And so it came to pass … 272 days to be precise since Ticketmaster flashed back “Your application to purchase 3 tickets at £75-00 each has been successful … And by the way we are charging you £10-75 a ticket for pressing 10 buttons”… So you can go and have a ball… but I really must say I think buttons gets paid far too much these days!
Yes here we were again, on another Monday evening after a day of a touch of Ewen with sleet, sunshine and around 4 p.m. a stunning rainbow coming from the North side of the Thames, but would we be sprinkled with gold dust during our evening’s entertainment??
Trying not to drag on as I usually do, I met up with my wife and sister in law at Starbucks just inside the O2 probably around 6:30, we wandered across to a very sparse merchandise store – now somebody has been spending their money on this tour, or maybe it was considered not worth bothering to stock up? We were due to meet a couple of friends who had tickets in the heavens, but were not due to arrive until 7:00 – I owe them both a nice long drink as you will see later. Both had never seen Rod before (what have they done with their lives!) so their opinions were a bench mark of the night for me.
The worst thing about killing a bit of time is what to do, and are we missing anything if we don’t take our seats up early enough as we often do? Anxiety often rules, so by 6:55 when we still had not heard from them, we slowly made our way towards Entrance H (read previous review on where that takes you – circumnavigate the O2). But just before we get to security the text arrives, so we turn around on our heels and say – meet in the Slug & Lettuce.
Fortunately we were alert, as they clearly missed where the Slug is situated and we saw them walking towards us about half way back around to the entrance.As we chatted Karen said she had never been to the O2 before, which prompted us to tell them about the strict security checks we had pre-Christmas where no water, or even a bag of sweets were allowed in. Somehow though this time alerts on exploding bon-bons didn’t seem to apply, as even a bottle of water was smuggled in.
Sadly that was not the end of the issues for our two friends, as scanning their tickets buzzed an issue and they were ushered to another table, we said our farewells and “hope you enjoy the show” and made our way towards block B. What we later discovered was there was a “false” (or is the buzz word “fake”) alert that one of the tickets was not valid for our friends, but that was resolved after a period of time that did not impress Karen at all on her maiden trip to the O2. But it also meant we were messaged with the fact some people had turned up with tickets that were valid for the previous night …Ouch…
As we got to entrance 110 suddenly it dawned on me, that’s the bloody 4 amigo’s again on stage… Yes I guess it must appeal to some, and perhaps they may appear as a reasonable warm up, but if I had to hear them too often I would not be visiting their website but building my own PC “fire wall” to prevent being contaminated!! Hence I owe our friends a drink, because had we gone in just before 7, I would have suffered probably their whole show and not just their last 3 efforts.
Our seats were pretty reasonable with a bonus of being the last 3 in the row, which was to prove one massive bonus because as we waited for Rod to come on stage, who should beam that unmistakable smile at me as he searched for his own seat, but Neal (Steamy), a hug for him and his daughter Kirsty with a 30 second chat as it was apparent that very soon Rod would take to the stage.Now some nights I register every song, but tonight I just wanted to sing my heart out and sway often arm in arm with my wife as the hits were delivered, so forgive me for no precise track list, funnily enough from memory I struggle to name more than 19 numbers – so feel free to fill in the missing hits. I’m perhaps more surprised that I’m convinced he didn’t sing the likes of Hot Legs, Havin’ A Party, Some Guys – but a little disappointed that the rockers of Twisting and Sweet Little R&R are still not part of the set, plus Georgie to add to the melody section.
What I always love to reflect upon is exactly what Rod has to say to us, his people. So I try and remember most of that, rather than every song he sings, but I don’t want any libel claims if any of the following is incorrect. After Soul Finger from the band to lead into Rod’s first little set, he would say “I’ve finally made it, I’m so, so sorry that we had to rearrange the dates, but I’ve turned up this time, and believe me we are in for a good night full of surprises”. This signalled a good mood from Rod, but the main surprises from my view was the order he played his set list, I don’t think I have ever heard Maggie May played as early as the 4th. Number – but that could be explained by his later comment of “Sorry to drag you out on a Monday night, it’s never that appealing when you know you have to go to work the next day, far better if it’s a Friday or Saturday night when you can enjoy a little drink or two”. He seemed determined to get the most out of his audience, and there is no better way than hit the ground running with the number everyone associates him with.Perhaps from the muted negative reviews of the pre-Christmas Monday night, he was out to insure this would not be the same atmosphere.The regular change of clothing would allow for the drum solo’s and gallic tap dancing and other solo’s from the band, but the striking “Gold” suit with leopard print socks and golden shoes were for me the iconic sight of the evening – I so love his dress sense at times - Smoking … maybe this was where that other end of that rainbow I had seen earlier had finally landed!
As he begged us to take up our seats for his slow numbers he would roll around the stage, but also announce one of his numbers was one of 2 Faces numbers on the set list for the evening – “There are only 3 of us left now, and one of those is the great Kenny Jones who’s here tonight, stand up Kenny and reveal yourself, oh, you already have!” – Which no doubt the legendary “Small Face” took with good heart and humour.
He would also comment on his number he stated from 1973 (I think 1972!) that was written with Ronnie Wood “Back in those days we could sit down and write songs so easily, this one took about 6 minutes over a nice bottle of wine, not quite the same these days” He would make his regular praise in honour to our troops that had fought and given up their lives in the 2nd World War, although “In any war” he would add.Plus the forthright quote that “What you will never see on this stage on my show is anybody mime to any number, I detest those that will take your hard earned money and perform without actually singing”.Rod would also tell us about his love of football “I really don’t know what I would have done without football in my life, I’ve loved playing it, watching it, cried over it, got drunk over it, it just means so much” then would ask the “girls” in the audience what they thought of it.
As Rod would kick his signed footballs out to the crowd, followed by the balloon’s falling from above the climax of a very upbeat evening approached. With the curtain falling, and the band simply laying on the stage floor – we got treated to an encore of … Enjoy yourself … As if we hadn’t already! The clock had struck 10 and as if those golden shoes had to be taken off (alright they had already been changed) the curtain had come down again and not to be raised up again, which given what was absent was a little let’s say quirky… But like many of us these days, it was nearly time for our cocoa … especially if you did have to go to work the next morning (yes I did).So with a Lewis Hamilton style exit and empty roads I could get back indoors just after 11 ….. Somewhat different from the 3:30 a.m. of Southampton.Plus the ultimate post from Karen on Facebook read “You’re right, He was excellent even if he was miles away” … Another convert smitten by the one only Sir Rod Stewart ….
Until next time, I will just have to search to find that next golden slipper.
Tracks I remember in no particular order:- (apart from alphabetical)
Baby Jane, Can’t Stop Me Now, Da’ Ya Think I’m Sexy, Downtown Train, First Cut Is The Deepest, Forever Young, Have I Told You Lately, I Don’t Wanna Talk About It, Love Is, I’d Rather Go Blind, Maggie May, Ooh La La, Rhythm Of My Heart, Sailing, Stay With Me, This Old Heart Of Mine, Tonight’s The Night, You’re In My Heart.
Review By Colin Baker
Photos By José María Contreras - Ramis
Montage By Tommy Kevitt