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March 27, 2017

New HAT Tricks……The Adventures Continue

Rod Stewart Caesars Palace, Las Vegas St Patrick’s Day weekend March 17 – 18, 2017 By Vicky Marrow aka The MAD HATTER

posted by Mike Walton

This adventure began during the second adventure in August 2016. Yes that is the story I never finished, but will after this one, thank you to those who have encouraged me to finish it. I believe the writer’s block has been overcome. As you have probably noticed by now, I take a different approach to writing these stories. For the most part, I will leave the critique of how Rod sounded, looked, and the set list to other to write about, I try to capture the essence of the shows and the trip from a different perspective. I hope you like this one; I am going to start with random observations…

It is always great to see Gilles! It is SO much fun to see the stir he creates by just minding his own business, Saturday night was no exception. A gaggle of middle aged women wearing T-shirts that said Never Underestimate an OLD LADY who listens to Rod Stewart, came strolling by and then huddled and started whispering and pointing…… They then realized (I think) that it wasn’t Rod, but screamed anyway and ran up and surrounded him for a few photos; the security staff standing nearby was cracking up. I am still laughing as I write this; it was priceless to see.

Both nights I was relatively calm and subdued (er, for me) until the moment came and the familiar music (the theme from the Magnificent Seven) began. The aches, pain, and, jetlag were a distant memory, as I jumped up ready for a night of music, fun, and friends.

Each evening Rod told us how very, very appreciative he is of being Knighted. It was easy to hear the touching sincerity in his voice.

We learned that Rod, like most of us, does not like to be interrupted while telling a story, this occurred both nights to which, with varying degrees of aggravation, he silenced the RUDE voices in the night.

Rod shared his opinion on US politics; we are on the same page on this topic.

On Friday Rod noted that it was the 130th show, and that meant 260 flights and (I believe he said) a million glasses of white wine.

There were a few band miscues regarding where they should be standing during different songs to which at one time Rod looked around and quipped “where is my band?”

It was quite warm in the colosseum on Friday and an electric fan was put out, it was blowing right in Rod’s face, he turned it slightly and then it blew Don’ hair all about……… Rod chuckled and said you look like Donald. Later on the fan met its fate by tumbling down the stage steps.

There was a bump in the center front portion of the stage on Friday, Rod commented about it and said it would be fixed for tomorrow night. He was cautious about it throughout the night, I could see how it could trip someone, especially the ladies who I have no clue how they perform in those heels. I could not even negotiate a parking lot on Sunday in sneakers without tripping and falling.

On Saturday, during the acoustical set, Rod commented despondently “We’ve got feedback tonight, feedback.

Rod was in near perfect voice on Friday, and successfully stretched it to the max on a number of notes throughout the show. On Saturday, he apologized that he missed a few notes, the fellow that I was standing next to at the time shouted back, Rod don’t apologize, you sound great and I am just thrilled to be here!!!

To the delight of many and both nights, Rod and the band did a walk about through the audience.

I was excited to that Young Turks was performed both nights, that song always makes me smile and wiggle, even when I am driving my car, and typing this sentence!!! I did miss performances of Can’t Stop Me Now, Angel, Georgie, Sailing (which was a lovely gesture in support of London after the attack……)

Another treat during this short trip were the 2 special phone calls I received one from England and one from Belize!

A new leopard print jacket premiered on Saturday night and it is one of the nicest prints I have ever seen. The blending of the colors of the spots, the design of the spots, and the style with the black lapels made for a very handsome jacket. Someone straight away threw a leopard scarf that matched perfectly! That jacket took 20 years off Rod too. Rod said he paid $300 for the jacket that day. Personal note to Rod: If you need room in your closet for your new jacket, I will gladly donate $300 to your favorite charity for the “old” paisley jacket from a few years back; I am still in love with that jacket.

Both nights Rod sat on the stage step flanked by Conrad, Don, and Emerson while performing Downtown Train. Each night, the song had its own backstory to the performance.

During (The) Downtown Train (Wreck) on Friday, Rod invited a woman to join him on stage. She stayed a bit and then I believe she went back to her seat, but I cannot remember. What I do remember is another woman crossing the velvet rope and helping herself to a seat on the stage, as well as taking the mic from Rod, I guess because she thought she could sing, and then a few other women started up the steps to the stage… Rod did an impressive backflip, quickly got up and said something to the effect that one was fine, 2 was ok but more ladies that is too much. I also think the band stopped playing. He then had Jimmy start his solo a bit earlier than planned and walked off the stage. I saw the well placed concern and aggravation on Rod’s face and I think he made a very good decision.

During Downtown Train on Saturday, Rod wandered into the audience. He came back, finished the song, and sounded disappointed when he told us that he thought his daughter was in the audience, flown over from England. As he brought her up on stage, sure enough, the lady could be Renee’s double. They were going into the acoustical set and the lady was still on the stage wandering about… Rod told her to continue to wander, or go back stage for a drink….. Conrad grinned said “she can hang with me”. The pretty woman sat on the step just to the side of David’s drums during the first song “First Cut is the Deepest” and then Rod led her off stage. I did see during the delivery of the footballs, that Rod looked for her, found her, and tossed the last one to her; that made me smile.

On Saturday, in a superb tribute to Chuck Berry (who had died earlier that day), Rod performed Sweet Little Rock and Roller accompanied by a stellar performance by Don, Emerson, and Conrad. Also Rod gave a shout out to Kevin and Tanya Froggatt) friends of his elder brother (Don). They were there celebrating Tanya’s 50th birthday. Rod looked all over for her in the audience.

HATS continue to be a learning experience for me; I have never been able to follow patterns well or do much outside of simple stitches, but my trials and errors, have provided warm heads for the less fortunate, some seed money for the #Rodstewartticketfund, covers for cremation urns, and a few laughs for Rod, the band, and the audience. I have to say the gold suit and the Leprechaun HAT for St. Patrick’s Day was perfect, even if I had some trouble making that HAT. Thank you Rod for putting it on and for continuing to tolerate the madcap (no pun intended) adventures of your MAD HATTER. The keyboard HAT was another trial into new territory for me, and I was pleased with how it turned out, and that it got to Chuck during the show and that he put it on. Chuck was very appreciative and was actually using it as a grocery bag after the show…. Huummm that give me another idea…. I made the Celtic one at the very last minute, as I began to feel it would be rude of me to send a HAT on stage to Chuck and not Rod. And I was amazed at how much room I had in my luggage on the way home!

Jimmy’s solos are wonderful, he works his way up to hitting the highest of high notes to which Rod quipped one night, “Sax is like sex sometimes it takes a while to get there”

After decades of being entertained by Jimmy, I finally got to meet him. Instead of me getting to thank him for sharing his talent with us, he thanked us for hanging with them and making the shows fun! He also reminded me that he too has worn a HAT!

Hooray for the David and Matt drum solos, while I see some get up to go to the loo or to get a beverage, I never tire of this part of the show. Julia continues to captivate me with the harp and her high energy when on the drums and tambourine. She is a party unto herself up there on stage.

The balloons are always entertaining, both audience and band. I got nailed right in the face by one of the enormous ones, just glad it wasn’t a football.

The arrangement for Have I Told You Lately has been changed up to be only Rod and the boys. I like it; it gives a nice intimate feel to the song. While concerned about his voice and crossing his fingers on Saturday night, Rod hit every single note without a struggle and with the pitch he intended.

Footballs continue to be a crowd pleaser. I always enjoy watching Rod kick them out and follow where they go; some are direct catches, some “body surf” over the sea of hands, and the most impressive are the kicks straight away into the 3rd mezzanine. I got to see that happen again on this trip.

Ok I am going to say it out loud (others have mumbles it too); I am not fond of “Enjoy Yourself” as the closing number. The connotation kinda disturbs me, and the curtain coming down while everyone is still performing feels abrupt. I certainly don’t wish the set list to be shortened, but for me an ending where everyone waves and says goodnight “lessens the blow that the show is over and we are released back to our reality”. Having said that, I did hear many comments after the shows raving about, Rod’s voice, he certainly doesn’t look or move like he is 72, the chemistry amongst the band, and how “nice” that Rod showcases the talents of the individual band members. So maybe this song just strikes an uncomfortable chord with the Mad Hatter.

Another Mad Hatter adventure has come to a close, but not before learning some new knitting stitches, making fun memories, building deeper friendships, and recharging the “emotional” batteries. To my husband Steve, I missed you on this trip. To everyone, until next time, Enjoy Yourself, it’s later than you think.

Postscript: I attended a funeral for the husband of a coworker just after I drafted this story. He died suddenly at age 63. The London attack also occurred as I was drafting this story. Both of our elder cats (yes they are family to us) were diagnosed with kidney disease today. All this has given me pause. Perhaps Rod has got it all correct with the ending song and I am in extreme denial…. Food for thought at the very least.

Review By Vicky Marrow
Photos By Vicky Marrow and Karen Chande
Montage By Tommy Kevitt

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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