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February 10, 2015

No miming at "Rod 100"

Another few nights on the town in Vegas with Marcy

posted by Mike Walton

Dave and I made our way out to Las Vegas last week to see three of Rod’s shows--Tuesday, Feb 3rd; Friday, Feb 6th and Sat Feb 7th at the Caesars Palace Coliseum. Tuesday night's show was a really good one but the crowd not so much. They loved Rod and clapped a lot but not much singing and no dancing except for me and a few others. Rod said after the second song that it was a really quiet audience and that hardly changed for the remainder of the show. He told the audience to have a sit down at one point and then said “oh that's right, you're already sitting”. Even the shaking of his cutest little asset during "the can-can's such a pretty show" didn't seem to faze them. He said “here are two fast ones that if they don’t get you going-nothing will” and unfortunately he was right. “We're going to do a Sam Cooke
song- the way Sam did it”---the audience didn't react so he said "do you know who Sam Cooke is?" He did “Twisting the Night Away” in a different version than the way he recorded it years ago--it was definitely the way Sam Cooke did it and was without a doubt the best version I've heard him do. When the audience was still not standing, he said “okay, now I'm really getting desperate”--and went out into the crowd like he does. That brought a fair response. Of course the kicking of the soccer balls got them moving along with "Maggie".

Rod asked if there were any Brits in the audience and a few in the balcony responded. He laughed and said "that makes sense you're up there because Brits usually don't have any money". (British humor perhaps??) He said it was his 98th show at Caesars and that his 100th show was on Friday---the band looked at each other wondering if there was another show before Friday they didn't know about. He said the was going to do something special on Friday like maybe take his trousers off, which made me really happy that we were going to be there for Friday's show.

Friday nights show started off with "Rod 100" in big bright lights at the top of the Coliseum. Both the show and the audience were bubbling with energy. You could tell this was a special night. I'll tell you up front--he kept his trousers on. Rod was genuinely surprised when a chorus line of show girls came out right before "Twisting". They were traditionally-attired Vegas show girls with the word "Jubilee" in silver as part of their headpiece. Rod was ready to sing and turned around to this startling sight-he looked as if he didn't quite know what the plan was so he motioned to one of the girls in a way asking if they were going to "Twist" along with him and of course they did. What he didn't know is Caesars management had this all planned and the band had rehearsed with them earlier in the daybefore Rod arrived. After the next song he said what a nice surprise that was for his 100th show and then said "I swear one of them looked like Bruce Jenner". He sang "I'm Losing you" as a special bonus and repeated it on Saturday night too. There was a guy in the audience--a Hall of Fame Disc Jockey from Phoenix who has played Rod's music numerous times over the years and this was his first time seeing Rod perform live. I was anxious to hear what he thought after the show. He said what I hear so many say that he felt Rod was singing directly to him even though there were over 4,000 in the room. He said he has gone to many shows of other artists and never came away feeling that way. That's the way Rod Stewart makes you feel, doesn't he.

The energy level of Saturday night's show was just as high minus the show girls. Rod was on a roll! There was a woman in the front row----five months pregnant---Rod told her that her child will be a Rod Stewart fan after hearing his music. He said it was true with his two youngest. Someone yelled "I love you Rod" (and it wasn't me) and he replied "I love you too, but be careful my wife is here". And everyone had a chance to see Penny right before "Have I Told You Lately" when Rod asked her to come down from the audience because he had a gift for her. Penny reluctantly came forward to the steps of the stage, gave him a big kiss and received a little wrapped box--he joked that it was a Starbucks Gift Card—but I'd love to know what was really inside there. He said she doesn't come to many of the Vegas shows and he was happy she was there and jokingly said he was happy she stayed--he said he would have been embarrassed if she had left to go over to see Donny and Maria.

Some things consistent at all three shows:

1) Ruby wrote a song as a gift for her dad's 70th birthday and it was absolutely beautiful. On Tuesday night she mentioned she had a sinus infection and asked the audience to bear with her but you couldn't tell at all. That girl can sing!

2) He made sure everyone knew there was absolutely no "miming" going on and that everything was live and that you shouldn't pay good money to see an artist who isn't actually singing. He said there are some artists right here in Vegas doing it. I found it funny that he used the word "mime" when in fact it's actually "lip-syncing". (Maybe another British thing?)

3). Wardrobe was the same all three nights: he came out in black pants with a great silver jacket, changed to the gold suit with leopard socks and gold shoes and finished with black pants and a multi-colored shirt—Dave gave him a hat on Saturday night and he wore it for a few minutes;

4). I loved that he opened with "Having a Party". When he introduced "You Wear it Well" on Tuesday night, he said it was from 1977, on Friday he said it was from 1972 and then on Saturday he said that it was many years ago. This is when I usually hold up my "Lost in You Since ‘72" sign so I always pay attention to how he introduces it.

I was disappointed he didn't do "It Takes Two" with Kimmie Johnston---as he did it at other shows---was looking forward to it. It was also a shame he only did one song from the newest CD--"Can't Stop Me Now" was the only song from it he did. I still don't understand why “Time” wasn't as popular in the US as it was in the UK---it’s one of his best in recent history with all but one song penned by him!

Caesars Palace is a beautiful place—it’s the second time we’ve stayed there and it was tastefully decorated for the Chinese New Year. Right outside the Coliseum I noticed a bank of Elton John-themed slots machines with lots of good pictures of Elton, different versions of his hats, glasses and pianos and it played his music. I took a crack at one of them and got the "Rocket Man Bonus". It made me wonder what a Rod-themed slot machine might look like. I’m assuming some of the characters would be leopard and tartan, perhaps mock-ups of his hair, his nose and his clothes and I’m sure there would be Celtic flags, references to Maggie May and of course a “Soccer Ball Bonus”. (BTW Rod gave Dave a ball on Saturday night.) I also took notice of the Rod merchandise in the nearby shop. I agree with whoever it was that said recently they thought the selection of Rod's merchandise was weak. It certainly is compared to what is offered for Elton and Celine Dion. I know that’s not a reflection of Rod or his management but they probably need to look at bringing on a new merchandiser.

I wanted to stay in Vegas a bit longer not only because Rod finishes up this residency with three more shows this week but the weather was unseasonably warm; breaking records for this time of year. With another Rod trip over, thoughts are already brewing of when and where we will go next. It won’t be to Australia or New Zealand but Rod does return to Vegas mid-summer and fingers are crossed he will repeat in the fall. This is the way Rod Stewart makes us feel, doesn’t he—not only that he is singing directly to you among many more than a roomful of people but when it’s over, you’re ready for more! Thanks Rod!

Review and photos by Marcy Braunstein

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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