By David J. Criblez. Newsday
According to the screams from the large number of women in the crowd at The Paramount in Huntington Tuesday night, singer Rod Stewart is still “sexy” at 71.
The venue kicked off its new Legends Series, which is not open to the public but is instead a VIP branch of its Founder’s Room membership. One of the perks of being a member (annual fee is $4,000) is the ability to purchase tickets to specialty events featuring arena-size acts, including Stewart, performing intimate shows. Next up is Don Henley, who appears on Sept. 12.
This venue reminds me of a place I used to play when I was 17,” said Stewart, who was wrapped in a gold blazer with his collared shirt unbuttoned a few notches. “It looks just like it!”
The raspy-voiced Rock & Roll Hall of Famer wasted no time turning the night into an instant celebration opening with “Having a Party” backed by a 12-piece band.
Stewart switched gears between ballads like “Tonight’s the Night” to pop songs such as “Rhythm of My Heart” to rockers “Hot Legs” and “Sweet Little Rock N Roller.” However, he made sure to flirt with the ladies in the balcony flashing his signature boyish grin and rustling his spiky blond l
“This is really a wonderful experience,” he said in amazement. “What fun!”
Anthony Gravano, 48, of Lake Grove brought his wife Christine, 47, to see Stewart, one of her favorites.
“I’m a ’70s kind of gal,” she said. “I even named my daughter after his song ‘Maggie May’!”
I read John Moser's review of Rod Stewart's concert at the Bethlehem Sands Event Center.
I feel it's a great review, but I believe it needs a few additions. He mentions that "Stewart's voice has aged — thinner than his classic sound." This may be true, but at 71 years young his hair is thinning as well and he doesn't dance, jump or throw the microphone stand nearly as often or as much as he did his younger days.
That being said, Stewart still makes me feel like a schoolgirl. He has the uncanny ability to transport us 60-somethings back to the days when we thought we'd be "Forever Young." This was my 55th Stewart concert and he's still a "Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roller." In my humble opinion, the concert was the best event ever at the Bethlehem Sands Event Center.
John J. Moser Of The Morning Call
Rod Stewart captured it perfectly Friday when, as the second song at his Sands Bethlehem Event Center show, he performed his 1984 hit “Some guys have all the luck.”
Clearly luck is with the 71-year-old singer.
In an hour-and-40-minute set in which he sang 16 songs (and had his backup singers do another), Stewart was endlessly entertaining, piling hit upon hit from his 45-year career while performing with swashbuckling swagger that made the show not only fabulous but fun.
Dressed in a gold leopard-print jacket and open-necked white shirt, Stewart opened with his 1993 hit cover of Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party” that set the tone for the night.
Despite his age, Stewart personified another of his songs, “Forever Young,” as he dipped, danced and vamped – even, on “Downtown Train,” laying on his back to do a scissor-legged split.
It has to be acknowledged that part of what made the show so great was that it was in the 2,550-seat event center – not only among just three U.S. dates Stewart will play outside Las Vegas this year, but one-sixth the size of venues he normally plays.
And it was the first time in 17 years Stewart played the Lehigh Valley – since a 1999 show at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem.
But the show was no less big than you’d see in Vegas. The stage, with its bright neon and checkerboard/diner flooring, with a dozen musicians and backup singers, was as impressive as the event center has seen in its four years.
“It’s an absolute delight to be here,” Stewart told the crowd after “Some Guys Have All the Luck.” “Gives me a chance to interact with an intimate audience.”
And Stewart wasn’t shy about interacting. Five songs into the set, he stopped “You Wear It Well” to tell the stage crew to “turn off those f—king lights” on the front rows, saying he was districted by them brightly shining on all the “white bald heads and bosoms.”
But rather than making him seeming like a diva, the episode seemed to make the audience embrace him as an endearing rogue without any pretenses.
It helped that the song was among the night’s best – a warm welcoming of the passage of time, and yet another reminder of how well both Stewart and his music have held up.
A word about that: Stewart’s voice has aged – thinner than his classic sound, especially on his 1975 cover of The Isley Brothers’ “This Old Heart of Mine.” But it warmed a few songs into the show, such as on the Celtic-flavored “Rhythm of My Heart,” on which he dipped, danced and wiggled his posterior.
And Stewart more than made up the difference in his passionate performance. On a very good “Tonight’s the Night,” he “soared” around stage, his arms outstretched, swiveled his knees and kneeled on stage to sing. He sat on the edge of the stage to sing “Downtown Train.”
There were other signs of limitations: He left the stage for several minutes during a very good “Forever Young” during an extended drum solo and fiddle-infused jig with his backup singers dancing, and during a long sax solo on “Downtown Train.” And entirely for “Young Turks,” which his backup singers performed. He also sometimes let the sold-out crowd sing too much and too long.
But sometimes the additional vulnerability in Stewart’s voice also enhanced the songs, such as on the lovely and extremely well-played “First Cut is the Deepest,” which became even more emotionally brittle. His lighter rasp fit a cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “It’s a Heartache” (on which she originally copied Stewart) and an also-excellent “Have I Told You Lately.”
That last song was part of a four-song acoustic set that was the best part of the show. Seated at the front of the stage with a harp, two violins, two acoustic guitars and a stand-up bass, Stewart performed an excellent “You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim),” a fun and jaunty version of his old band Faces’ “Ooh La La” that immediately had the crowd clapping along,
Stewart wound down the show with Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Rock and Roller,” still swiveling and dancing The Swim, and a great version of his big hit “Maggie May,” on which is more vulnerable voice again added more dimension.
Then he closed the main set with a loose-and-fun “Hot Legs,” during which he kicked a dozen soccer balls into the crowd.
The encore was Stewart’s biggest hit, “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy,” which bounced with a huge balloon drop on the crowd.
It was a big end to a big show. To have Stewart back in the Lehigh Valley was a delight. To have it in a smaller venue made it even more so.
And to have Stewart perform so well – well, it was really the Sands Bethlehem Event Center audience that had all the luck.
1970s and 80s rock singer Rod Stewart entertained a large crowd at U.S. Cellular Coliseum Wednesday evening.