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October 6, 2014

My Review of the Vegas Shows aka “Message to Rod”

Extra Nights On The Town with Marcy

posted by Mike Walton

We made a last minute trip to see Rod in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Sept 30 and Thursday, Oct 2 because I felt the need to squeeze one more Rod trip in for 2014 before I would be laid up for 6-10 weeks after foot surgery. And I sure am glad we did---Both nights were Great Shows—the main difference between the two was the audience.

I will say up front I was very annoyed when a photographer tried to trademark the photo of the back of Rod's head which had been used to promote Rod's residency in Vegas. BUT the good news is that probably because of that, the ad campaign is now using the front facial shot from the cover of his autobiography. So now Rod's face is seen everywhere across Las Vegas.

Tuesday night’s show opened with “Love Train” and Wednesday with “This Old Heart of Mine” which are my two all-time favorite openers. The tempo of both of these songs matches the excitement of Rod Stewart gracing the stage—the only other opener that might come close would be “Cigarettes and Alcohol”. Rod kicked soccer balls during “Stay with Me” on the first night and reverted back to “Hot Legs” on the second night. After “Rhythm of my Heart” and the touching video he shows of servicemen returning home to their families, he added a video message about donating to “” which was a very nice touch. Otherwise the set list was pretty much the same including “Ooh La La” and “It’s a Heartache".

The Oct 2nd show was especially meaningful because the month of October marks the 50th anniversary of Rod making Great Music. We sent a gift back stage to Rod marking this achievement. I wonder if back when Rod released a little song called “Good Morning Little School Girl” on the DECCA Label in October 1964, at age 19, if he could have even envisioned that 50 years down the road, thousands upon thousands of people would still be making trips--literally across the world-and paying large sums of money--to see and hear him sing “The Hits” for 90 minutes---Let alone that he just finished sold out tours across the US and Europe and will be in Australia the beginning of next year. Could he have ever imagined that his daughter—Ruby—who inherited his vocal cords—and whose voice would be beautiful and melodious and raspy too and that she would sing a song she wrote herself along with accompanying him at these shows. WOW—October 2014 is a momentous occasion for Rod and for his fans.

Having said all that, l now want to address the main difference between the two shows, which of course was the folks who came to see the show---the audience. I wish I could somehow send this part of my review as a Message to Rod because I think he needs to hear this. Rod appeared to be a little put off on Tuesday night because the crowd was not standing up—at all! It was horrible! I believe Dave and I might have been the only ones standing during many of the songs. And we were under a lot of pressure from the folks behind us and security who kept telling us to sit down. Dave bended to the pressure because he is so tall and felt bad but I continued to stand as much as I could. Dave paid them back though when they all decided to stand up to catch the soccer balls—Dave turned around and told them to sit the F&#K down! It was priceless. By the way, Rod was very nice to sign a copy of the photo we had taken with him in Youngstown. We were really about that--thank you Rod!

Rod made several references to the fact that the audience was sitting—he said that this was a perfect venue in which to see an artist—that every seat in the house is a good one—and then he said—“and you are all sitting in yours”. He also said that his wife told him that the reason folks sit at these shows is because the seats are so comfortable. And Penny is right—the seats are cushioned and they even have a cup holder—they are similar to seats you would find in a theatre or opera house. He made another comment when it was time for the sit-down on stage---he said to go ahead and sit down for these songs and then he said—“oh that’s right, you’ve been sitting all evening”. He is quite amusing when he sends a message like that to the audience. I remember a time years ago when he came out after a wardrobe change talking into the microphone but had his back to the crowd and acted like he was talking to someone else and then turned around with a surprised look on his face and said to the audience “oh, are you still here?”

Part of the issue here is indeed the comfortable seats and the fact that you can see the artist so well from your seats no matter where you are sitting. But the lion’s share of the issue is WHO is sitting in those seats. The Las Vegas show crowd-for any artist--is very different than any other crowd they will encounter. Here’s why:

There is such a variety of folks there. There are those fans that make the trip to Vegas just to see Rod—they buy the tickets during the fan club pre-sale and/or buy them from the brokers who want to be right up front. They are at a lot of the shows but not every show—and on Tuesday night—for some reason, it appeared to be just me and Dave plus two other girls sitting on the other side that fit that category. You have lots of people who book a trip to Vegas and then look to see who was playing there—saw Rod Stewart would be there—and bought the tickets well ahead of time. You have the convention folks who are there on business and are more of the same. You also have a lot of folks there who know Rod Stewart from just the American Songbook era. And then you have the high rollers and casino guests who get the tickets for free.

Even though these folks on Tuesday night were not standing—they truly appeared to be enjoying the show—they were singing along—they were clapping—they just weren’t standing up like Rod is used to seeing. By the time he came out in the audience and did “Sweet Little Rock and Roller”, he had them in the palm of his hand—they were standing and Rod was a happy camper. I spoke to many people after the show—like I usually do—who said they absolutely had a great time and had many accolades for Rod.

Needless to say, the Thursday night crowd was more of a typical Rod crowd—standing from the get-go. But I need to say to Rod that both of your shows were really good shows. And the fact that one audience stood and one didn’t stand was not representative that one show was better than the other.

I would also want to say to Rod that we know you’re turning 70 in January but the bigger number is the 50 years of great music you have given us. Happy 70th Birthday, Happy 50th Anniversary and God Bless! We will see you next time!

Review and photos by Marcy Braunstein

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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