University of York Graduate, aspiring to be a journalist with dreams of one day publishing my own novel.
Published work can be seen at www.theyorker.co.uk and www.yorkvision.co.uk
Do you think he's sexy?
Five years after declaring he'd never tour again, Rod Stewart, the legging-wearing-turned-cover-track-crooner has just announced his newest live tour for June 2013: Live The Life. While I doubt I'll make it this time round, (I've had quite enough Rod in my life, thank you very much) what better opportunity to reminisce about my wonderful evening back in 2010, and give first time Rodders a little insight into what to expect?
As I recall, the father of eight wasted no time with warm-ups – he kicked things off straight away with an upbeat and energetic cover of The O Jays' Love Train, looking ever the sexy older gentleman in a flamboyant purple suit. Accompanied by a wildly colourful and dare I say it, almost distracting backdrop, together with a very easy-on-the-eyes female band, Rod continued to own the stage as he has done for over forty years.
What ensued was an electric evening as Rod took us through his vast array of hits. Taking time to throw in a few covers from The Great American Songbook, it was clear that, like a fine wine, the ageing rocker's trademark gravelly voice has only improved over time. The then 65-year-old still had his youthful spirit, however, as we were shown images from his younger days during the heartfelt I Was Only Joking, and he still found time to belt out the cheeky disco classic Do You Think I'm Sexy.
Talking of trademarks, Rod kept to tradition during an upbeat performance of Hot Legs by kicking signed footballs into the crowd, and we were reminded, once again following You're In My Heart, that he is still very much a fan of Celtic United. We were also treated to Mr Stewart's more sentimental side, as images from his childhood were plastered across the backdrop, as well as some rather amusing cross-dressing photographs which he sheepishly talked us through. Debatably the highlight in the sentimental stakes, however, was when his four year old son Alastair took to the stage – behind him stood a blown up image of a t-shirt with his own personal design on it, all in aid of a children's charity, and you would have had to have been pretty soulless not to let out a huge aaaaaw when Rod made him say hello to the crowd.
Songs and sentimentality aside, the concert was not without its additional epic moments. A ten-minute drum solo, an extended two man-saxophone solo during Do You Think I'm Sexy and his backing singers' kick-ass rendition of Proud Mary were just some of the evening's extra treats. This, combined with Rod's natural flair for talking to an audience, ("you look up and realise, **** me everyone's looking at ya!" springs to mind...) made for a truly fantastic show, and I was saddened when Rod announced that the iconic Maggie May would be his last song.
Kicking off: keeping to tradition by kicking footballs
Of course, we all know that performers lie for an encore, and I literally felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as the slow acoustic guitar intro to Sailing teased its way into my ears. The audience sang their hearts out and there wasn't a bum on seat in sight, and I'm not sure if I began to well up at this point due to the emotion of the song or the possibility that he might leave without singing my personal favourite, Baby Jane. Imagine my elation, then, when just as I was packing up to leave the synthesizer kicked in and everybody was up dancing again – lo and behold, to go out with a bang, the cheeky chappy left the best till last, and finished the night with a show-stopping rendition of the 1983 #1. I screamed my way through it and left the O2 feeling like a five year old on a sugar rush.
While I can't promise that Rod's up and coming tour will be anything compared to this magnificent evening, I can guarantee that there is a reason Rod Stewart is still performing – quite simply, he owns the stage. I'd therefore definitely recommend anyone take themselves to see the man do what he does best, and if he performs his disco classic again, you can tell him from me – yes Rod, yes I definitely do.