Rod Stewart Performs Incredible First Melbourne Show ’Sailing’ Through a Timeless Setlist -
Rod Stewart at Rod Laver Arena 14 March 2023 photo by Bron Robinson

Rod Stewart at Rod Laver Arena 14 March 2023 photo by Bron Robinson

Rod Stewart Performs Incredible First Melbourne Show ’Sailing’ Through a Timeless Setlist

by Paul Cashmere on March 15, 2023

in News

Rod Stewart is unbelievably good at age 78. It seemed the most asked question leading into the tour was ‘can he still sing’?. The answer is ‘fuck yeah’.

Right from the start with his cover of Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted To Love’, Sir Rod pranced on stage with all the glitter and glam of old school professionalism. This was an amazing concert. It felt good to be in the room. For 2 hours and 5 minutes, all eyes were on Rod. Whatever was happening in the world was left outside to deal with later. This audience was in for a good time.

Rod’s point of difference with the recent Elton and Sting show is his ability to improvise his setlist. If you are old enough to remember The Faces, (Rod’s band of the early 70s), you will remember how sloppy they were. (And I used sloppy in a good ol’ rock and roll sense). They would start, fuck it up, stop, start again and it just made for a better show. We had one of those moments with this show when someone in the band didn’t notice ‘Stay With Me’ was a last minute addition to the setlist and launched into ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy’. Rod stopped, and started it again. How appropriate that they fucked it up with a Faces song.

None of that matters at a Rod Stewart concert. Rod’s show is his party and everyone in the audience is his guest.

Rod is also a gracious host at his party, sharing his stories, giving us all a glimpse into his life. One story was about how The Faces members used to share hotel rooms. “We took all the furniture in the room and put it down the middle. And then when we got a couple of girls in there, we couldn’t stop fucking giggling. The girls went home”.

There was also the recollection of his first Australia tour (with Faces in 1974) when he looked into the audience and someone was holding the sign “fuck off Pommy bastards”.

There was the serious moment. ‘Rhythm of My Heart’ was dedicated to Ukraine, with Rod calling out ‘stupid fucking Putin’ and filling the screens with images of war-torn Ukraine as the band performed the classic hit, and climaxing with an image of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to thunderous applause from the audience.

The highlights from this show happen fast and furious. There were no lows. We are navigated through various eras. Rod’s setlist is a time-machine. We are transported back to 1973 for a tribute to the Faces with ‘Ooh La La’, sung by Ron Wood on the original song. Rod doesn’t even appear on the Faces version. It was only the two Ronnies (Lane and Wood), Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones. Rod recorded his version of it on 1998’s ‘When We Were The New Boys’ as a tribute to the then recently deceased Ronnie Lane (1946-1997).

‘You’re In My Heart’ was dedicated to Melbourne soccer coach Ange Postecoglou who was soccer coach for Rod’s team Celtic United (name checked in the song).

Rod Stewart pays tribute to Ange Postecoglou, photo by RC Stills

There is also a tribute to Jeff Beck with ‘People Get Ready’ Rod was singer for the Jeff Beck Group before the Faces and sang vocals for 1985 Beck recording.

Rod also performed ‘The Killing of George Part 1’ at this show but not in Perth. It was a controversial song when released in 1976, the subject being about the murder of a gay friend Rod knew. He didn’t include Part 2 in the performance.

‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy’ ends the main set and was followed by ‘Sailing’ in the encore. Two hours felt like 10 minutes.

Jon Stevens opened the show sandwiching his INXS era between his Noiseworks classics. Cyndi Lauper was the perfect before Rod with a good hour covering all of her classics as well as showcasing some of her more recent new music.

Rod Stewart at Rod Laver Arena 14 March 2023 photo Bron Robinson

Rod Stewart at Rod Laver Arena 14 March 2023 photo Bron Robinson

Rod Stewart setlist 14 March 2023 Rod Laver Arena Melbourne

Addicted to Love (Robert Palmer cover)
You Wear It Well (from Never A Dull Moment, 1972)
Ooh La La (from Faces, Ooh La La, 1973)
Some Guys Have All the Luck (from Camouflage, 1984)
Twisting The Night Away (from Never A Dull Moment, 1972)
It Takes Two (from Vagabond Heart, 1991)
Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (from Blood Red Roses, 2018)
The First Cut Is the Deepest (from A Night On The Town, 1976)
Forever Young (from Out of Order, 1988)
Maggie May (from Every Picture Tells A Story, 1971)
I’d Rather Go Blind (from Never A Dull Moment, 1972)
Young Turks (from Tonight I’m Yours, 1981)
Rhythm of My Heart (from Vagabond Heart, 1991)
I’m Every Woman (Chaka Khan cover, sung by backing singers)
People Get Ready (from Jeff Beck’s Flash, 1985)
The Killing Of Georgie Part 1 (from A Night On The Town, 1976)
Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) (from A Night On The Town, 1976)
You’re in my Heart (from Footloose and Fancy Free, 1977)
Have I Told You Lately (from Vagabond Heart, 1991)
Lady Marmalade (LaBelle cover, sung by backing singers)
Stay With Me (from Faces, A Nod Is As Good As A Wink, 1972)
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? (from Blonds Have More Fun, 1979)

Sailing (from Atlantic Crossing, 1975)

Rod Stewart will perform a second Melbourne show at Rod Laver Arena tonight and his first A Day On The Green show at Mt Duneed, Geelong this Saturday when the temperature is predicted to be 30+ degrees. Very good tickets for the A Day On The Green shows at Mt Duneed and Mount Cotton are still available.



Sat 18 March 2023 Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong, VIC
Sat 25 March 2023 Sirromet Wines, Mount Cotton, QLD
Sun 2 April 2023 Centennial Vineyards, Bowral, NSW

All event information


Saturday March 11 RAC Arena, Perth
Tuesday March 14 and 15 Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Tuesday March 21 AEC Arena, Adelaide
Wednesday March 29 Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Saturday April 1 Roche Estate, Hunter Valley

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