing more vividly in his mind.
The stand out special song at this show is “Rollin’ and Tumblin.” He introduces it talking about Muddy Waters influence on so many performers such as the Rolling Stones and him as well. He’s energetic and fun as he sings it. I can’t help it. I have to make video of that one. After that, it’s time for “Downtown Train,” such a great one to demonstrate that beautiful and lilting voice of his. He starts the song on one knee, his eyes closed. Next it’s the acoustic set, and we get a little Faces throwback with “Ooh La La.” He is smiling the whole way and looking like he’s having the best time. He kicks the soccer balls this time to “Stay With Me.” Beautiful happy night. I want more.
Canandaigua, NY July 29
One week later, and I’m back. When my young friend had told me she was so taken by Rod just as I had been at her age, I know I have to get her to another show. It’s also a good excuse for me to see him again so soon. We fly from Atlanta to White Plains, New York and drive five hours to Canandaigua, New York. It’s a beautiful, sunny day as we traverse the upper end of the state to see Our Rod. As always he opens with “Infatuation,” and though we’re six rows back, the design of the amphitheater makes us feel like we’re much closer. His sartorial offering is the gold jacket once more but paired this time with a black shirt highlighted with a bit of sparkles and those black pants that he wears oh so well. J For a New York night in August it’s actually quite chilly, and I disappear at one point during the show to buy a Rod jacket to wear over my sundress. Always wanted one and it seems tonight’s the night. J We get two treats that night, the first one being his cover of “Nothing But a Heartache” to which I exclaim, “I can’t believe he’s doing this.” I try to make video only to discover at the end I did not have the record button fully pressed. But right after he treats us again now with “Love Is.” I’m ready this time, video success. My sweet girl with me is now saying the same words I said moments ago, “I can’t believe he’s going to do this.” I’m proud she is already so familiar with his songs, the old as well as the new. The acoustic set soon follows, this time he’s wearing a gorgeous silver suit. This man makes anything look good, but his sense of styles always takes my breath away.
Dallas, TX August 11 2017
My last show for this tour. It’s a mix of happy and melancholy. Off we go, another friend and I, to the Dallas concert. She’s never experienced Rod. Of the ones I’ve been to on this round, our seats are not the greatest. We’re only eight or so rows back, but we’re pretty far to the side. We can see Rod clearly though upon his entrance, so it’s all good. He kicks things off once again with “Infatuation” and moves onto other hits. He mentions that he’s been playing so many outside venues and what a joy it is to be at an indoor arena. A number of fans move up to the front of the stage. Security tries to stop them but eventually give up, so when Rod comes out to do the ballads, he himself tells everyone to go back to their seats, says it’s only fair, tells everyone to sit down. He says these things in such a sweet way, and it’s nice to know he is concerned about everyone’s enjoyment. This part of the show is always so lovely, Rod sitting there, singing to us surrounded by his band. It feels like we’ve gone from a rock show to a little classical interlude. I’ve been to a few of these shows now, so I know what is in store. Well, at least until he begins to tell us he’s going to do a song he hasn’t done in 12 years, that they did it in rehearsal, and that he’s going to look to his bass player for queues on when to sing. That’s when he eases his chair back toward Conrad and tells us he’s going to do “Broken Arrow.” Broken Arrow! I’m so excited I fumble with my camera getting it in place to record. I want to enjoy it, but I can’t miss the opportunity to have it for future viewing. Not only is it special to hear this song live, but I know some of the lyrics are going to his home. This day, August 11th, is six years since my dad, a WWII veteran, passed away. During the memorial service for my dad, we had played a cover Rod did along with a video montage of my dad’s photos and even printed the lyrics with Rod’s name in the service program. The date is the main reason I had wanted to be at this particular show, so I’m feeling a little melancholy. I often think to myself that there’s nothing your dad won’t do for you when you’re his little girl and when Rod sings, “Who else is gonna bring you a broken arrow?” I feel a tug at my heart. But Rod’s eloquent rendition of the song overrides any bit of sadness. I feel so moved and knowing this is my last for the tour, I want to get as close as possible. So when he finishes the sit-down set, people being to move back up to the front of the stage again, and I do, too. I am at the right side of the stage when “Hot Legs” begins, and he’s expertly kicking the soccer balls. I want to remember this moment. I turn around, locate him in the background and do a selfie with him. I think he sees this and actually poses. What a fantastic way to end such a great tour.
Review from CMAC Rochester New York US
By Dorothy Haddon
Brill stadium roof top but open sides seats tiered up with a lawned area at back. We had excellent seats 5 rows from the front middle block but with it being all tiered up everyone had a good view.
The concert started about 7.40pm Cindi came on wearing a bright red wig carrying a suitcase, she's a brill entertainer just like our Rod at one point she came right into the audience. She was on about an hour then Rod came on about 9.00pm his first song was ... Infatuation then Some guys , then he was joined by Cindi & they sang This old heart of mine together. Then tonight's the night, you wear it well, Forever young, Rhythm of my heart , Young Turks , It's a fools game , love is , Downtown train, First cut ,oh la la , Your in my heart, Have I told you lately,
Then he kicked the footballs out to the song stay with me !!! & Brian my hubby caught one for me Rod noticed my Celtic top & pointed over then kicked the ball in our direction yippee ⚽️? ... I didn't see anyone else with a Celtic top on not like in England where everyone has them at his concerts Then he sang Do you think I'm sexy, Maggie May , then to end he sang Enjoy yourself. Rod & his band were on top form his voice was brill & he was really enjoying himself. It finished about 10.40 pm Brill night fantastic sound lovely atmosphere fantastic place for a concert. The security staff were friendly having a bit joke with us & we had people coming over to congratulate me for getting a ball. It was our first time in America & all my life it's been my dream to see our Rod in America so it was a lovely memory to take home with us.
Its always fun at a Rod concert
DTE Music Theatre Detroit Michigan
I was so excited to see Rod as it's been 2 years since I last saw him!
DTE Music Thetre Detroit Michigan
The thoughts of a Rod Stewart fan
By Joan Walko
High temperatures, humidity, and thunderstorms took a break on July 25 at the PNC Bank Center in Holmdel, NJ. However Rod was our lightning and the crowd was his thunder! He sent the temperature soaring with a hot setlist!!! He switched the order of some songs and deleted Rollin' and Tumblin'. Much to my delight he added It's A Heartache. The black and white soccer ball pattern turned to red and black.....Anticipation!!!
The band opened with Soul Finger, and then Sir Rod walked onto the stage!
Infatuation. In fine voice he captivated the audience. He had us at the first note!
Some Guys Have All The Luck. Rod has all the talent! My heart melts when he sings "All my friends have a ring on their finger, they have someone". He can call me collect anytime!
This Old Heart of Mine. He certainly has mine. Brought Cindy Lauper out to do this with him. Great choice. They rocked it! Cindy's opening set was good, but most of us were there to see our man! I'm not used to Rod having an opening act. Cindy was a great choice, but I believe I prefer All Rod, All Night to borrow the name of his 1999 tour.
Tonight's The Night. "The secret is about to unfold, upstairs before the nights too old!! No secret, great audience participation!
You Wear It Well. He wears everything well, from the tip of his hat down to his colorful sneakers!
Forever Young. One of my personal favorites. It speaks to me. Beautiful lyrics and only his voice does it true justice.
Rhythm Of My Heart. This has turned into a patriotic anthem. "Running down the alley I've got my eyes all over you, baby" is another one of those line that grabs me deep in my gut!
Young Turks. Another great classic with a great story to tell.
It's A Heartache. Loved it when Bonnie Tyler recorded it, but love it even more when Rod belts out this ballad. I'd like to believe he added it to tonight's show just for me!
Downtown Train. He always gives credit to Tom Waits before he starts singing this one. A beautifully done tune. Again my heart melts!
First Cut Is The Deepest. Yet again another story in song that some many of us can connect with.
Ohh La La. Loved this when it first appeared on the When We Were The New Boys album. Loved it even more when I had the privilege of being hand a soccer ball by Rod in Camden, New Jersey!!
Reason To Believe. "Knowing that you lied, straight faced while I cried". Another line that rips onto my soul.
You're In My Heart. Classic ballad that the audience takes over! I can only imagine the emotions that Rod must feel as we all sing our hearts out. It must be an adrenaline rush and humbling at the same time. He looked truly moved.
Have I Told You Lately. At last a chance to sit down and rest my weary from dancing 63 year old body!! Not for long though......
Proud Mary. The ladies do an amazing job with this one! I'm pretty sure Tina Turner would approve!
Maggie May. Again he invites us to sing as the cameras pan the audience.
Stay With Me. The audience stayed with him through the whole journey of his songs. Rod did comment on the smaller than usual stage in a joking way. I say it's not the size of the stage, it's how you work it. He worked it like a pro. Those down front were close enough to be able to shake his hand!!
Encore, Do You Think I'm Sexy. Yes!!!
It was, using another tour name, A Night To Remember. However for me that goes for all his concerts!! Rock on Rod!!!
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.