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Plain Sailing

Mediolanum Forum, Milano Italy31 January 2018 Review By Danny Gandolfi

posted by Mike Walton

Most of the concert reviews here on SMILER are done by fans but to even things out and get a different perspective every now and again we like to use a review from a music critic.

With no SMILER members doing a review of Rod's Milan concert we came across this well written and thought provoking article by Danny Gandolfi

When I asked Danny for permission to use the review on SMILER he thought that printing his review on a Rod Stewart fanclub site would be like hanging him out to dry, but as Rod fans are made up of so many different groups, from fans who got into Rod via The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces, The Great American Songbook and everything in between.. if nothing else we all have very different opinions on what we think should be in the set and what we think Rod should be doing, most of us on this site loved the set Rod played at Hyde Park in 2015 but many music fans in attendance wanted to hear more can't win, but as long as nobody is just slagging Rod off for the sake of it without any thought or knowledge we are always willing to listen to opinions and have a debate, so read Danny's review and feel free to let us know your opinions on the SMILER 'Cruel But Fair' message board, Thinking about Rod after the concert Danny told me he had wondered why Rod doesn’t do like his mate Sir Elton and reproduce a famous album on stage like ‘Gasoline Alley’ or ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’, as in really put himself out there ...

Rod Stewart
Mediolanum Forum, Milano
31 January 2018

Sir Roderick David Stewart, better known to us mortals as Rod, is on a worldwide tour including Milano where I find myself tonight, along with a packed crowd, that warmly greets him back after an absence of 8 years.

Rod is now 73 years of age but he still cuts a dashing figure even with screen video close ups and with various costume changes involving black and white glittery jackets, colourful shirts and of course his famous gold lamé suit he is suitably able to show himself off. This charade also helps him conveniently to take breaks during the set whilst his solid 13 piece band take control of the stage. Yes, because the hips don’t really work anymore and apart from the odd knee jerk, dancing is out of the question and fatigue sets in rather too easily I feel.

As for the voice, well, it’s ok, still grating and sublimely distinctive but there is little sustain and resonance with certain songs like ‘Baby Jane’ notably with the key adjusted to suit his the vocal pitch of today’s Rod.

Still with a strong band including 6 girls sharing vocals and instruments like violins, harp and percussion, the show, very Vegas, is watchable and entertaining with loads of old soft rock hits, some rockabilly and classic ballads but it’s like painting by joining the dots, every step is accounted for, no room for error for sure but that said no flashes of brilliance or spontaneity either. Maybe on Van Morrison’s ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You’ Rod seemed “in the moment” and when he talked about Celtic Football Club and the song ‘You’re In My Heart’ there is even some passion involved but the rest is simply plain sailing as Rod would say.

The crowd try and rise to the occasion with a spontaneous vocal chant after ‘Do You Think I’m sexy’ but after listening for a few bars, Rod with a simple hand gesture gets the band to start the closer ‘Sailing’ as we hit the 90 minute mark as injury time not extra time is only to be allowed.

Nostalgia is not always a fulfilling and comfortable feeling and I feel maybe Rod should have put away the mike stand after this summer’s Isle Of Wight headline slot. What’s left now is formulaic and ordinary something Rod Stewart as an artist has never been in his long and successful career.


Soul Finger( (band only)
Having a Party
Some Guys Have All the Luck
Sweet Little Rock & Roller
Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)
It Takes Two
Forever Young
Rhythm of My Heart
Downtown Train
The First Cut Is the Deepest
I Don't Want to Talk About It
You're in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)
Have I Told You Lately
Proud Mary
People Get Ready
Baby Jane
Stay With Me
Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think)

Review By Danny Gandolfi
Photo By Sonja Schenk
Article first published on

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