It’s 1973,I’m 14 and I skive off school to queue up at the Bristol Hippodrome to get my tickets to see The Faces on their Ooh la la tour, my mum sews ‘ROD’ in sequins on my t- shirt and I’m so excited I can’t eat my tea! That’s when it all began, my love of Rod and his music!
It’s been encouraged by all who love and know me all through my life! Over the years, I have seen Rod all over the UK, up to Norwich (Missed the first half as my daughter was in the St Johns tent with food poisoning!), the last time he came to Ashton Gate and down as far as Plymouth AFC, over to Cardiff, up to London and Birmingham with odd stops along the way like Shrewsbury FC where it poured down all night and Rod showed his cheeky side and smacked the man trying to keep the stage dry on the bum!
I have had Tributes (Mr Garry Pease) appear at my birthday parties and more recently for my upcoming 60th Birthday I walked into a room of friends and family all wearing Rod masks (including my grandkids who call him Uncle Rod!) That was weird! When ever Rod is on the box or in the papers my lovely friends and family text me, phone me and tell me all about it because to them ….I’m the other Mrs Rod Stewart!!
Now fast forward 46 years...The Ashton Gate stadium now expanded and grander than last time Rod was in my hometown. Sir Rod was welcomed by a Bristol crowd bathed in bright sunshine, we were well ready for him having enjoyed the foot tapping Scottish pipers and the well received support band Johnny Mack & The Faithful who got the crowd warmed up with their rendition of Oh la la.
Enter Rod… In leopard print jacket with the now familiar dotty red neckerchief ….Bang!....straight into Infatuation, you could feel the love in the crowd as a beaming Rod told us how pleased he was to be here doing the first gig of his UK tour, Rod was on form, the showman, the storyteller, the clown!! I was up from the first note, ”In the Rod zone”, my daughter and two lifelong friends grinning at me as I sang every song, word perfect, at the top of my voice, as did so many other die hard Rod fans in the stadium, hanging on his every word and a few swear words! (well the one in particular that often pops up in Sir Rods conversations!) He promised us 23 songs and a two hour show and told us to forget Brexit, forget the European market, forget Trump, let’s enjoy ourselves!!
We sang and pointed and waved wildly at him whilst he took us through all the classics...'Maggie', 'You Wear It Well', 'Tonight's The Night', 'Some Guys', and a beautiful rendition of 'Georgie', which had the crowd doing the ‘do da doo’s’ like a massive backing group! Talking about backing groups, the girls were fantastic on their UK debut supporting Rod and filling in with their own renditions when Rod popped off for quick costume changes… NOT a rest! (as the press had hinted at during previous European gigs and Rod told us he didn’t like it!)The band, as always, were fantastic.Slick and totally in tune with the fast changing setlist and the bloke at the front! As well as showing us their musical prowess when the main man was off stage, very impressive. Rod has surrounded himself with some amazing musicians.
The stage was clever….side screens and an arch of screens over the stage ensured everyone got to see what was going on and all the videos and clips that complimented Rods vast repertoire were shown on a massive screen at the back of the stage, the sound was loud and of a high quality.
The highlight of the show for me was 'Grace', the tragic Irish Ballad that obviously touches Rod, although I felt it was only me and him singing...quite a good thing for me! Rod conducted some massive sing-a-longs with his faithful fans during the stripped back set including, ‘Have I Told You lately’, ‘First Cut’ and ‘You’re In My Heart’ with every one to a man gesturing to the stage and belting it out every time Rod encouraged them, he really enjoyed that! The sea of lights from the audiences phones was a sight to behold!
But the most poignant part of the night was Rod, on a pitch black stage in the spotlight singing ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’, mesmerizing. For me, that sums Rod up, a man that sings from his heart and soul…that’s why we love him.Only a couple of “ tweaks” would have bettered it for me…..I was taken aback with the football ‘kicking out’ machine, although Rod did kick a couple and chucked a couple out! Maybe he needs to take his boys to every gig so they can do the honours! I think ‘Look In Her Eyes’ from 'Blood Red Roses' would have been a better choice for the new stuff than ‘Hole in My Heart’ and I thought ‘Rollin & Tumblin’ was a weird one to finish on… great for us old timers but I felt the hordes needed one last heartfelt rouser of a song to send them on their way …then he was gone!
The fireworks that then shot into the Bristol sky were amazing, but me...I would rather of had an encore... maybe I’m just greedy? The venue was very good, the show was fantastic and I can’t wait to share an evening with my old mate Rod and thousands of the Rod family again very soon...
See you in Wolverhampton Sir Rod!
Review By Angela Rodda
Photos By Angela Rodda
Montage By Tommy Kevitt