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May 2, 2019


Rod Stewart Live: Cliffs Pavilion, Southend - 30 April 2019 Review By John Gray

posted by Mike Walton

Rod with The Faces in the cosy confines of the 2,400 seater Sutton Granada was always going to be the smallest Rod Stewart gig I would ever go to. Since that first outing in 1973 I've attended around 200 arena and stadium gigs. I had given up any hope of Rod ever getting back to basics and treading the bare boards again in a small venue. Yet here I am, 45 years, four months and ten days later, waiting for our man in the 1,600 seater Cliffs Pavilion, Southend in disbelief. I pinch myself, itís real.

Everything happened so quickly. The announcement came on Bank Holiday Monday, tickets were on sale two days later and Iíve no need to remind you of the nightmare and panic that followed! Even when I secured my ticket I could still hardly believe what was happening. This was the gig of a lifetime. A complete one-off, never to be repeated un-missable dream. And for that reason I resisted the temptation of a drink in the bar, opting instead for a bottle of still waterÖ the first Rod gig Iíve not touched alcohol at since I was a 14 year old at the Lewisham Odeon and didnít stand a chance of getting served. I wanted to remember this one without any hindrances!

At exactly 7:30pm the lights dimmed and Rod strolled onto the stage un-announced. In his own casual way he told us what was going on and why he was there, before being joined by the band. ďThis is the smallest venue Iíve played for about 60 years,Ē he quipped. Not quite sixty years of course, but not far off! And we were off with Some Guys Have All The Luck bringing the audience straight to their feet. The up-tempo theme continued on Young Turks and Look In Her Eyes before the audience vocal chords were tested to great effect on Tonightís The Night.

Another trio of crowd pleasers followed, with regulars Forever Young and Rhythm Of My Heart and the not so regular but most welcome Tonight Iím Yours. Rodís voice was on fine form as he strutted the stage from side to side. He looked incredible, exactly like the Rod Stewart we have always loved with the hair as wild as ever and a trio of flashy shirts - ďonly £25,Ē he told us! It was hard to believe that we were watching a 74 year old Rod. Back in the day, who would have thought?

And then came the first real surprise of the evening. The Killing Of Georgie is one of Rodís finest songs and deserves a regular and permanent place in the set. Iím pleased itís back. Brilliant. And what better way to follow that masterpiece than with Maggie May back-to-back with Baby Jane. Did anyone else notice that snippet of Henry that preceded Maggie?

Review By John Gray
Photos By Yve Paige
Montage By Tommy Kevitt

To read the full review by SMILER founder John Gray go to SMILER Retro now.

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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