“I don’t want to be singing “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” at age 50 and become a parody of myself” said a young Rod Stewart in Rolling Stone Magazine.
Seventy year old Rod Stewart is still singing that song and showing no signs of slowing down at the first of his two shows at a capacity filled Rod Laver Arena. Another stalwart of the music biz, beloved Aussie local James Reyne is warming up the crowd to old favourites in his repertoire, inciting boisterous sing alongs to “Errol” and “Boys Light Up.”
A good fifty or so years of performing have kept Rod Stewart trim and his distinctive raspy voice intact. Backed by twelve musicians, including three back up singers, a violinist, and a harp player, Stewart swaggers out in a sparkly leopard print jacket, his trademark spiky mullet on show, singing Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party.” The song’s theme continues throughout a nearly two hour long set. Bonnie Tyler’s “It’s a Heartache” follows shortly after, and Stewart still knows his way around a microphone stand, flinging it about effortlessly.
“I’m playing twenty odd songs tonight and more if you deserve it,” teases Stewart. It is the ‘Hits’ tour after all, and is replete with crowd favourites including “Tonight’s the Night,” Cat Steven’s “First Cut is the Deepest,” and Crazy Horse cover “I Don’t Want to Talk About it,” accompanied by a loud sing along that almost drowns out Stewart’s vocals. He proudly tells us that without Sam Cooke, there would be no Rod, launching into Cooke’s classic “Twistin’ the Night Away” whilst shaking his tush.
“Rhythm of my Heart” is dedicated to all our soldiers and “Brighton Beach” is an ode to his first child conceived there. It’s a poignant moment when Stewart devotes popular wedding song “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You,” to his good friend Molly Meldrum and hugs him on stage at the song’s conclusion. Instrumentals during the set allow Stewart time for costume changes and his gold suit doesn’t disappoint in the flashy stakes. His attire is befitting for Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Rock and Roller” with a cheeky Stewart slapping his behind to the beat.
“You’re in My Heart” tells of the love that Stewart has for the Celtic Football Club, and his infatuation with Britt Ekland. The Celtic Football club is perhaps his most enduring romance, its insignia displayed proudly on the drum kit. Video projections behind the stage are used to full effect, documenting Stewart’s life throughout his career; “I toured with this band when Melbourne looked like this,” chimes Stewart to an old black and white photo, before singing Faces’ “Stay With Me,” whilst keeping up tradition, kicking autographed soccer balls into the crowd. Sentimental ballad “Sailing” (Sutherland Brothers cover) sees the crowd singing and “Maggie May” is also lapped up by the nostalgic throng.
Stewart hooks a lilac coloured bra, flung on the stage, onto his microphone stand and keeps singing without skipping a beat and for the encore he proves a point “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy,” complete with his infamous quote on show, has the crowd upstanding and dancing, whilst balloons are released from above. The silver curtain comes down, signalling the shows’ conclusion despite pleas for more. Rod Stewart is a consummate performer, is definitely one of the acts you must see and yep he’s still sexy at 70.
Rod Stewart, Melbourne, March 24, 2015
Having A Party (from Unplugged And Seated, 1993)
It’s A Heartache (from Still The Same, 2006)
You Wear It Well (from Never A Dull Moment, 1972)
Tonight’s The Night (from A Night On The Town, 1976)
Can’t Stop Me Now (from Time, 2013)
Twisting The Night Away (from Never A Dull Moment, 1972)
Some Guys Have All The Luck (from Camouflage, 1984)
(I Know) I’m Losing You (from Every Picture Tells A Story, 1971)
Rhythm Of My Heart (from Vagabond Heart, 1991)
Forever Young (from Out Of Order, 1988)
The First Cut Is The Deepest (from A Night On The Town, 1976)
I Don’t Want To Talk About It (from Atlantic Crossing, 1975)
Brighton Beach (from Time, 2013)
Have I Told You Lately (from Vagabond Heart, 1991)
She Makes Me Happy (from Time, 2013)
Sweet Little Rock & Roller (from Smiler, 1974)
You’re In My Heart (from Footloose and Fancy Free, 1977)
Stay With Me (from A Nod Is As Good As A Wink, 1971)
Baby Jane (from Body Wishes, 1983)
Sailing (from Atlantic Crossing, 1975)
Maggie May (from Every Picture Tells A Story, 1971)
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? (from Blondes Have More Fun, 1978)
Remaining Rod Stewart dates
March 28, Macedon, Hanging Rock
March 29, Adelaide, Entertainment Centre
April 1, Sydney, Qantas Arena
April 5, Hunter Valley, Hope Estate
April 7, Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
April 11, Dunedin, Forsyth Bar Stadium
April 13 and 14, Auckland, Vector Arena
Photos by Mary Boukouvalas
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