Rod returns to Australia and New Zealand after 3 years and kicked things off in Perth, last Saturday night. In a City famous for being far away from everything, Rod performed to a sell out crowd in the newish Perth Arena.
For me it all started the evening before, along with my long suffering wife and another Smiler member Maurice, we headed to the pub across the road from the Perth Arena. As long-term fan(atics) we had discovered Rods entourage of 45 individuals were staying there. Forever hopeful of a chance meeting and photo opportunity with Rod, we lingered around the bar and lobby.
After chatting with a few guys from Rods production team, we actually discovered Rod was staying at another hotel somewhere in Perth (much nicer I suspect). Not to leave disappointed we did meet with a number of Rods band members including Chuck, Emerson, Katja [who was suffering with a cold but very generous with her time], Jimmy Roberts and the incredibly lovely Di Reed, who went out of her way to befriend us. All were gearing themselves for the effects of Jetlag as they had just flown into Perth that afternoon from various parts of the globe.
Saturday night came around very quickly and we found ourselves in the foyer of the Arena waiting for the support act James Reyne to complete his duties as crowd warmer! A couple of champagnes and we took our seats, 3rd row centre and waited for the curtain to go up, the arena was filled to capacity you could feel the excitement in the air!
Finally, just after 9.00pm, the curtain began to rise to the theme of the Magnificent Seven, Rod strode out elegantly attired and seemed a little taken at the rapturous greeting he received from the mainly mature crowd, then kicked it off with a Sam Cooke number, Having a Party, followed by Bonnie Tyler’s It’s a Heartache and then greeted the Perth Audience “Good Evening My Friends, its been a few years since I saw you last”, always grateful of his fans he thanked everyone for coming out and then quoted the old line “You can beat an egg……. But you cant beat a Saturday night” before moving onto you wear it well and Tonight’s the Night. Then came Cant Stop me now, a tribute to his Dad who never stoped believing in him. Some guys came next and then he quips I haven’t done this one here for 20 years or more (try 36 years ago!) and launched into (I know) I am Losing you, Dave Palmer did a fantastic job on the drums, but……… secretly I was hoping for Carmine Appice to launch into his famous drum solo as hi did in 1979!
From here things slowed down just a bit, with the audience in fine voice supporting Rod as he sang Rhythm of my Heart, a wonderful video dedication to the troops all around the world, including our ANZACS played on the screen. Then Forever young, First cut is the deepest, I don’t wanna Talk about it, and his own dedication to his eldest Daughter Brighton beach, then finishing off the slow set with Have I told you lately.
Things, then got a little more up beat with She makes me happy and Sweet Little Rock n Roller. Di Reed took centre stage with an amazing rendition of Tina Turners Proud Mary whilst Rod had another costume change
You’re in my heart, again had the capacity crowd to their feet and singing, then Rod treated the audience to a few funny You Tube video clips including a few clips of his efforts in drag!
Without fail, Rod sent the crowd into a short frenzy as the traditional and much sort after soccer balls hurtled into the crowd through Stay with me, sadly I didn’t get one! Baby Jane, Sailing and Maggie where all belted out in quick succession, the crowd still singing along with every word. The curtain coming down momentarily, only rising again with the entire band and local string section lined up on the stage to finish the night off with Do ya think I’m sexy, with hundreds of balloons descending from the ceiling proceedings ended at a couple of minutes prior to 11.00pm, just in time for Rod to catch the kick off of the Scottish Championship Celtic v Dundee.
For me, there were a few of Rods hits missing from his usual set list Hot Legs, The Motown Song, Handbags & Gladrags and I don’t want to talk about to name a few. But what he delivered on the night was well worth the price of admission. The one thing that was incredibly obvious was Rods fitness, I penned a review in 2005 for Smiler after his Subiaco Oval Concert titled “Like fine wine, he gets better with age” , well for 70 years of age this man is truly in phenomenal shape and is definitely better than a vintage Burgundy!
Review by Michael Collins
Photos by Michael Collins
collage by Tommy Kevitt