My good friend Graeme and I ventured to Rod Laver Arena last night to see Rod Stewart in his second Melbourne outing.
Graeme, it has to be said, in the kindest possible way, is a Rod Stewart nutter – a rusted on fan who has in his CD collection everything that Rod has ever recorded, either as a solo artist or as a member of The Faces. Graeme has also made it his business to attend every Rod Stewart performance that it is within his means.
For me, on the other hand, you could count the number of Rod Stewart albums in my collection on the fingers of one hand, with one or two fingers to spare. Last night was indeed my first ever Rod Stewart concert and. although Graeme has boosted Rod to me constantly since the start of our friendship nearly twenty years ago, I came to Rod Laver with low expectations. Expectations born, in part, of some disappointing performances I have attended in the last couple of years by heritage acts that had passed their use-by dates and which relied on younger backing singers and musicians to mask the decline in their capabilities.
My low expectations were also due to the long remembered cringe that “Do You Think I’m Sexy” used to induce in me when it was first released. I knew Rod had produced some decent stuff but DYTIS? almost undid all the good of his other releases.
However, it was not long into Rod’s performance before I started to revise my expectations. Rod certainly had all the accoutrements of the aforementioned heritage acts, that is, an elaborate stage set up and a gaggle of talented backing musicians, but with one big difference, Rod can still sing!!
He may not have quite the power that he had in his youth but Rod has obviously adapted to the changes in his voice very successfully. In fact, that gravelly voice of his seems to have improved with age. His backing musicians weren’t there to cover up for him or fill in the gaps in his range either but rather to complement and enhance Rod’s performance. I particularly enjoyed the solo efforts of the saxophonist, the harpist and the violinist, although all of the backing musicians were great.
Rod was graced by a full house of adoring fans and he gave them exactly what it was they came to hear – vintage Rod singing the songs that made his name.
I have seldom seen a singer receive such complete devotion from an audience as Rod did last night and he returned that loyalty with a top-notch performance. He even introduced two of his children to the audience and this brought forth a chorus of oooh’s and aaah’s from the many mums and dads present
So, did Rod manage to convert me from being a fence sitter to an avid and obsessive fan? Probably not but then again it is not in my nature to be obsessive about anything.
What Rod did do, however, is eradicate the “Do You Think I’m Sexy?” cringe that I have harboured for years and he also left me with the memory of an enjoyable night spent in the company of some great musicians and a singer who is still the “real deal.” It was abundantly clear to me that Rod can still cut it and I came away from his concert with new respect for a seasoned and accomplished performer
Forget retirement, Rodney, if you can keep on singing like you did the other night, I see no end in sight to your career.
Review By Albert Hutchison
Photo By Albert Hutchison
Rod was also spotted down at the Swan River. The day before his energetic two-hour gig to a capacity crowd at Perth Arena
A radio listener contacted 6PR's breakfast program with what he described as "the best fishing story ever".
The man said he "set up his [fishing] rods and gear" for his 18-year-old daughter and her boyfriend, who set off to cast a line near Matilda Bay at 10pm.
"At midnight, my daughter calls screaming 'guess what!'" he wrote.
The proud dad assumed his daughter had landed a decent fish, but wrote that he was quickly corrected.
His excited teenager told him "a man came up and said hello and was holding your fishing rod... do you know a man called Rod Stewart?".
It might sound like a tall tale, but sure enough, the 6PR listener sent through photographic proof.
Photo: Used with thanks to 6PR Breakfast