Friday, May 3rd, 5.30 pm..... Mercedes Benz Arena, Berlin. Two hours to the start of the first Rod Stewart show of 2019. A few fans – wearing the Green and White Celtic Shirts – were already prowling around the place in front of the Arena. A long queue in front of the box office – People buying the last and getting their deposited tickets. The local promoter then announced: SOLD OUT.
30 minutes later the doors opened. People walked in, had a few drinks at the different bars, spent money on the merchandise stand and then took their seats.
It was 7.32 pm when the sound of bagpipes rang out and announced the beginning of the show. After half a minute they turned off and the spotlight straightened up on Rod who was already standing on stage - in front of the microphone and starting the show with SOME GUYS HAVE ALL THE LUCK, which was followed by the energetic YOUNG TURKS and the only song of the new album, THE LOOK IN HER EYES.
Rod welcomed the crowd: "Good evening my friends, thank you for coming out tonight and enjoy, enjoy and enjoy."
The audience got into raptures when Rod continued with TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT, FOREVER YOUNG and RHYTHM OF MY HEART.
The new split screen was very impressive even if little technical problems couldn't be avoided. Rod – who was in a very good mood – commented on that: "My friends in Berlin. This is the first evening of our five months long tour. So not everything is working well tonight."
TONIGHT I'M YOURS included another rousing drum solo by David Palmer and Matt O'Connor. Rod – in a change of dress – then announced a wonderful version of THE KILLING OF GEORGIE, which was followed by MAGGIE MAY ("my wife was only four when this was a hit") and dedicated SWEET ROCK'N'ROLLER to the fist ever member of the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, Chuck Berry.
Emerson Swinford on guitar and Jimmy Roberts on the saxophone presented a wonderful version of the Mark Knopfler song GOING HOME, then Rod and the rest of the band returned for the acoustic set, that included REASON TO BELIEVE, I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT (very good singing by the crowd), THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST, EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART and YOU'RE IN MY HEART (accompanied by the winning Celtic goal against Rangers on the screen).
Another band only song hit the audience: The backing girls took the stage and performed a very inspiring version of GO YOUR OWN WAY (Fleetwood Mac).
Rod returns in new trousers: "This one is from Zara. I love Zara. Do you love Zara?", he asked and started TWISTING THE NIGHT AWAY. But obviously this new outfit wasn't too good for kicking balls. During STAY WITH ME the man kicked out a few signed footballs, but in my eyes less than usual. Maybe he should practice a bit more with his sons on the pitch at home.
During DA YA THINK I'M SEXY a lot of colourful balloons fell down the ceiling and initiated the end of the show. SAILING and BABY JANE (as encore) - two of the most successful songs in Germany – were the ultimate highlight for the Berlin crowd. The show ended after 120 very entertaining minutes. Many of us were disappointed, that Rod had left out GRACE, the favourite song of many of the new album. But hey, there will be other shows.
So it wasn't a surprise that nearly everyone went home happily. Many familiar fans met at the nearby Holiday Inn hotel bar for a few drinks. Other people joined and we all had a brilliant night, which was over by 3 am in the morning!.
After a short night many of the longtime fans made their way to Hamburg, which is a three hours drive from Berlin, following the A24 motorway.
Some of them met friends, others spent some time in the city or in one of the famous pubs on the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli.
Sunday afternoon they all got together again in front of the BARCLAYCARD ARENA to get the next portion of Rod Stewart's live music.
The show in Hamburg was comparable to the Berlin one. There were only a few changes on the setlist: It started with INFATUATION. THE LOOK IN HER EYES was replaced by ROLLIN' & TUMBLIN'. During the acoustic set Rod performed PEOPLE GET READY instead of EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART and HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY instead of YOU'RE IN MY HEART.
The German press assessed the two shows in Hamburg and Berlin as very successful. 10.000 people in the Hamburg Arena as well as another 10.000 in the Mercedes Benz Arena on Friday. Rod sent his fans home overjoyed, reported NDR ONLINE.
Rod Stewart brought a breath from Las Vegas to Berlin, titled the newspaper MORGENPOST BERLIN. It was a good mood show with many highlights in 120 minutes.
Rod Stewart returns to Germany on this following Thursday – Mannheim, SAP Arena is ready to roll and tumble.
Zurich/Switzerland – May 7th
Mannheim/Germany – May 9th
Amsterdam/Netherlands – May 12th
Herning/Denmark – May 14th
Stockholm/Sweden – May 16th
Cologne/Germany – May 18th
Review By Martin Heidt
Main Photos of Rod By Ruth Hannuschka
Additional photos By Martin Heidt
Montage By Tommy Kevitt