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June 7, 2019

A Knighted Stallion

York Racecourse, Saturday 1 June 2019 Review By Yvonne Heywood Hambleton

posted by Mike Walton

On a balmy evening at York Racecourse, the Knavesmire – home of many thoroughbreds – a knighted stallion entered the parade ring as Scots military pipes faded and the pulsating bass line of ‘Infatuation’ flooded across the dense mass of the audience. Expectancy transformed into the crackle of excitement.

There was commitment, freshness and that wry joviality as Rod launched in to ‘Young Turks’ and a standard from 1972 that might be said to be wearing very well indeed!

What followed was a succession of Rod’s standards delivered with energy and commitment that transcended the years. Notable versions of ‘Tonight’s the Night’, ‘Maggie May’ and the homage to a lost friend, ‘The Killing of George’, resonated deep into the evening. Past collaboration with Ronnie Wood on ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ brought a reminiscence of a recording session with his friend from long ago. Soon there was a gentle and beautiful harp introduction to a sensitive delivery of ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’ followed soon by ‘You Are in My Heart and in My Soul’.

The sound system was powerful, the treble and bass balanced to perfection. So too, the visual effects as high definition images spun every more brightly as dusk seeped across the race ground.

Celtic evocations and British patriotism were woven into the music and the visual backdrop – violins, tap and even newsreel of a particular honours ceremony!

The band was exemplary, musicianship, tight rhythms and stage presence enhancing the strong vocal performances of the new backing singers and the man himself…. indeed, Rod paused to reflect that he rather liked singing!

That brought a new vibrancy at this stage to a voice in supreme form as ‘Every Beat of My Heart’ and ‘I Don’t Want to Talk About It’ tumbled across the wide spaces before delivery of a shattering version Sam Cook’s ‘Twisting the Night Away’.

Violins featured at many times in the concert and some impressive percussion was showcased; similarly an echo of Mark Knopfler’s guitar on Brothers in Arms.

Rod’s costume changes were several and whilst a leopard never changes its spots it can occasionally transgress sartorial taste….. indeed he apologised for wearing one outrageous jacket! Also, his legendary footballing skills were deployed deftly to retrieve a fallen mic. And, to no one’s surprise, there was mention of Celtic’s triumphant season!

There was time for a challenge to the crowd regarding the memory of Muddy Waters and a rasping version of 'Rollin' and Tumblin'

The rapport with the crowd was sustained and added greatly to a vibrant evening. Unsurprising than that as the finishing line came into sight the favourite had won, night fell and fireworks lit the darken sky. An immensely satisfying concert enthusiastically received by the throng.

Review By Yvonne Heywood Hambleton
Photos By Val Holmes
Montage By Tommy Kevitt

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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