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FEATURE:

April 2, 2018

Rod Stewart demonstrates feel-good benefits of concert-going

Review Canadian Tire Centre 30/3/2018 By Lynn Saxberg

posted by Mike Walton



A recent study suggests that experiencing live music is good for you and may even prolong your life.


If you saw Rod Stewart perform at Canadian Tire Centre on Good Friday, you can probably count on a few more years on Planet Earth.

In a big, splashy, singalong show that also carved out time for hand-holding, the rock legend hit all the buttons identified in the study by O2, the U.K. entertainment company, and Goldsmith University associate lecturer Patrick Fagan.

For starters, the researchers found that attending live music fostered a 25 per cent increase in feeling close to others, simply by sitting shoulder to shoulder and sharing a collective experience with like-minded people who have all bought tickets and sat in traffic to get to the gig.

On Friday, our efforts were directed at a 73-year-old, but apparently ageless Londoner with spiky hair and a trademark rasp in his voice, one of the best-selling artists of all time.

Clad in a series of shiny, Vegas-worthy suits, Sir Rod was chatty and relaxed, his stage presence buttressed by a fantastic band that included two drummers, an incredible sax player, three female backing singers, three female multi-instrumentalists, two guitarists, a keyboardist and a bass player. Gender balanced, yes, although we couldn’t help but notice the female half of the team expended far more energy than the males because they had to sing, dance and/or play multiple instruments while wearing short skirts and heels.

Secondly, the study indicated that going to concerts leads to a 25 per cent spike in feelings of self-worth. On Friday, this occurred every time Stewart spoke to the crowd, which he did a lot, and every time we realized we knew the lyrics and no one would judge us if we raised our voices to sing, which also happened a lot in an outpouring that allowed many youthful indiscretions to be unabashedly relived.

The set list constituted a career-spanning soundtrack that showcased the ’80s hits in the first half, including Infatuation, Young Turks, Some Guys Have All The Luck, Baby Jane and Forever Young. Stewart’s voice sounded a little weak at first, but soon warmed to a full-throated purr, certainly by the time he got to the slow-dance grinder, Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright) and its cringe-inducing lyrics about the loss of innocence, which now seem more creepy than romantic.

Instead of slowing things down with an intermission, the singer reconfigured the band for a terrific acoustic segment, diving in for unadorned versions of Cat Stevens’ The First Cut is the Deepest, People Get Ready, which he dedicated to the young people in the March for Our Lives movement, You’re In My Heart and a Van Morrison song he described as the most romantic in rock ‘n’ roll: Have I Told You Lately.

Highlights of the home stretch included the backup singers’ knockout Proud Mary, the old Faces tune Stay with Me, punctuated by Stewart kicking soccer balls into the crowd, and a rousing take on the mandolin-driven nugget Maggie May.

The study’s third stated benefit of concert-going was a 75-per-cent boost in mental stimulation. Stewart’s show was full of stimulation of all sorts, with a lifetime of video images rolling through a multi-screen backdrop, a net of balloons dropping on the crowd in the exhilarating set-closer Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and plenty of jaw-dropping musical talent within the band.

It was Stewart’s first appearance in Ottawa in more than a decade: enough time for him to release two albums and father another child, he told us. The veteran entertainer was lively and energetic, showing no sign that he was ready for the pasture calling some of his contemporaries, including Elton John and Paul Simon. Without the baggage of a farewell show that everyone feels they have to attend, there was a sense that we were simply catching up with an old friend who’s still in great shape despite years of partying.

Going to concerts every two weeks or so can add years to your life, the study concluded. After seeing Stewart’s show, I’d also describe it as an antidote to feeling old and maybe even a fountain of youth.

Bring on the next one.

Review By Lynn Saxberg
Photo Rod Stewart Instagram
Thanks to Lynn Saxberg and Michelle Walters at Ottawa Citizen
First published at Ottawa Citizen
http://ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/local-arts/review-rod-stewart-demonstrates-feel-good-benefits-of-concert-going


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