Sir Rod rocks the Lane

Bramall Lane looked superb on Saturday as Sir Rod Stewart played to a raucous crowd for over two hours.

Hit followed hit as the popular 74-year-old treated the fans to not only a fantastic vocal performance, but also a show production to match, as a huge stage and a number of video screens acted as the backdrop to the John Street Family Stand.

Operations Director Dave McCarthy reflected: "It was an unbelievably good night. Rod is true performer and he certainly got the crowd rocking.

"It's wonderful to be able to use Bramall Lane for events like this and shows that not only will it be staging Premier League football in the future, but it is also a versatile and genuine entertainment arena.

"The biggest cheer of the night might just have been when Rod congratulated the Blades on our promotion and there were more than a few 'We Are Bladesmen' versions sang around the building when his hit 'Sailing' was sang."

Tonight WAS the night for Sir Rod's fans at his Bolton gig

"THIS is going to be a good night, I can feel it in my water," said the legend that is Sir Rod Stewart.

And he was right, writes Neil Brandwood

Friday evening's concert at the University of Bolton Stadium was quite simply magnificent.

Although not a huge Rod fan myself, he totally won me over with his talent, professionalism and good humour.

"We've been blessed with a clear night, chilly but dry, that's the main thing. Enjoy yourselves!"

He began the evening dressed in his trademark leopardskin jacket. Leopardskin was also the choice of many of the fans, along with tartan of course.

Despite the size of the venue and the crowds, the atmosphere was intimate, almost as if Rod had invited a few old friends around.

From the beginning, they were singing along with his hits.

Speaking about Bolton Wanderers' recent trouble, he said: "I wish you well and hope you find a good sponsor."

A massive football fan, he told the fans: "I remember watching Nat Lofthouse on the telly as a kid."

It was one of several personal insights he shared.

He mentioned that two of his daughters were at the concert.

I've got a lovely life. Eight children and a great career so I'm going to dedicate the next song to myself," he laughed before breaking into Some Guys Have All the Luck.

Sailing, Do Ya Think I'm Sexy, Young Hearts and Tonight's The Night were all included, along with a couple of songs from his recent number one album and a tribute to Muddy Waters.

Revealing a self-deprecating sense of humour, he introduced Maggie Mae by saying: "This next song was written in the same year that my wife was born."

There was poignancy too with a backdrop of poppies accompanying Rhythm of My Heart and Forever Young

"This is the 75th anniversary of D-Day and I had the great pleasure of meeting some of those great guys recently. I kissed them and I love them so much for what they did for us. Where would be without them? Under a jackboot probably."

His song choice was nicely judged. Along with the hits he sang the ballad Grace - "the most tragic love song" - and dueted with one of his hugely talented backing singers for It Take Two.

For a man of 74 his voice is holding out well and he was energetically bouncing around the stage. However, it's a sign of the times that there was an extended drum section, and a guitar solo, presumably to give him time for a sit down backstage.

Sir Rod Stewart rocks Wolverhampton: Review and pictures of Molineux gig

Forever Young Rod Stewart put on a superb show at Molineux last night that had his crazy, frantic and wonderful fans Twisting the Night Away from the opening chord to the last.

The rain held off, the sun even came out and the packed Wolves stadium was treated to a concert that will live long in the memory.

Personally, it was my first experience of seeing Rod live and it has to be said the build-up to gig in the pubs around the city centre was almost as good as the performance itself.

To say Wolverhampton was buzzing would be a huge understatement.

Rod’s hardcore fans are something else and everyone was rocking and swaying in the boozers.

My wife Kelly and I must have chatted to about five different sets of people who were all eagerly awaiting the live show.

Their love for Rod poured out as they assured us we would be treated to a great night.

Every pub was pumping out his greatest hits and it just got us all right in the mood – and we were not disappointed.

As expected, the queues around the stadium were horrendous and we actually missed the very start trying to get in but as soon as we landed, Young Turks was blasting out from the stage.

What a great song that is and it had us all cheering, singing and dancing. The queues were soon forgotten.

Tonight’s the Night (how many times have we used that pun during the build-up this concert?) to enjoy yourself, was the message.

 

At 74-years of age, Rod’s voice, stage presence and enthusiasm has not waned at all. He is clearly a top performer who loves doing what his does – and boy does he do it well.

It can be easy to forget just how many wonderful tracks he has sung over the last five or six decades. His personal collection of smash hits is pretty mind-blowing and yet he still keeps coming back with more.

His new album, Blood Red Roses, which shares the same name as his stadium tour, is brilliant.

Having had it on repeat at home during the run up to the Molineux gig, it has become engrained on my brain.

To be honest, had he just performed that album live I would have been happy but of course he rolled out plenty of his classics, such as Forever Young.

What a great track that is. Simple drums, acoustic guitar and bass give way to Rod’s unique and clear-cut voice. It’s a feel-good song that makes you smile while you listen to it.

Rod’s affinity for the armed forces is also renowned and when the huge screens started beaming out images of soldiers going over-the-top and into battle, it was a really touching moment.

We all appreciate our armed forces and it’s nice when someone so famous pays them the respect they deserve, which was exactly what Rhythm of My Heart did.

A wonderful moment, particularly so close to the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

 

Then it was time to up the tempo again, with all-time classics Maggie May and Sweet Little Rock and Roller.

It woke the crowd up, let alone Maggie, and got us all rock and rolling in good old-fashioned seventies style.

Sometimes a good cover song is what the night needs, and Rod’s rendition of Etta James’ I’d Rather Go Blind is something else.

Rod’s stripped back performances are arguably better than his all-out rock efforts.

And when a harpist was wheeled out for The First Cut is the Deepest, it was another moment to treasure.

With the sun setting and Molineux turning dark, the phones – rather than lighters – were out as the singer again slowed everything down for I Don't Want to Talk About It, which was pretty poignant as it's the song my in law, Gary and Donna, have chosen to have played as their first dance - as I'm sure many others have too.

Twistin’ the Night Away followed, which got everyone up an out of their seats again to have another good boogie, before he settled us back down with Sailing, which needs no introduction.

Every music fan in the world loves that song.

As the crowd exited the stadium, we all left feeling very sexy and very fulfilled.

It’s been more than 10 years since Molineux last hosted a live concert.

Let’s hope they don’t leave it so long again.

Review: Rain can't dampen spirits as Sir Rod returns to rock Portman Road

Rock legend Rod Stewart proved he's still got what it takes as he delighted a near sell-out crowd on his third visit to Ipswich Town's Portman Road stadium.

But once again the weather let him down as the heavens opened - leaving those on the pitch drenched as the evening went on!

The former Faces frontman came to town with a back catalogue of classics spanning nearly half a century - and over the last few years he has branched out with his Great American Songbook albums that have reached a fresh audience.

But this was Rod the Rocker back in town bringing us a real taste of his Greatest Hits - showing how versatile and varied his back catalogue is.

From Maggie May and Tonight's the Night to the slower number like I Don't Want to Talk About It and the showstopper Sailing, there was something here for all his fans.

He turned Rhythm of My Heart into a tribute to the nation's D-Day heroes. Have Winston Churchill and Douglas Bader ever been a backdrop to a rock concert before?

His Forever Young song gave his talented band the chance to have a few minutes in the limelight - and the poignancy of The Killing of Georgie which was banned in 1976 for referring to a gay murder victim was not lost on the fans.

Rod is now 74 years old, but you really have to pinch yourself to realise that. He still has all the moves - and he's still much more Rod the Mod than Sir Roderick David Stewart!

One of the more interesting elements of the show was the "Stripped" segment with some of his slower, more intimate numbers - split from the main set by a couple of instrumental numbers from his band.

All were accompanied by splendid video presentations which made sure everyone in the stadium could be part of a great entertainment experience on the night.

The last time Rod came to Portman Road, in 2007, the heavens opened and most members of the audience remembered it as the "Singin' in the Rain" concert.

This was "Singin' in the Rain II", but concert-goers had come prepared - and there were plenty of raincoats on show.

'You'll be back up!' Sir Rod Stewart's inspiring message for relegated Ipswich Town during Portman Road gig

And the rocker gave some words of encouragement to Ipswich Town as they seek to bounce back from relegation.

The Forever Young 74-year-old was playing his first concert at the football stadium since 2007, having also played there in 1991.

He burst onto the stage with some fireworks and an energetic performance of Infatuation at around 8.15pm, afterwards telling his fans to "forget about Brexit" for the night while he played his set of 25 songs.

The two-hour tour de force proved that Sir Rod has still got more an energy than even those half his age, as he bounced around the stage while singing Maggie May, Sailing and other classic hits.

He dedicated his performance of Some Guys Have All the Luck to the "wonderful life" he has had, as well as his eight children.

Football came up during the evening, with Sir Rod mentioning his beloved Celtic more than once or twice.

However he had a word for Ipswich Town fans, saying: "Ipswich are down at the moment, but you'll be back up."

Later on he wished the Blues all the best in League One, saying: "There are two things you can't change - your mum and the football team you support."

Sir Rod Stewart delighted thousands of his biggest Suffolk fans with a spectacular gig at Portman Road.

Rod Stewart, Stadium MK, review: a near-perfect stadium show from a tartan-loving legend

    

Idon’t know how he gets away with it. Halfway through Young Turks, the first audience singalong of this stadium show, Rod Stewart let out three lusty “Ooohs” and pulled his fist into his body like a teenager celebrating a playground victory as, around him, a trio of blond female band members in leopard print mini-dresses swung their hips in unison. Later in the evening, he sang Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? under a vast flashing neon aubergine. Rod Stewart is 74.

Tuesdays in Milton Keynes aren’t meant to be this fun. If a dividing line ever existed between cheesy, horny, tartan-loving showman and genuine music legend then Stewart mastered that tightrope like PT Barnum. His 50-year career has swung from the Celtic folk of his early solo work to the raucous saloon bar boogie of The Jeff Beck Group and The Faces, and from his saccharine Eighties balladeer phase to his recent output as a re-interpreter of the Great American Songbook.

What has always bonded these contrasting realms was his voice. And at this concert – part of what’s billed as his biggest ever UK tour, split between summer and winter legs – his raspy croon was in as good fettle as it has been for years. In full flight, no one’s delivery sounds more like sandpaper slathered in Lyle’s Golden Syrup. It allowed you to indulge those moments of ribald daftness.

 

Indeed, the entire vibe of the 23-song set was escapism. “Forget about Donald Trump. Forget about Brexit. Let’s have a good time this Tuesday evening. Ow-wight?” he cried before breaking into You Wear it Well.

What made this concert so likable was that Stewart’s quest for unashamed fun was carried by a setlist groaning with hits and terrific musicianship – two drummers, a string section (more leopard print), a harp, bagpipers in full regalia. At one point, Stewart even apologised for playing a song from his latest album, Blood Red Roses, even though it went to number one.

The concert also featured the best use of video screens I’ve seen at a large show – they made a soulless football ground intimate. Perhaps it was the presence in the crowd of his wife Penny Lancaster, two of his eight children, and the former manager of his beloved Celtic Football Club, Gordon Strachan, but Stewart seemed as sparkly as his golden trainers.

Maggie May from 1971 (“the year my wife was born”) was an early highlight, and 1976’s The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II), about the murder of a gay man in New York, suggested that Stewart was adept at social commentary before his career went a bit Barry White. I could have done without the Irish tap dancing during Forever Young by his leopard-print dressed band mates, though: it was as though The Lion King had come to Buckinghamshire. And more Faces songs would have been welcome.

 

Stewart has been around long enough to know how to mix the slick with the off-the-cuff. He played the diva card with a massive wink to the crowd. At one point he glanced down at those bling trainers of his. “My shoelace is undone. Will you alert wardrobe?” he said to no one in particular. A flunkey ran on and tied it. Later, after a break backstage, he told us that his hair had just got caught in the hairdryer in his dressing room. “OK, I shouldn’t have said that,” he quickly added.

There were icky moments. The lyrics to Tonight’s The Night [“Don’t say a word my virgin child, Just let your inhibitions run wild”] and Tonight I’m Yours [“Don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me,” sang the female backing singers] don’t pass muster in the #MeToo era (or ever, frankly). And it was curious to include a clip of him being knighted by the Duke of Cambridge in footage about the D-Day landings.

But this was in many ways an almost perfect stadium show. Great sound, accomplished musicians, crystal-clear screens, slick staging, hit after hit, pre- and post-show fireworks, and a singer who, after so long in the business, knows precisely how to connect with a crowd. The only thing that Stewart skimped on was the material for his backing musicians’ dresses. But after half a century of this particular career, we should have expected little else.

Review: Rod Stewart, York Racecourse, June 1

THROUGH the years he has transformed from "Rod the Mod" to "Sir Rod Is God", but the voice of Rod Stewart remains a pied piper unchanged by time's ravaging passage.

Promoters Cuffe and Taylor, so successful at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, upped the ante by erecting up a pop-up stage on York Racecourse grass for 30,000 to rock up on a warm Saturday evening. Five times the OAT capacity, and Sir Rod sold out pronto as Knavesmire's biggest favourite since Frankel.

All ran smoothly, from bars to bus queues home, a little patience required, but time well spent casting an eye over the Rod lookalikes. His fellow Celtic fans Johnny Mac And The Faithful warmed up the devoted before Rod 's arrival at 8.30pm on the nose. The big screens were vital to pick out Rod in his animal print jacket and the half dozen women vocalists and musicians in matching prints, coupled with the men in pink jackets on guitars, drums and saxophone.

All the details were meticulous: Rod's costume changes, facilitated by instrumental interludes and the girls singing Teardrops; You Wear It Well and Maggie May cannily placed as early highs in the 23-song set; Rod pacing himself at 74, sitting down for certain numbers; wonderful versions of The Killing Of Georgie and The First Cut Is The Deepest.

Dedicating Rhythm Of My Heart to the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings was moving, while the closing encore Of Muddy Waters' Blood Red Roses gloriously re-connected Rod with his blues beginnings. "I love it. I love singing. It's good for the heart; good for the lungs," he extolled, caught up once more in the exhilaration of performing.

Rod Stewart plays at St Mary's in Southampton

THE tartan and leopard print clad army were out in force as Sir Rod Stewart arrived in Southampton.

And he didn't disappoint his army of fans, who had travelled from far and wide to see their hero in action at St Mary's.

Following lively support from Johnny Mac and the Faithful, the band he picked from obscurity on his beloved Celtic TV, the musical legend burst onto stage in Southampton for the first time since Sir Rod was knighted following his impressive last appearance at the Ageas Bowl three years ago.

There was a lively atmosphere as the music icon entertained the adoring crowd with You Wear It Well before switching to the Chuck Berry .number Sweet Little Rock and Roller. There was jiving on the pitch, followed by a mass singalong to Forever Young.

One of the greatest hits, Maggie May, was dedicated to Sir Rod's wife Penny Lancaster, who was born in 1971, the year it was released.

Highlights of a top night included a black and white spotted Sir Rod, bearing a Celtic necklace, leading the crowd in I Am Sailing and a tens of thousands strong singalong to I Don't Wanna Talk About It as the sun set over St Mary's and the phone lights were out and lighting up the sky.

The crowd couldn't resist continuing the singalong as the legend took a breather and tens of thousands of fans belted out The First Cut is the Deepest and Have I Told You Lately.

Sir Rod switched to white jeans and a white blazer, with the usual bling of course, for the finale tracks of Sailing and Baby Jane.

Fireworks lit up the night sky as Sir Rod brought down the curtain on three incredible nights of entertainment at St Mary's, including a superb two-nighter from Take That last weekend

Review of Rod Stewart at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena - his opener was an 'odd choice' and Brexit chat was banned

Sir Rod likes Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena. He visited twice in 2016.

This might not be the 250 capacity Boat Club he started out at, but the arena’s the most intimate space you’re likely to see him in this century. 

You know what to expect with Rod, who always plays his biggest songs, but there are often surprises. This is ‘his biggest ever UK tour’. How many acts do that at the age of 74? 

The opener, minor hit Infatuation, is an odd choice, but gets the groove going. Young Turks takes things up a notch.

He hits his first killer punch with his second number one, You Wear It Well. He’s in his stride, in front of a superb stage set whose multiple backdrops include a gigantic video carousel above the stage. 

Rod, red scarf poking out of tight bullfighter’s trousers, tells us to forget 
Brexit, Trump and the EU because "we’re here to enjoy ourselves".

Then it’s Tonight I’m Yours. Hit follows hit, including a rousing Maggie May and a moving Killing of Georgie.

Tonight’s highlights also include a cracking I’d Rather Go Blind, the only song from his Faces days, and a wonderful, poignant I Don’t Want To Talk About It.

He tore a ligament at his Cork show the other night, he explains, "doing a dance a man of my age shouldn’t do", then sits down for the acoustic set.

 

There’ll be no footballs kicked into the audience tonight, but we do get the big balloons. He feels his thigh, then throws himself into show closer Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.

Stewart is always generous to his musicians, who each get solo spots, full introductions and plenty of opportunity to dance, sing or anything (now there’s a song I’d like to hear him do).

This was the fourth time I’ve seen him at the arena, and he’s never sung better. The two hour show concludes with a single, snappy encore of Baby Jane. 

"It was good, wasn’t it?" he says, before the curtains close a second time. 

Yes, Rod, it was.

Rod Stewart at Páirc Uí Chaoimh review: 'Rodders does old school stagecraft like no other'

Last night in Cork Rod Stewart made sure that Liam Miller was in our hearts.

During his performance of You’re In My Heart a picture of the Irish football legend who died of cancer last year aged just 36 flashed up on the screen with the words: Liam Miller, 1981 to 2018.

Throughout the show last night in front of 35,000 fans the reigning king of blue-eyed soul wore it wear in signature leopard skin at Pairc Ui Chaoimh in Cork.

Opening with the finger-snapping  magic of  Infatuation to the stirring tale of young-love -on -the-run Young Hearts Run Free , quickly followed by Hole In My Heart, You Wear It Well and then Tonight’s The Night, Rod transported the audience to a place of wonder. What made it that little bit more wonderful was that the sun was shining by the banks of the Lee; and as Rod sang about the start of a love affair on Tonight’s The Night, last night in Cork it seemed like the summer was starting.

 “It’s Saturday night and let’s enjoy ourselves and forget about Trump and hard/soft borders,” he implored the crowd who were dancing in the aisles like Cork had just won the All Ireland.

For some of them it was probably like the greatest wedding they had ever been at as Rod played all the hits, like Baby Jane and Maggie May. He dedicated the latter to his wife Penny Lancaster who was in the audience.

“The song was written in 1971, the year she was born,” he explained. Rod didn’t add that the song was inspired by a trip in 1961 to a jazz festival in Europe where in a beer tent he was deflowered by an older lady called Maggie and his performance was lamentably quick. (“Oh, Maggie, I couldn’t have tried any more, “ he sang. )

Last night the opposite was very much the case as Rod played 24 songs and performed tirelessly for over two hours. Maggie - where ever in the world she is - would have been proud.

In fact, Rod’s show was a masterclass in soul and rhythm and blues  — the music that first inspired Rod as a teenager in North London when he gave up measuring graves to follow his dream. Mercifully for us he did, too, as last night Rod delivered us with a raspy voice that at times could have  matched his hero Sam Cooke for its transcending soulfulness. Especially on Have I Told You Lately and Rather Go Blind. This man was on fire. Moving about the stage with a winning gusto and energy that betrayed his age, Rodders does old school stagecraft like no other, with the possible exception of his old muckers Mr Jagger or Mr John. 

It is in his DNA that he knows how to put on a show.

Every song made s persuasive claim to being a masterpiece from Memphis or Detroit in another time and era  last night in Cork;  or at least something that you would sing along to and remember long after the concert was over.

That's all that music can do for us.

Like Van Morrison, the only other singer who can touch him,  Rod relies on intuition and alchemy with his band to bring the songs alive in front of an audience. It is all about sound and feel especially when Rod gets lost in those moments of utter exultation of songs like... Grace (which had everyone in the crowd singing along) Twisting (which had everyone in the crowd twisting), Rhythm of My Heart (where Rod’s Scottish heritage emerged) and Sailing (Rod had been spotted on a boat doing just that with Penny earlier yesterday in Crosshaven.)

This is to say nothing of the aching power of  Rather Go Blind and Cat Stevens’ The First Cut is the Deepest (Rod makes sad songs so powerful) and the aforementioned Young Hearts Run Free .

Rod might be 74  — might be wearing leopard-print  and have a haircut that refuses to come into fashion — but he sang Young Hearts like it was a rebel song of young love against the world that Bruce Springsteen could have written ('Time is on your side

Don’t let ’em put you down

Don’t let ’em push you around'). He sang it with  a sincerity that marks Rod's vocal style. That's why he can sing soul.

Because you believe he is feeling what he is singing about.  He can sing sadness (the homosexual murder of The Killing of Georgie; the inspiring melancholy of Sailing, "to be near you, to be free"), he can sing blues (Rod is up there with Joe Cocker and Robert Plant as a brill Brit blues shouter), folk, rock, and of course, disco-era lust. Rod once described Da Ya Think I’m Sexy in his autobiography as “a pink toilet seat hung around my neck for the rest of my life”.

But when Rod is in full alpha male flow, as he was when he played it last night with his three blonde backing singers dancing beside him (like ghosts of his blonde girlfriend past) I was thinking: had Freddie Mercury done this with Queen we’d be re-visting it as a slightly bonkers retro camp classic of its epoch, and we’d be demanding they make a movie of Rod’s life. Every night Rod Stewart seems to star in the movie of his own life. He seems happier in his life and his music than he ever has. (I’m sure Rod doesn’t sit around in his Bel Air mansion pondering what  Greil Marcus wrote about him in Rolling Stone in 1980: “Rarely has anyone betrayed his talent so completely.”)

Rod clearly has the desire to do this, clearly has the fire still burning in his belly. You could see that in his performance last night in Cork. He was enjoying himself, a cheeky smile never far from his face. He was enjoying singing the songs we love so much. This wasn’t a superstar phoning it in so he could get home for supper at the hotel with the wife and grand kids. Rod would have played all night if they would have let him. Deep down, he is still that music-obsessed working class lad from North London whose voice was his salvation; he still has that cheeky twinkle in his eye and that voice that he had when he performed with The Faces  in the early 1970s (do yourself a favour and stick on You Tube and watch The Faces live at the BBC in 1971 doing - Three Button Hand Me :’

I don't need no one's opinion

On the matter concerning my dress

I was raised in a clinic down in Oklahoma

There were many things I did not possess...’)

Rod still retains that magic to entertain nearly fifty years on. He’s in our hearts. And last night Cork was blessed to witness him at his eternal soul boy best.

*It was announced today, that due to phenomenal demand, Rod Stewart will play an extra date at 3Arena Dublin on 5 December 2019. Tickets for this extra date go on sale this Thursday 30 May from all usual outlets.

 

Rod Stewart 2019 tour Bristol review and set list: Harps and footballs at Ashton Gate

Ashton Gate rocked the night away at Sir Rod Stewart's concert - the first of his 2019 UK tour

 

Sir Rod Stewart kicked off the UK leg of his world tour with a barnstorming two-hour show at Ashton Gate stadium in Bristol last night.

It was a gig with at least four costume changes, a harp solo, the obligatory footballs into the crowd and several gigantic singalongs.

He played a set filled with the classics, the hit songs that have sold 100 million records, along with a selection of his favourite covers.

But the lucky 20,000-plus fans who packed into Ashton Gate on Wednesday night, for the first in a series of stadium gigs at Bristol’s biggest venue, didn’t just get a rock group fronted by the 74-year-old, who had showed his generous side ahead of the gig.

This was big band Rod. This was Rod with almost an orchestra. This was Rod at the head of a steamroller of sound, switching from Riverdancing clogs to saxophone solos, switching from leopard print to polka dots, and rounded off with fireworks and an encore of Baby Jane.

He was in a pithy, but smoothly-in-control mood. Clearly loving being back in Britain - he said so halfway through - he was faced with 20,000 excited fans, and knew he had the arsenal of songs and band to back it up.

The crowd were already well up for it. The excitement was helped for many by the novelty of a first visit to the ‘new’ Ashton Gate, a stadium which has undergone a huge rebuild in the past five years.

We’d had the bagpipe quartet, we’d had the suitably Scottish, Celtic-loving support band, Johnny Mac and the Faithful, and then suddenly, heralded by a rather understated fanfare, there he was, taking many still sipping their ciders in the concourse by surprise, opening with Infatuation.

Then he followed that with The Persuaders cover Some Guys Have All The Luck, and we were away.

“We’ve got 23 songs. We’ve got two hours,” he said. “So forget Brexit, forget the European Union, forget Trump. Let’s enjoy ourselves.”

The sun set behind the Atyeo Stand and the Ashton Court Estate in the distance, and the lights of Sir Rod’s impressive stage set-up grew brighter.

A stadium gig often stands or falls on the sound quality - it was clear and loud - and the visuals, given that only those within 30 yards of the stage will ever get a good view of the man himself.

The stage was effectively one giant screen - two very tall, very vertical screens on either side, a convex screen above and the huge backdrop behind the band on stage was one massive screen too.

This set up was used very cleverly - there was always something to watch, always something different going on.

And what those screens showed was that Rod was very much on top form, both with his voice rasping out across South Bristol, and with his flamboyant costumes.

“I’m getting hot and wet,” he said after just a few songs. “I’ll have to change my shirt. The papers said I went off four times for a rest, but I’m going off to change, I’m not going for a f***ing rest,” he added.

He opened with a unique combination - matching a leopard-print jacket with shiny black trousers with a thick red side-stripe - the kind worn by the second euphonium player.

He might be a knight of the realm, but here he was the ringmaster of a colliery band circus.

The costume changes meant it was a varied evening - actually some of the most interesting moments came when Sir Rod was switching from 1970s pimp to 1920s Berlin artist.

After the evening’s first monster hit, Tonight’s The Night, we had the first of those variety moments. Forever Young morphed with the jolt of a segue not unfamiliar to viewers of The One Show into Riverdance.

And we saw for the first time what would actually become the real stars of the show - Rod’s backing singers.

For they weren’t just backing singers. Up until this point they had been - the classic trio of girls swaying with big blonde hair.

But suddenly they were clog dancing, playing fiddles and leaping around. There were more of them, they were everywhere. They were brilliant.

From that moment, they were a constant surprise - getting a harp out, appearing with a mandolin for the classic Maggie May.

That heralded a stripped back interlude in the set, the band and Rod sitting on what appeared to be those posh chairs you might see in a top of the range marquee at a wedding, and the first huge singalong moment.

The Crazy Horse cover I Don’t Want to Talk About It, followed by another in quick succession with The First Cut Is The Deepest.

Then the girls got their chance to really shine, leading the Fleetwood Mac cover Go Your Own Way, as Rod made yet another costume change.

Everything was co-ordinated, everything was visual, although the pink jackets of the backing band, and the various mini-dresses of the female members of the band threw a slightly suspect 1980s shade of Robert Palmer's Addicted To Love video, or Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines on the proceedings.

Rod emerged again in more casual get-up for the finale, ready for the footballs.

They were sent into the stratosphere by two machines designed to reach the very back of the ground at the other end of the pitch.

However, the breeze took many soaring over the Dolman Stand, with some still bouncing down Duckmoor Road long after the gig finished.

Into the home straight and there was no flagging from Rod, blasting balls into the crowd to Twistin’ The Night Away. singing Sailing illuminated by a thousand mobile phone lights, and ending with Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?

An encore of Baby Jane sent the crowd home happy, with the sound of the fireworks from behind the stage ringing in their ears.

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