Good evening my friends and welcome to my review of Rod's show at the Trump Taj Mahal, the last musical performance there before it is torn down in October.
As I walked into the Mark Etess Arena at the Trump Taj Mahal, I'm thinking I would see the glorious checkerboard curtain but alas there is no curtain. The musical instruments are set up and ready to go with soft colored lighting on them. There are signs early on of an enthusiastic crowd, several different groups with large Scotland flags, many Celtic supporters.
As the arena fills to max, the music begins signaling the start of the show. Band members come out to take their place on the curtain-less stage, and the new backup singer Caissie is back as we recall at the last Vegas show she had been ill and missing. The backup singers introduce Rod as he enters wearing leopard print jacket and black pants to Having A Party, and then Some Guys Have All The Luck. He welcomes the enthusiastic crowd saying Greetings my friends, greetings. Welcome, hello! Is everybody here whose supposed to be here? He pulls out his hanky and continues, asking, Does everybody want to be here? He says it's Saturday night and this is the last musical event in this old Taj Mahal. This is it, what you get after this is Miss America. He wipes his brow, puts his hanky back in his pocket and says so let's rock the place tonight, let's have a real party. He is so full of energy saying let's enjoy ourselves, we must, we must. He says I give you this as Tonight's The Night begins. Happy fans in the audience are reflected on screen near the end of the song, some of them pointing to themselves.
Next Rod says he recorded this song not too long ago but it was actually made famous by Bonnie Tyler called It's A Heartache. After the song, he comments about needing to cool this place down, the air conditioning is not working, and says hot is good though. He continues on to say here's one from 1972 you may "re-collect" this one, then corrects himself, saying "recollect", and that "re-collect" is when you go and get something, "recollect" is when you remember something, then tells himself to shut up as he walks away from the microphone and the audience laughs as You Wear It Well begins.
Afterward, Rod takes off his jacket and thanks everyone for coming out tonight, saying it will be worth our while and that we are really, really in the mood tonight! He says here's a song he always dedicates to his dear old Dad, who's long since gone, he died in 1990, he's a good Scotsman from Edinburgh, this is a song about when he started out in show business and no one wanted to sign up Mr. Rod Stewart in those days because they didn't like the shape of his nose, his hair, his clothes or his voice. His Dad said keep at it son and he guesses he did and that's why we're all here, as everyone cheers and applauds. He looks up at the screen at the back saying, "thanks, Dad!" He says to keep our eye on the big screen to see him as an 18-year old and then asks "are you ready? are you ready?" as Can't Stop Me Now begins. During the point in the song when he sings, "thanks for the helping hand", Rod turns to the screen at the back and says, "my Dad" pointing up to the picture of his Dad.
Afterward, he says a lady in the audience says it's her 60th birthday and she wants a kiss. He picks up a rug that had been given to him with a train design on it, holding it open, saying it's an unusual gift, puts it back down on the floor saying he's going to stand on it, which he does. He claps about the rug, saying he's dedicating this next one to our war veterans, our fallen veterans, our soldiers who are still on the front line tonight as we are enjoying ourselves here, enjoying our freedom, he continues on full of energy, arms up in the air, "enjoying the Taj Mahal for the last night!" He says here's a song by Mark Jordon, an anti-war song written about the Vietnam war but it covers all wars, let's do this one. He says thank you for the mat, smiling and pointing at it several times, as Rhythm of My Heart begins.
After the song, Rod points down at the rug saying that's his carpet, holds out his arms and tells band members to stay away from it as the audience laughs and Forever Young begins. Rod leaves as band members continue with solos on violins and drums. When Rod returns, the song finishes with audience members reflected on the big screen singing out "Forever Young!". Rod brings Matt O'Connor and Dave Palmer down to take a bow, then acknowledges Annie and J'Anna on the violins. He then says let's keep the fast ones going, then looks down at the rug, saying that's my mat, don't touch it, my mat, proudly and waves to the mat, pointing to himself and the mat as Young Turks begins. After the song, Rod says he's thoroughly enjoying himself tonight as he picks the rug up off the floor and places it closer to the edge of the stage where he sits down on it with his legs over the edge of the stage as Downtown Train begins. At the designated point in the song, he gets up, picks up the rug, rolls it up and takes it with him as he heads over to the backup singers for a bit and then backstage as Jimmy continues with the saxophone solo.
When he returns in blue jacket and pants, the chairs are brought out and he says ladies and gentlemen we're going to do some acoustics songs now, and tells us please be seated, that we've been standing up for 45 minutes, please take this moment to rest, saying they are seated, and he suggests we do, too. He asks any requests? A man in audience calls out "Maggie! Maggie!" Rod says we do try to please. After checking that the girls are ready he asks the crowd if we are prepared as You're In My Heart begins. The next song is First Cut Is The Deepest, with audience reflection on the big screen as they sing along to the song. Afterward, Rod says many, many years ago he was in a band called Faces. Many, many years ago some of us weren't even thought of in those early 70s. He says they were a great bunch of boys, there are only three of them left - him, Ronnie Wood and Kenny Jones, the drummer and that they will make an effort to tour. He says the next song is one of Ronnie Lane's finest compositions as Ooh La La begins. J'Anna and Annie twirl around with their violins and near the end of the song, band members seated during the acoustic set get up to dance, and a woman holding a Scotland flag is pictured up on the big screen against the barrier.
After the song, Rod says a lady in the audience is celebrating her 60th birthday and can we bring her up guys, she wants a kiss, then no, she's gone home, she missed her big chance. Then he mentions it's Bridget's birthday as Bridget gets up out of the chair excitedly waving to the crowd. Rod says he also wants to welcome this evening Conrad Korsch, our fabulous bass player, his mother and father are here tonight, good evening Mr. & Mrs. Korsch. Conrad waves to his parents. Rod says he would like to dedicate this next one to the woman who couldn't make it up to the stage, then spots her in the audience and jokes saying she looks more like 24 than 60 and they need to check her identification, lol! He tells the guys to bring her up, quick, quick, quick! He gets up out of his chair as the lady comes up on the stage, saying quick darling. She brings him flowers as he gives her a hug and she kisses his cheek. She sits down in his chair and he asks her if she is married. She says she is and he says bless you darling. She kisses him again, hands him the flowers and thanks him so much telling him about so many of his shows she's seen. He says thank you darling and says he has to announce that she is sitting in his chair, lol! She gets up and he tells her she can sit in the back for the last song, which is Have I Told You Lately as Rod holds onto the flowers during the song. As all this unfolds, I am thinking how wonderful Rod is to do this, still on a cloud myself after having just the week before had my own amazing birthday experience with him in Vegas. He just spreads happiness wherever he goes!
After the song is finished, the lady gets up from the steps in the back with one last thanks to Rod. The chairs are removed from the acoustic set as Di, the ladies the band take over with Young Hearts. When Rod returns, he says the next song is very, very special as I'd Rather Go Blind begins. Next Rod says and now ladies and gentlemen, may I present.... and several people call out "Maggie!" as Maggie May begins. All during the show I'd been trying to find the perfect time to thank Rod for my birthday picture with him in Vegas and finally did during this song when he came over to my side of the stage and the folks in front of me were sitting, leaving an open space to hold up my sign. He saluted and put his hand to his heart. Bless you Rod!
Next was Hot Legs as Rod kicks the footballs out into the crowd starting from the left side, then walking across the stage, throwing a few to the people in the center and continuing with the right side, making sure some people up front get one as well as in the back.
After the song, Rod tells the crowd they were glad to be playing the last musical performance in this sh*t hole, LOL! which brings cheers and applause from the crowd. He said he's played here half a dozen times over the years. He takes off his cowboy hat and raises it in the air to say so with this one we'll say goodnight to the Taj Mahal, God bless you whatever you may become. He says they're going to have Miss America here and asks whose coming here to support Miss America, which there are some cheers and whistles from the crowd. He puts his cowboy hat back on and says goodnight ladies and gentlemen, and away we go as Do You Think I'm Sexy begins. The crowd are on their feet singing and dancing along to the song as balloons cascade down over the audience. Afterward, Rod and band exit from the stage. They were not able to play dead this time because there was no curtain, lol! After the show, some of us were able to say hello to Conrad who had come out with his parents.
I now pass the torch to all those next going to see the greatest showman ever and a well deserved Sir Rod! See you next year!
Review By Karen Chande
Photos By Karen Chande
Montage By Tommy Kevitt