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December 7, 2016

Has Rod fully recovered?

Leeds First Direct Arena review 6/12/16 Review By Caroline Eva

posted by Mike Walton

Leeds 2016 The Preview

Tonight's the night. It's my first time. A review virgin. I'm about to share my thoughts about Rod's song choice, performance, passion and delivery to the experts. After 37 years of counting down weeks, days, hours to seeing the man himself perform live more times than I can remember, I still feel under qualified to share my thoughts with Smilers.

I do know, I have never once regretted the effort, cost and time invested in my guilty pleasure. However, I do remember the gut wrenching feeling when I was too ill to go or when my husband put a ban on Rod - long since my ex-husband by the way. Today is Leeds, a first in many ways, a concert alone, but not alone amongst the family of fans.

My first LP was Atlantic Crossing, yes, a Newbie, most Smilers would say. No longer would I buy Jackie for posters of David Essex or Donny Osmond, my Rodiction had begun. The thrill today makes me feel like I did as a teenager, when my first boyfriend bought us tickets for London's Olympia. He was the one who had introduced me, no enticed me by stacking Gasoline Alley and Every Picture on the turntable, then proceeding to dig out the old raincoat from his wardrobe, to show me the resemblance to that on the LP. If you're reading this, you know who you are and I'm forever grateful.

The atmosphere was breathtaking at that first concert. So many people, yet he could tease the thousands with a moments silence, punctuated by 'Sexy Basterd', which brought a wry grin of acceptance to his face. It's a title he's never relinquished.

I'm a grown up now, in years at least. I apologise Sir Rod for waiting for hours outside the Grosvenor to catch a glimpse of you with Alana, Kimberley and pushing baby Sean in the pushchair, but thanks for signing my newly purchased Tonight's the Night Album. It felt more authentic buying it in Soho than Sheffield for some reason.

I've never wore the shirt, but will have my Celtic scarf with me again tonight, in the hope that you may decide to send a ball over to block 105. If it's not me I will, as always enjoy watching the face of the person who wins, it takes me back to how I felt when you stopped and said hello, signed the LP and walked into Hyde Park. With hindsight, you ought to have told me to leave you in peace.

My hopes for tonight, that I was wrong last week in Sheffield and you hadn't returned too soon to please the fans. You performed with passion and your unique style and excellence, and it left me feeling like we may have asked too much and pushed you too far. Clearly, I'm being overprotective of our national treasure. I hope my review tonight can do you justice and I am able to ease the pain for those not able to be there.

Leeds 2016 The Review

My confession is that I wrote a review at Sheffield, but felt unhappy posting it when I read others. They stated, 'best ever, perfection etc.,' I honestly thought he was pushing through, not fully recovered from the illness when he caused him to cancel previous shows. Leeds saw a different performance, in fact, one of my favourite of all.

He exuded energy from the moment he took to the stage shortly after 8pm. Looking immaculate as always in his Zebra print jacket and black trousers, he went on to promise ' A great show, a full 2 hours, so enjoy yourselves'.

The little extras we crave were there, the stories and interactions, he skipped and danced around the stage. He told how he intended to fly here, but due to the fog had had to drive, just like everyone else has to. He also told how he likes to spend as much time as possible with his boys.

'You wear it well, saw him spinning the mic around his head, as we have so many times. Don't get me wrong, he did many of the actions in Sheffield, but he appeared to be enjoying it more in Leeds.

' I'm thoroughly not used to being in a car for 4 hours' he joked as he and four band members sat on the steps to deliver Downtown Train. I thought this was exceptional, it had never really been a favourite of mine before, but together with the saxophonist solo to end, was something else.

Rod left during the solo to return wearing a blue suit with mustard shoes, socks and matching buttonhole. 'Don't the ladies look great in blue?' He asked. Then said 'We're going to pretend to be the Eagles' as he sat down for the next few tracks.'The band are playing very well for a change' he joked after Handbags and Gladrags. They were. It was a fantastic performance of the song.

As in Sheffield, he praised Julia on the harp and for her part in Tonight's the Night earlier, which replaced 'My former girlfriend Britt Ekland'. This was followed by some banter with the crowd and band.After reminiscing about writing Can't stop me now for his Dad and joking about the pics on the backdrop saying 'I'm the one with the big nose' he left the stage as the girls sang Rag Doll.

Another quick change and The Man returned wearing black and white, oh and some rather upmarket shoes, mildly resembling trainers. This meant a few songs later, many areas of the crowd were excitedly throwing themselves to the ground to grab a football. I doubt many had done this for a number of years.There were many happy fans,clutching their find with their life, I wasn't one, alas.

Do you think I'm Sexy, was the penultimate song at just before 10pm. Then with just a couple of versus of Enjoy Yourself, which I agree, seems an anti-climax, the crowd were left to wade through popping balloons, happy and very satisfied I'm sure. It left me wondering if I could possibly cancel my trip to Australia and re join the tour in February.

Set List

Having a Party
Some Guys have all the luck
Love is
Tonight's the night
You Wear it Well
Forever Young
Rhythm of my heart
Baby Jane
Downtown Train
Ooh Lala
First cut is the deepest
You're in my heart
I don't want to talk
The Christmas song
You can't stop me now
Rag Doll - girls alone
Stay with me
Do you think I'm sexy
Enjoy yourself

Review By Caroline Eva
Photos By Adriana Altamirano
Montage By Tommy Kevitt

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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