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August 23, 2018

Blondes Up Front 'Ave More Fun ...Or Do They ?

Ruoff Amphitheatre, Indianapolis, August 18 2018 Review By Anita Mathis

posted by Mike Walton

It was amazing to see Sir Rod perform in our hometown of Louisville, Kentucky on July 29th, 2018 at the KFC Yum Center. His amazing one of a kind talent and voice left me wanting more. Sir Rod has such a way of rejuvenating the soul and calming it at the same time.

My husband Mark, of 35 years surprised me with tickets to see Sir Rod at the Ruoff Amphitheatre in Indianapolis on August 18, 2018. Oh the anticipation of yet another Rod Stewart concert!

We are going to have a wonderful weekend away and get to see Rod Stewart. Yes, I feel blessed and spoiled. We arrived on Friday at the Holiday Inn Express, less than a mile away from the concert venue. Sorry, Rod, but I had to stay at Holiday Inn; they had the best rates. Just for fun, I wanted to put a lamp in the elevator and send it down to the first floor. A true Rod Stewart fan!

Upon entering the Ruoff venue, I was so excited to find our, once again, second row seats. Truly amazing. I was a little worried when I noticed that the stage was half the size as the one at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville, Kentucky. My thought "how is Rod going to be able to make the stage his magical keyboard and have room for his signature moves"?

My husband Mark had been looking at tickets for Sunday night, August 19th at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, MO. We both decided if the second row seats were still available at the end of Rod's concert in Indianapolis, we would purchase the tickets and be seeing him again the following night. As I continued to sit there with great anticipation, I noticed the front row seats were empty. I thought to myself, how is this possible? I had been looking for front row availability. Soon, some young, skinny blondes arrived and began excitedly explaining how some older man walked up to them, gave them the tickets, front row seats, for free/no charge. At first, I was excited for them. But soon, my excitement turned into heartbreak, sadness and tears. More skinny blondes continued to fill the front row with free tickets from the same older gentleman. At one point, I asked the gentleman if I could move up to the front row. I was rudely put in my place with "Um, NO". As I scanned the front row, I could feel tears starting to make an appearance, and I felt as though my night had already been ruined.

My wonderful husband tried his best to get me to see past the front row and reminded me of my beauty. But, I couldn't. I was back in middle school, and the cheerleaders had scored again. I have been listening to Rod Stewart since I was 16 years old. I have purchased records, albums, CD's, pictures and anything Rod Stewart I could find. So, being a true Rod Stewart fan, and wanting to have great seats, I guess us old, and not so skinny fans pay $1,800 X 2 concerts, for second row seats. Cheerleaders may enter for free. I am not the only one who was shocked and noticed the young blondes lined up in the front row. Several ladies behind me also overheard the excitement regarding the free, handpicked front row seats. After apologizing to my husband for the tickets we charged, I hugged him and said "we are going home to Louisville on Sunday". I wiped my tears, pulled up my big girl panties and tried to enjoy the show.

Cyndi put on an amazing performance. She always excites the crowd when she leaves the stage to continue her songs amongst her fans.

Rod's famous checkered curtain was lowered and his fans began cheering and are ready for his grand appearance. The band begins to play and as the curtain rises, Rod's fans are up cheering and beginning to sing "Infatuation" with him. Some are singing while others are screaming. Once again, Rod has thousands of fans instantly energized. Sir Rod had no problem with the smaller stage and as only Rod can do, he made it all completely magical. The next song was "Some Guys Have All The Luck". His fans were up singing, cheering and dancing with his magical moves to this 1984 hit.

Non-stop Rod continued with "Having a Party", and watching him swinging and doing the twist never gets old. I wish he could do replays of the same song he just sang, because this one is a true favorite. Man, does he have moves. The drummer, Dave Palmer, had some technical issues. Rod stopped singing, smiled at his fans, and told everyone to talk amongst themselves while they fixed the issue. Complete laughter filled the amphitheatre.

Being a warm evening in August, Rod was definitely working up a sweat. I thought he would go for a costume break, but not Rod. He continued with "This Old Heart of Mine"; a crowd favorite. One of the cheerleaders in the front row kept flickering her lighter like she was at a heavy metal concert. Sir Rod continues to the next fan favorite. First, he begins to thank the ones who have bravely given so much for our country, and thanking the amazing men and women who continue to serve. Rod begins singing "Rhythm of My Heart". I believe this song will forever stand for the ones who have sacrificed themselves for others.

The duet of Rod and Cyndi performing "It Takes Two" was amazing. Cyndi had experienced a microphone issue, and Rod was very upset for his partner. Rod had a few choice expletives to say to get Cyndi a microphone. To make light of the situation, and a couple of mishaps, Rod places his hand over his face and says "what a tragedy"!! Laughter fills the amphitheatre once again. Fans were clapping and said "way to go, Rod"!

Rod is still rocking tonight with no signs of stopping in sight. He continues on to his seventh song, "Tonight's the Night' and his energy is still soaring, and he is keeping his fans on their feet. His fans love to sing the chorus with him, and Rod loves this as much as we love for him to sing.

Oh my goodness, he is not hesitating. Rod continues to perform another awesome hit from 1988; "Forever Young". Rod is our forever young, and he sings it like he means it. During this song, Rod exits for a break; finally. Rod's drummer, Dave Palmer, is amazingly talented and his drum solo kept everyone cheering while Rod was backstage.

Rod said he wanted to treat us to a new song off of his new CD "Blood Red Roses"; and that it is quickly making its way up the charts. I actually had chills knowing the song that he was about to sing. Personally, I believe every parent, aunt, uncle, grandparents and especially youth themselves should listen, word for word, to this real life song; "Didn't I". The pure truth behind this song is sweeping our streets and riddling our lives and especially our loved ones. Rod received a standing ovation after performing this new song. I believe it will hit the Top 10.

"Maggie May" followed, and what else can be said about this 1971 hit? I can tell you, you crank it up as loud as possible, and you sing it like you have lost your mind. I will say it again, this song only gets better with age, just like Sir Rod. Rod continues to sing "Maggie May" with the passion and rasp that he has been putting into this song for over 40 years.

"Sweet Little Rock-N-Roller" was an amazing tribute to Chuck Berry. Rod had thousands of fans up rockin' and rollin'. The sounds of rock, soul, rasp, sass, jazz and blues define what a Rod Stewart concert is all about.

His guitar player, Emerson Swinford, left me totally speechless. WOW! While Rod headed back for a refreshing change, his incredibly talented guitarist kept us in awe and completely entertained, mesmerized and cheering.

Rod returns refreshed and quite handsome, in a suit with horses; it was totally awesome and we all cheered. He proceeds to tell us that since we paid good money for our seats, we should sit down and enjoy them. Rod takes a seat next to some of his band members to perform his next song "The First Cut Is The Deepest". Of course, thousands of fans are passionately singing with him. We know many other artists have recorded this song, but not one can compare with the wholeheartedness, and how Rod makes this sing his own, with his one of a kind voice.

Rod's next tribute was to the amazing Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Before performing "People Get Ready", Rod said "May God Bless you, Aretha". During his performance, his fans held their arms in the air and swayed from side to side. All you need is faith, no ticket; you just thank the Lord. So many of Rod's songs bring sunshine and hope to a new day. He sings joyfully from his heart and always reminds us to give thanks to the one above.

Rod continues to keep us hypnotized, yet energized with the softness of his raspy and calming voice. At this point, I stop to think; "how could he continue"? Rod has went from rocking out "Maggie May" to seducing us with "Tonight's the Night".

When he begins to sing "Have I Told You Lately", to me a very special and spiritual song; he sings it with such compassion and faith. At my first Rod Stewart concert, I sang this to my husband. Now, after years of listening and growing, when I sing it, I give thanks to the Lord and pray. I love how Rod sings this song from his heart, and touches your soul; and you never forget. His raspy voice is absolute perfection for this song. Once again, thousands of fans listened and gave thanks; everyone applauding as he exited the stage.

We are treated to the amazing Tina Turner Nutbush City Limits. from Bridget, Di and Amanda who are amazingly talented and beautiful women. Their outfits were colorful and sassy and a little bit sexy. Rod's fans followed their every move and was definitely a high point in his show. Rod has returned and we are up on our feet and rocking to "Stay With Me" and "Do You Think I'm Sexy".

Rod hasn't stopped for 90+ minutes, and he is still full of energy as he continues to deliver a one-of-a-kind amazing show. Just watching him strut across the stage, while teasing us with his bum to his famous "Do You Think I'm Sexy" was insatiable. Rod is sexy and he knows it, and he doesn't mind to show it.

The curtain comes down, but we know he will return for a final song.

Rod's closing performance was to "Sailing". There are no words that describe this song, and the way Rod performs it. It's a very spiritual song, and for me, it leaves me with a very sad feeling. I know he will thank his fans, wish them well, and the curtain will come down.

Rod has kept us out of our seats for most of the night. His stamina behind the 90+ minutes of singing, dancing and wonderful entertainment is something I will never take for granted.

As always, a Rod Stewart concert never disappoints. His soulfulness has a way of getting into your blood and never leaving. Some may say that I'm silly or childish for not going to St. Louis and continuing to follow my dream of seeing Rod Stewart in concert. I was heartbroken as I sat and cried about the young, skinny blondes in the front row, who could not even sing his songs. I was so hopeful of following him to Vegas in November, but that dream has disappeared into a cloud. Sir Rod, please remember your fans of 50+ years. Yes, we have aged, but our age has been wonderfully earned by listening to you.

A fan, forever.

Review By Anita Mathis
Photos By Anita Mathis
Montage By Tommy Kevitt

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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