He strutted. He swaggered. He wiggled his hips. He bantered with his audience. He changed wardrobe, removed his jacket, donned a hat and even took his shoes off to get comfortable as he started this tour in style!
Rod Stewart chose Toronto’s Air Canada Centre to launch a long overdue extensive 10-city Canadian tour!
Charming, charismatic, and self-deprecating - some things never change, especially Rod's sense of humour! Best of all, his ability to effortlessly give his checkered mic stand a life of its own! The atmosphere truly is one superb, yet humbling and loving, celebration of The Man, The Music, and The Fans.
Sir Rod is known for his razor-sharp punctuality on hitting the stage, but Thursday evening was unique. He was warmed up, his band was tuned and ready, but the huge 19,800 capacity venue was sparsely populated come showtime. The culprit was massive construction and subway delays, forcing thousands of concert-goers to detour on foot. A wise and most appropriate decision was made to delay the show’s start time by 15 minutes but, as the saying goes, “Good things do come to those who wait!”
The melodic strains of bagpipes filled the air, with two dozen members of the Paris Port Dover Pipe Band marching in at Floor Level, heralding that special ‘Showtime!’ moment. The familiar black and white checkerboard curtain lifted, lighting the now-filled audience, and Rod’s ageless magic kicked off with Young Turks!
Dressed in a leopard jacket with black lapels, black stovepipe pants, a white shirt, a leopard necktie, & leopard footwear, Sir Rod embarked on a timeless journey through the decades of our lives!
‘Having A Party’ had everyone on their feet, and for almost 2 hours, time stands still. Rod has the keen ability to effortlessly intertwine his songs with chapters of our lives, with every track reflecting special memories and milestones. Some can be emotional and others spine-tingling. Some can bring a tear of joy, others are life-changers. Sir Rod gives his all to his fans with each and every performance!
The hits continued: Some Guys Have All The Luck, You Wear It Well, Tonight’s The Night, Love Is (which Rod introduced as a newer track), Rhythm Of My Heart, Muddy Waters’ Rollin’ & Tumblin’, a pure rocker just begging to be sung by Sir Rod. Forever Young, an anthem which every fan adopts as their own! Downtown Train, with Jimmy Roberts’ always superb and haunting sax solo in the spotlight, whilst Sir Rod exited for a quick wardrobe change!
He returned for an ‘Unplugged & Seated’ session, sporting a blue jacket with a yellow lapel flower, blue pants, yellow socks, and aqua-blue glittery sneakers that he obviously didn't like! Soon, Rod decided it was a great idea to remove his footwear and toss his shoes off the front of the stage, one at a time; he finished the set in yellow socks! The reason why was perplexing - the footwear malfunction was never explained, but perhaps a fan in the front row went home with much-needed new shoes!
The momentum continued with First Cut Is The Deepest, followed by Reason to Believe. Then Rod threw in a true gem - People Get Ready. Instant throwback to 1985 - pure genius! Except the band wasn't ready, as Rod put it: “We f****d it up ! We gotta start it again”. You’re In my Heart and Have I Told You Lately rounded off the seated set!
Proud Mary was performed by Rod’s back-up trio of powerhouse singers, as he went for his next wardrobe change. His return to the stage in a silver jacket, black pants, and silver sneakers meant the soccer balls were coming out to the tune of Stay With Me! Rod kicked out his trademark autographed balls, with one landing two seats beside my daughter, and another exactly 2 rows behind her! It’s always pure entertainment watching Sir Rod kick balls to the far end of the venue or into the upper levels! There was a smattering of green Celtic jerseys in the first few rows, and Rod tossed at least one or two balls to special fans!
Rod’s sing along crowd-pleaser Maggie May followed, with everyone on their feet, followed by the release of hundreds of balloons during the Encore Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? The evening wrapped up with Enjoy Yourself, (It’s Later Than You Think) a vintage number originally recorded by Guy Lombardo & The Royal Canadians.
Sir Rod still has it all - the Voice, the Energy, the Vibrancy, and the Charisma which never disappoints, and tonight he exceeded all expectations! His love for his fans is clearly evidenced by pouring his heart and soul into tonight's performance. His fans reflected that love for his music back by singing along to every word, and reciprocating his energy and love. What a show!!
Soul Finger (The Barkays cover) Band Only
Having A Party
Some Guys Have All The Luck
You Wear It Well
Tonight’s The Night
Rhythm Of My Heart
Rollin’ & Tumblin’ (Muddy Waters Cover)
First Cut Is The Deepest
Reason To Believe
People Get Ready
You’re In My Heart
Have I Told You Lately
Proud Mary (Rod’s Girls)
Stay With Me
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? (Encore # 1)
Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think) (Encore #2)
Review by Shanlee Johnson
Photos by Sharilyn Johnson
Montage by Tommy Kevitt