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July 23, 2015

The next Night on the Town with Marcy

A Rod Fan opens for Rod - US Cellular Coliseum Bloomington IL Review July 22nd 2015

posted by Mike Walton

It turns out that Johnny Gates, lead singer of Runaway Saints, the opening act for five of Rod's July shows, is a huge fan of Rod himself. I had an opportunity to talk with him prior to the Bloomington, IL show and found that Johnny's mother isn't the only one in his family that is a Rod fan. He said Rod was always on the radio when he was growing up and their band used to cover "Maggie May". In fact he's also a Faces fan and loves to hear Rod sing "Ooh La La". When he received the phone call about opening for Rod, he "very calmly flipped out". He also said its been an "unforgettable experience" to hear the support of Rod's audience when they come out on stage. He admits they snuck out in the crowd in Toledo to watch the show and had the chance to meet fellow Rod fans, share stories and hear some favorite memories from past Rod concerts. I got the impression Johnny might be looking forward to these remaining shows as much if not more than I am!

This was the first of three Midwestern shows and the folks in these parts love Rod. It appeared to be a sell-out crowd of 8,000 or so at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, IL which is about 100 miles south of Chicago. Rod asked the crowd if they had been drinking and said he loves the sing-a-longs that he thinks started back with the Faces. He really appreciated the response and said "you should be up here and hear what it sounds like."

As a part of Rod's support for wounded warriors (which is outstanding) during "Rhythm of my Heart" he said "Donald Trump is right, we should take better care of our veterans". He didn't endorse The Donald's presidential bid but did give him a shout out. I believe they are friends and have homes next to each other in West Palm Beach. I don't think the media will pick up on this comment though as they are still wasting time talking about Rod's time in Canada having his picture taken in a coat made of Seal and lunching with a long-legged blond beauty who turned out to be a member of his management team.

During the acoustic set, Julie did a wonderful job opening "First Cut" on the harp. I was watching her up on the screen and she's very serious about her work. And it wasn't long before her newlywed husband, Don was highlighted also.

Rod dedicated "You're in my Heart" to "those two girls in the Celtic shirts" and it turned out he was pointing at Deb Anderson and her daughter Genny. I love when he does that---we all know that you don't really see Rod until he sees you.

During "You Wear It Well" I held up my obligatory "Lost in You Since '72" sign and the cameraman was nice enough to put me up on the screen. Rod probably regrets writing on my sign "Always hold it up" as I do at every show. Awhile back I was surprised to find an envelope in the mail with a photo that Penny took of me years ago holding my sign with a personal note from Rod saying "Look what I found!" I love that man!

I hope Rod knows, and I think he does, that his fans are so dedicated that they literally count their lose change, call off sick from work and buy plane tickets at the last moment to attend his shows. They also would wait in line for hours at the prospect of getting their picture taken with him. And his smile and a mere "Enjoy the show ladies" is enough to mark that bill paid in full. Thank you Rod! Stay tuned for nights on the town in Iowa and South Dakota.

Review by Marcy Braunstein
Photos by Marcy Braunstein
Montage by Tommy Kevitt

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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