Archive for the ‘Concert Reviews’ Category

Who’s that knockin’ on my door? Why, it’s our old pal Rod. You know him: life of the party, cheeky and naughty but never vulgar, leading the sing-song, pulling birds as easily as he pulls faces. Completely harmless and, by today’s standards, quite tame.

When Rod Stewart takes the stage at Dublin’s O2 arena, where he also performed the night before, he looks tired, as you might expect for a man in his mid 60s. But a few songs into his first set, you begin to realize that the old locomotive is just building up steam, and once up to speed he plays the entertainer every moment he’s on stage. To facilitate that, he smartly paces himself with a break halfway through each set, during which time the band does its own number, and a ten minute interval at the halfway point, for a cup of tea and to soak the welts he now doubt has from smacking himself on the backside.

Ostensibly, this is the “Soulbook” tour, and there are a couple of songs from that album, such as “Love Train” and “Rainy Night in Georgia”, and the band fill it’s solo spots with “Keep Me Hanging On” and the instrumental “Soul Finger”. With a three piece horn section and three outstanding backup singers, this band seems designed for this material. However, this is primarily a best–of show, tracking the many phases of Rod down through the years. This band proves itself to be an extremely versatile and professional show band, equally at home faithfully reproducing the hits, regardless of genre, as they are with full-on Motown. They even manage to make the staged banter and set peices look loose and natural, if not spontaneous.

Meanwhile, the man up front is doing his best to energize this audience. And, at first, this audience needs some energy – half of them are middle age, and the other half are older, with an extra ten percent of twenty and thirty somethings thrown in just to balance out the room a bit.

Rod doesn’t just expect people to sing along with him. He demands it on nearly every song. This is not to cover up a faltering voice – the years have been kind to Rod’s pipes, and there is no noticeable hint of betrayal in that combination of velvet and sandpaper. No, he just wants to make sure everyone has a good time.

And of course the audience knows pretty much every song. It’s hard work getting this crowd going, and Rod occasionally chastises them for not showing as much enthusiasm as last nights crowd, especially in regards to the band, but eventually the effort pays off. During the last quarter of the show even the most inanimate of the sell-out crowd are at least mouthing the words, and by the time we arrive inevitably at “Maggie May” and “Sailing” most of us are singing at the top of our lungs.

Speaking for myself, it was a pleasant night that passed quickly, but it never really caught fire, with the possible exception of “Hot Legs”, during which Rod kicked so many autographed footballs to the crowd that I began to think there was one for everyone in the audience.

I suspect the ladies in the audience would be more enthusiastic with their praise. Quite a few took every opportunity to attract attention to themselves, even the motor mouth behind us, who seemed more interested in discussing her daughter’s exam grades and barbeque season, regularly cried out “I love you Rod” and “play Maggie May” starting with the second song through to when it was finally performed.

Rod tried his best to show all the ladies a little love. So of course this inspired some to try a little harder, and finally the knickers came flying onto the stage. No, wait, that’s a Celtic United scarf. Well, I did say it was a tame.

If you missed this knees up, you’ll get another chance on July 31st.