The Pinnacle Arena opened just ten months prior to Rod Stewarts concert on June 7th. The venue is located in a fun entertainment district of Lincoln known as Haymarket, conveniently located near restaurants, gifts shops, antique stores and bars. My 'Rod friend' Emelina and I stayed in a hotel just steps away from the venue after a three and half hour drive from our homes in Kansas City.
Crowds of people gathered in an outdoor area next to the arena to enjoy their favorite beverage before taking their seats for Santana at 7:30. Later, Rod mentioned that he saw all of us enjoying our drinks as he entered the arena. I was now set and ready to enjoy myself in our front row seats section 50, wearing a Celtic jersey, tartan scarf, and a SMILER pin. When Santana started there were still quite a few empty chairs in the 15,000 seat arena. They had the top tier curtained off and from what I understand there was approximately 8,000 seats sold. Strangely, midway through the evening five seats next to us remained empty in our row. What a terrible waste when so many fans could have enjoyed those seats in the very front row.
Santana had us up on our feet and dancing with the enchanting aroma of incense burning on the stage center. Santana was wonderful and really got us pumped up in preparation for Rod.
When Rod came on stage the real magic happened. The colors, the lights, the video screens, the outfits, together give the audience a visual that takes your breath away. Then Rod gives us that smile and begins singing his heart out. He performed all his classics but nothing from his recent album, Time. No surprises or changes to the set list.
Before he started singing Stay With Me he brought out his recently found microphone stand he had during his Faces days and treated it like an old friend, even wishing it well after he finished the song. Rod was in a playful, upbeat mood, lighthearted and just having a good time.
He came out first in all black with a bright blue jacket. Later, changing into a gold suit and these amazing gold and silver shoes covered in crystals. Next change was into red slacks and white and red flowered shirt. Included also with what seems to be his new signature straw cowboy hat.
I waved a Royal standard Scottish flag over the barrier most of the concert and he acknowledged it several times through the evening including tipping is hat and bowing to it adoringly. He made us laugh when he mistakenly said at one point that his next song was one he recorded in 1917. I don't think he ever realized he said that. When Rod introduced Carlos Santana for their collaboration of Rather Go Blind, Carlos brought out a huge bouquet of roses for Rod to mark the last night of this stint of their US tour together. Rod said "I'm speechless, what a wonderful gesture. I shall put them in my lonely hotel room this evening."
Rods stage presence was effervescent and high-spirited, even laying on the stage at one point to pose for a fan photo. He forgot a lyric here or there that was barely noticed; Made the crowd laugh at his determination to kick a soccer ball up the upper level; Had the audience finish singing Tonight’s The Night. He tossed my friend Emelina her first Rod Ball. He was playful with the young women from Nebraska invited on stage to play the strings during Do You Think I'm Sexy. They made it through their part with a little hint of nervousness from being on stage in front of a large crowd and the attention that Rod gave them during their performance. The talented J'Anna Jacoby directed the young ladies on stage and even saved one from the lowering of the curtain as it came down almost on top of her.
The ageless and timeless Mr. Stewart closed the performance leaving the audience jubilant and only wanting more. I'm sure he left the stage ready for a few days of rest and relaxation before beginning his UK concert dates the following week, where I know his loyal fans anxiously await his arrival. In two months I will see him again in Kansas City to conclude my 6th show from August 2013 to August 2014. What a year it’s been and look forward to many more in the future.
Review by Irene Kinsella-Bynum
Photos by Emelina Campbell & Irene Kinsella-Bynum