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August 15, 2016

A (K)Night to Remember

Vegas August 6-7, 2016 By Vicky Marrow Aka THE MAD HATTER

posted by Mike Walton

This adventure began in March while we were still on the last Adventure. When tickets went on sale, Steve knew that the August shows would be hard for him to attend due to starting a huge project at work, but he said “You get ticket(s) for yourself and plan to go.” I was extremely fortunate that Jeffrie Thomas had an extra ticket for Aug 6 & 7 and offered to sell them to me. Before I could respond, Steve said “Buy them!” As I have said before, who am I to disobey my husband?

The months flew by and over July 4th weekend, a reunion jelled when Terrie Harbour told me she might try to see these 2 shows. She wound up getting a good seat for each night and we shared a room at Flamingo with a heck of a view and amazing price. I feel as tho Terrie has been a lifelong friend (we have only known each other for 3-4 years), but we have a lot in common outside of Rod and I treasure our friendship.

You know you have been to the Coliseum more than a handful of times when Richard at the box office says “Hi, good to see you again” and a security officer in the venue greats you with a hearty “Welcome Back!”

Rod appeared well rested and was in an extremely good mood both nights. (There was joking amongst us wondering if he got shagged before shows). There was lots of banter and crowd interaction and his energy level was through the roof. We got to see that smile (you know the one) a good number of times both nights. He posed twice for me, and I always get so flustered when he does that, that I never get the crisp clear shot. I think he enjoyed seeing my Sir Rod Stewart scarf that Angie Walkden sent to me as a gift. The Saturday crowd was fantastic and on their feet most of the night, Rod asked the crowd if any were coming back tomorrow, he said Sunday crowds are miserable; there was a massive cheer and he said “Oh. I was thinking of not coming….” While the Sunday crowd was a bit more subdued, Rod challenged them (ha, ha, not me, the word “subdued” has never been used to describe me) to break the tradition of dull Sunday crowds. I think the crowd did a good job, there was more sitting than Saturday, but the energy in the audience was higher than other Sunday Vegas shows I have attended.

Rod was in excellent voice both nights, hitting those notes that sometimes he won’t attempt. Both nights he dug deep into his soul and his passion for entertaining and singing was totally evident. It is the whole package with Rod: the hair, and the nose, and the clothes, the voice, his showmanship, he envelops you and you feel how much he enjoys his job and his sincere appreciation of his fan base.

While we know the set list by heart, the new mixing of some of the songs (including Sweet Little Rock and Roller and Sexy), the black and white checkerboard décor plus the stage presence of the band makes this a new show. The lighting seemed a bit softer too; I thought it was rather white and harsh in March. Another pleasant surprise is that Julia and her harp are brought forward during the acoustical set. She was directly in front of me and I very much enjoyed watching her play while listening to Rod sing in the background. I was mesmerized. Cassie Levy is the new backing singer, replacing Lucy Woodward (who on tour herself promoting her new awesome CD) for these shows. Cassie did a great job, you would have never known that these were only her second and third shows; she mixed right in with Di and Bridget.

No songs from Another Country, I was hoping for at least “Love Is”, but would be thrilled to hear, “The Drinking Song”, “Every Rock n Roll Song to Me” or “Batman Superman Spiderman” We did get a marvelous performance of Rollin’ and Tumblin’ on Sunday night. Rod owns this song and we are right there with him.

I again had my drum solo with David and Matt; I really need to attend to that bucket list item, drum lessons, I have so much fun playing along with them. I think a video of this many appear at some point.

Back to Julia – she is like the Energizer Bunny when she is not playing the harp, she’s having her own party and it is fun to watch and very contagious!

Rod told the audience he was knighted by Her Majesty and was greeted with a resounding cheer. He told us that the ceremony will be in October and he quickly described the knighting ceremony where the Queen will dub him about the head and shoulders with a sword. He made a funny quip something about the sharp sword and it could go bad fast.

Here is the story about my trip onto stage. I was sitting (yes sitting) in my seat enjoying the acoustical version of You’re in My Heart when Rod looked over at me and grinned and winked (that is how I remember it anyway). Right then, I picked up the black & white checked HAT I knitted (pinned to the HAT was a Smiler Badge to which I added Sir Rod), stood up, and told Jeffrie and her mom that I was “going in”. I walked to the front of the stage and tossed the HAT which landed perfectly at Rod’s feet (yeah I have had some practice). I didn’t see Rod pick up the HAT because I was making my way back to my seat; there was no need to get Security excited. It is always fun for me to take a few photos of him singing while holding on to the HAT. As soon as he finished singing, he stuck the HAT on Emerson’s head (later Julia was wearing it while playing the drums) and stood up and said “Who threw this HAT up here?” You could have heard a pin drop (I assume that 99.9% of the venue thought someone was in BIG trouble); I just stood up and grinned and waved at Rod. He said come up here and hurry, people are waiting, I felt like I was being called to the Principal’s Office. Here is the video For the record, I knew the count of the HATS would come up at some point so, being a financial person, I have kept track of them on a spreadsheet. I have made in total about 75 HATS (mainly Celtic green and white), yes close to 40 have been given to Rod (he must be tracking them on a spreadsheet too!) and the rest ordered or gifted to Rod Fans. For my charity HAT project, my friends and I are close to knitting and donating 1,000 since 2009. I do have to say that I think the black and white checkerboard HAT matched the stage perfectly and in my wildest dreams I never imagined talking to Rod, let alone in front of 4100 people, about knitting HATS........... I want to thank each of you for taking and sharing your photos with me and for all the kind words you have posted and sent to me, you as well as Rod touched me deep into soul. I extend an enormous THANK YOU to Terrie Harbour for shooting the video and an equally enormous THANK YOU to Rod for making the MAD HATTER one very happy knitter. When I talked to Steve earlier on Saturday he asked me to send him the best pic of the show, so of course I sent one of Rod thanking me. The text I immediately got back was “Well I cannot wait to hear the story that goes with this picture, have fun, talk tomorrow, I am headed to bed” (It was 1:30a at home). I also want to give you a data point on what the date August 6 means to me. Thirty six years ago (when I was 19) my daddy died unexpectedly on August 6th. So I would also like to thank Rod for giving me a good memory for this date. Let this be a lesson to each of us that what may seem like a simple act of kindness may have a huge impact on the recipient. On Sunday night the Celtic green and white checkerboard HAT made its way to center stage and Rod’s stool, he grinned and pointed when I pitched it up there.

The black pants with the strategically placed silver design are a crowd pleaser and while I love the bright yellows and hot pinks and electric blues (and will FOREVER love that paisley jacket and shirt from a few years ago); I especially liked the black and grey leopard print jacket and the zebra print. There were wardrobe malfunctions: an untied shoe lace on Sat, and a shirt button on Sunday which was funny to watch him try to button while singing/performing, he finally stopped and said he had been trying to button it for 10 minutes.

On Saturday night, Jeffrie’s mom Joann got a football and on Sunday Rod made sure that Jeffrie got one for her Birthday. Terrie also got Rod’s attention and went home with a ball. It was great!!!!

I had known for a while it was Jeffrie’s birthday on Sunday, but I didn’t realize it was a milestone one until a few weeks ago. I did up 2 signs that said Birthday Girl each with an arrow. I had a hard time finding something with 60 on it that I would be allowed to take into the venue. So I found some paper plates with “60” on them. I decided that during “Forever Young” that we needed to hold up the signs so Jeffrie’s mom and I stood on either

side of her with the arrows pointing to her while she held her paper plate. Rod saw all this and blew her a kiss and smiled. To me he nodded and indicated “I’ve got this covered”. Before the acoustical set started, Rod said there is someone here celebrating her birthday and she gave me a very nice vintage Celtic programme last night, I’d like her to come up here. Jeffrie’s mom and I were ecstatic, and all Jeffrie could do was lean over to me and croak out “Oh God”. As she was making her way up the steps, Rod commented to the audience doesn’t she look very good for 60? Rod graciously signed a sketch that she took up there and Rod had us give her a round of applause. When she got back to her seat, she said, look I took a gift up there and forgot to give it to him. I and happy I was able to get some of this on video for her.

Each night after the curtain went down; Rod popped out from under it and asked “You want more?” Cheers abounded and the curtain went up balloons came down and we were treated to a fun new rendition of Sexy. On Saturday night he did a walkabout all by himself during Sexy, on Sunday there was no walkabout.

Saw Chuck twice over the weekend, first time ever I have seen him off stage and in plain clothes, but was not in a position to say hi, introduce myself and let him know that I have been enjoying his fancy footwork during the shows this year, he is definitely coming out of his shell, ha ha. Also crossed paths with Boiler, I was not 100% sure it was him (he looked thinner) so when we passed I said “Boiler?” he looked right at me grinned and said naaaaaaahhhh. Haha. Conrad kindly agreed to meet up with me to sign my copy of BassQuarterly (March/April 2016 issue) in which there is a great interview of him and one of my photos. He was also kind to spend a few minutes with Terrie and me to have a few photos and laughs.

As most of you know, my flight home on Monday was cancelled and I had to spend another night in Vegas, too bad Rod and the band were off that night, but it was really ok because I was going on 2.5 hours sleep and was stuck in the airport for 7 hours, so I was exhausted.

In closing out this adventure, I want to again thank Rod for sharing his gift of music and song with all of us, and for being such a good sport to his fans, especially his Zany Mad Hatter. I also want to extend my sincere congratulations on being Knighted by the Queen; it is well-deserved and about time. Until the next adventure, I wish all my friends safe travels and best wishes for Living the Life you Love. Remember, life is so brief and time is a thief when you're undecided.

Review By By Vicky Marrow Aka THE MAD HATTER
Photos Thanks to Vicky Marrow
Montage By Tommy Kevitt

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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