Rod Stewart at Rogers Arena, 4/10/18
Fans of Rod Stewart were “Having a Party” Tuesday night, and though rock n’ roll may be in fact dead, Rod the Mod gave us all a “Reason to Believe” by delivering hit after infectious hit to a sold-out Rogers Arena. Sure, the legend out of North London skipped over both of the aforementioned singles. However, after 57 years of performing, it is abundantly clear that not an ounce of charm or style has escaped the 73-year-old who still knows how to thoroughly entertain a full house.
Most of the astute Stewart crowd were also quite punctual and saw the black and white checkered curtain raise at the advertised showtime. Presumably, backstage monitoring the second hand on his pocket-watch, Stewart was like clockwork when 7:30 hit. There is no shortage of energy coming off the stage at a Rod Stewart gig. With as many as 16 people on stage at one point in the show, Stewart takes showmanship and entertainment to a welcomed extreme.
Beginning the night with a take on The Bar Keys’ biggest hit “Soul Finger,” Stewart would embark on the first of 10 cover songs. Transitioning into “Infatuation” (from “Soul Finger”), it became clear that the show was going to indeed r-o-c-k. As the airtight band drew to a close on “Young Turks,” Stewart addressed the audience for the first time.
“We have eight songs that we did not play four years ago for you. We are going to be here for about an hour and three-quarters, time it. There is someone leaving already. Enjoy yourselves folks; we intend to. It has been a lovely evening outside, here we go.”
Picking a single highlight from the show is entirely subjective, especially considering just how many heartwarming songs, reminiscent trips down memory lane, and instances of genuine charm that emanate from a stage holding one of music’s inarguable icons. Stewart’s band alone is worth the price of admission. With outstanding musical chops on guitars, bass, saxophone and percussion every single Stewart song sounds pristine.
As “Some Guys Have All The Luck” came to a close Stewart smiled and vocalised what everybody in the venue was feeling. “It’s going to be a hell of a night”. From fiddle players to the harp, Stewart successfully melds his Celtic roots (English/Scottish) with 50s Americana like no other. Having grown up listening to Muddy Waters and Sam Cooke, Stewart tips the hat to legends before him with grace and charisma.
Attempting to list off the volume of poignant moments during the show (such as helping his two young sons kick soccer balls into the crowd during “Ooh La La,” or Stewart’s recounting of the day he became Sir Rod) is a fool’s errand. However, if forced to select a couple highlights, the classy tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. (assassinated 50 years ago this week), “You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)”, as well as the balloon shower arranged for “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” remain standouts. Between backup singer Di Reed’s show-stopping take on “Proud Mary,” the constant wardrobe changes, or the three-person percussion solo during “Forever Young,” there was not a single portion of the show suitable for a washroom break.
In the end, Stewart came to Vancouver and conquered just as he did four years ago. With multiple screens behind the enigmatic legend streaming a vast array of planned visuals (as well as close-ups of the performers), Stewart and his massive team executed a picture perfect evening in our city. The impressive 19-song set performed by Stewart and cohorts only left the rabid audience wanting more.
Kick a ball, and you would hit an outstanding song executed to perfection Tuesday night. That said, a couple of the must-hear songs from Tuesday night include “You Wear It Well”, “Forever Young,” “You’re In My Heart,” “Maggie May” (of course), and this writer’s personal favourite (Tom Waits’) “Downtown Train.” Rod Stewart’s show at Rogers Arena boasted the best of a brilliant catalogue as performed by an exceptional human being.
Rod Stewart Setlist
Some Guys Have All The Luck
You Wear it Well
Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright)
Rhythm of My Heart
The First Cut is the Deepest
Ooh La La
You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim)
Have I Told You Lately
Rollin’ and Tumblin’
Stay With Me
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy