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July 22, 2017

As The night's on the town continue..

Rod sings on "hallowed ground" Bethel Woods center for the arts 21/7/17 Review By Marcy Braunstein

posted by Mike Walton

As relayed by Rod in his autobiography, in the summer of 1969, when he was with the Jeff Beck Group, they had just played the Filmore East and the Newport Jazz Festival and were scheduled to play as Rod described it "some outdoor event in upstate New York". But a false rumor that Beck's "missus was having an affair with the gardener" caused Jeff to cancel the rest of the tour and return home to London. That event turned out to be the legendary Woodstock Festival which was held on the grounds of the current location of the Bethel Woods Arts Center where Cyndi Lauper and Rod appeared on Friday, July 21st.

It poured down rain, as it did during the Woodstock weekend in August of '69, shortly after Lauper took to the stage. It rained so hard that she needed to go off to the side of the stage telling the audience a few stories so the roadies could dry off the stage even though both the stage and reserved seating were under cover. Those on the lawn got drenched and Lauper asked them a couple of times if they were okay. The mist from the rain sure felt good even in our front row seats and fortunately did cool things a bit--my prayers were answered. But it didn't cool down Cyndi's performance. She gave it her all doing everything from sitting on the speakers to rolling around on the stage floor. Her vocals were the strongest I've heard them.

Shortly after Rod took the stage he noticed a young girl coming in late to the front row and he stopped singing to tap his watch like he does to indicate someone is late. He pointed out that she had popcorn and a pretzel and drink and said she must have been really hungry to miss his first three songs. He asked if she would like him to sing them again for her. A woman standing next to her who might have been her mother started to explain to Rod that she got held up in line to the restroom. Rod took his earphone out and conversed with the woman as though no one else was there. He ended up jokingly saying he would speak to management about it.

During "You Wear it Well" when I normally hold up my "Lost in you since '72" sign, Dave decided to grab the sign and imitate me holding it up and jumping around. Rod thought it was pretty funny and obliged by blowing him a kiss like he does to me. We got a pretty good laugh out of it and later Rod handed us a ball which never ever gets old.

We visited the Woodstock Museum before the concert and I found among other things that Tim Hardin who wrote "Reason to Believe" actually sang it at Woodstock. I thought Rod might have mentioned it when he sang it during the sit-down but he didn't. Another piece of trivia is the band "Ten Years After" played "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" at Woodstock.

Some of the band members were also taken by the history of this site and felt like they were standing on "hallowed ground". Emerson, Conrad, Jimmy and Dave posed for a photo at the monument that sits right at the site of the Woodstock stage.

Before "You're in my Heart" Rod again said "Music is good for your lungs. Music is good for your heart. Music is good for your soul." Then finished with "Music is good for your ingrown toenails" to which the entire band cracked up. We might have had the only Celtic flag in the audience and I didn't see any Celtic shirts. Come to think of it, I didn't see any familiar faces either.

The set list was just about the same as previous shows with few exceptions so was his wardrobe. He came out for the acoustic set in a light gray/maybe silver suit with same colored shoes and dark grey socks. After he sang "Can't Stop Me Now" and the video of Prince William knighting him played, Rod explained that it's actually not the Royal Family that extends the Knighthood but rather the British people who write in to the Palace to make the recommendation. He said "so if there's anyone British here tonight I want to thank you".

Jimmy Roberts did a superb job during his solo during "Downtown Train". The audience went crazy with applause when he was almost done. Rod's band is so talented and Rod spares no time in highlighting each and every one of them. He recognized Julie Thornton on the harp after "First Cut" and mentioned she was married to Don and then said "lucky man!". Julie has great stage presence and has a really good time at every show.

Of the three shows I've been to thus far this tour, it would be difficult to say which was the best or I enjoyed the most. They have all been high energy and full of comic relief in the midst of the heat. Rod's voice has been consistently strong and he's been in a really good mood. The band has been awesome and when the final curtain has dropped, the audience-present company included---has been begging for more.

Review By Marcy Braunstein
Photos By Marcy Braunstein
Montage By Tommy Kevitt

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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