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May 29, 2014

A Rainy Night in Pittsburgh

A Night On The Town with Marcy Part 3

posted by Mike Walton

My review of The Pittsburgh show on May 27, 2014

By Marcy Braunstein

It was a rainy night in Pittsburgh, our home town, when Santana, Rod and the band came to town. But it didn’t stop Santana from pouring out his heart and soul with comments about wanting to change the world, making today the best day and sending out a vibration to change a gun to a drum making reference to the recent shooting incident in Santa Barbara. He also said he had a flashback to 1970 when he played here with Janis Joplin. He played a full 90 minutes and the audience was kind to Santana but you could tell it was a crowd waiting for Rod to come out.

Rod finally came out on stage at 9:15 and admittedly was having a bad hair day due to the rainy weather and humidity. But there was nothing foggy about his voice—he was in top form and hit every note perfectly. He mentioned his hair during the sit down and said the face has changed over the years but the hair has stayed the same. Speaking of his “hair and his nose and his clothes” he surprised us with “Can’t Stop Me Now” and announced it as a new song that perhaps not many here may know but asked that we clap afterwards as if we knew it and liked it. The response from the audience was really good and I don’t think it was due to his prompting. I love that song and accept it as a gift from him every time I hear it.
Rod got a huge reaction when he dedicated “Rhythm of my heart” to all those who have served—he really hit a nerve here about that and I think it was because there was a group of about 250 police officers in the crowd many of which had served in the armed forces. He asked if we had a good time on Memorial Day which I thought was odd since it’s strictly an American holiday but I guess Rod has lived here in the states long enough to embrace those things American. When he introduced Santana for “I’d Rather Go Blind” he said he had played with some good guitarists in his time and mentioned Jeff Beck and Ronnie Wood---but never anyone as good as Santana.

Penny was there and was taking pictures during Santana as well as of Rod and the band. She looked great—very slim--- in a leopard jacket, black pants and boots--she always looks so natural and so beautiful. It always warms my heart when I see her making a fuss over Rod being on stage taking as many photos as she could from many different angles. She even took a picture of Dave and I with our soccer ball. I saw her talking to a fan before the show and I don’t know what they were talking about, but it looked like the woman had tears in her eyes and Penny put her arm around her and talked with her for quite a while. Penny is so kind and sweet and sensitive and very attentive when someone approaches her. She was followed closely by a security guard who wasn’t really needed because everyone who knew who she was respected her privacy.

When he kicked out the soccer balls, he spotted a girl in a Celtic shirt and motioned for folks around her to move aside so he could throw it directly to her—he waited to be sure she caught it. Then he tossed one in that same direction so someone else could catch one too. He really pays attention to the crowd and loves those Celtic sightings. We met a couple who live in Ohio but are from Scotland—Gavin and Dana—who were in Celtic garb and came up front when they saw our flag. Karen was in the dead center section with her Celtic shirt and scarf and leopard hat. Now that’s a dedicated fan—she drove by herself from Maryland- a four hour drive—just to see Rod—but that’s nothing—she’s gone to Scotland to see him by herself too. We also saw Kendra who lives in Pittsburgh and is someone I met in line waiting for the ticket office to open years ago back when you had to stand in line and we’ve kept in touch over the years. There are so many true Rod fans out there and they are among the greatest.

His wardrobe was meticulous and flashy—came out in a powder blue jacket and black pants, changed to the gold suit and glittery shoes and finished with bright red pants that mirror the blue ones that I love so much! When I saw him in the gold suit from the back—with his hair freshly primped—his profile reminded me of the way he looked in the late 80’s. I love when that happens—so often I will see him from a certain angle or he will strike a particular pose that takes me back to years gone by.

A local music critic wrote in reviewing the show that "Santana overpowered Rod and that his voice is a weakened, lower-range version of its old self" which of course if this reporter was worth the weight of even his own pen, he would know that Carlos Santana and Rod Stewart, although from the same era, are worlds apart personally and musically and can't be put to a comparison. If he did his homework he would also know that Rod had surgery a few years back due to thyroid cancer in which his vocal cords were literally cut open and had to be completely retrained. So of course his voice is at a lower range these days. No wonder Rod stopped listening to the critics and the cynics so many years ago.

Rod has a few days off and then we will catch up with him on Saturday in Buffalo, New York. Stay tuned for more of a night on the town.

Review By Marcy Braunstein
Pictures By Marcy Braunstein

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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