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June 18, 2014

Front Row Experience

Stoke Britannia Stadium 14th June 2014 Review by Laura Durber

posted by Mike Walton

This is my review of Rod show in Stoke on Trent at the Britannia Stadium on 14th June 2014. This review is a personal journey of my experience, right from when the show was announced up until show day.

(approx?!?) 20th November 2013 I rolled in from a night shift and was about to get a good dayís sleep when I checked Facebook and saw that a big Rod Stewart announcement was coming up after 8am. I wanted to go to sleep, I never thought it would be new tour dates, but I stayed up for it anyway.


HELL YEAH!!!!!!!

A bit of background story Ė my mum is a huge fan of Rod Stewart so I grew up listening to his music. I first saw him live in 2007 in Manchester, and it was then that I understood why my mum likes him so much. Iíve now seen him a total of 4 times, and I love the fact that I can share these experiences with my mum, my favourite artist is Pink, and mum will come to see her shows with meÖ it is why I have ĎMusic Is Lifeí tattooed on my arm!

I called up my mum to tell her the news, Rod Stewart is not only playing in our hometown, but a few days before her 50th birthday. ďHey why donít we go crazy and spend a little extra on front row seats?ĒÖ I have been to over 100 gigs, and being on the front row for your most favourite artist is a feeling you just canít describe. I have always wanted my mum to experience that.

I booked VIP Hot Ticket Front Row via Event Travel on 22nd November 2013. I had used Event Travel previously on Pinkís Truth About Love Tour twice and had pretty good experience with them. I wanted my mum to feel as special as she was, and I knew I felt like a VIP on the Pink tour.

Time flew by and before I knew it, it was almost Rodderís weekend! As we were on the front row I wanted to take a poster to ask Rod to sing happy birthday to my mum. I always knew it was a long shot, but if I didnít try, I knew I would regret it. After much thought about how to make the poster, I ended up ordering one online for £30. It looked awesome. I was sure it would workÖ

I headed down to Stoke on Friday 13th June, and the morning of the concert was finally here. I was freaking out a little bit after reading information on the concert saying that no posters or banners were allowed. Do I leave it at home so that I donít get it taken off me? Do I take it with me and risk security taking it from me and never seeing it again? In the end I thought f*ck it, I paid a lot of money for this, Iím taking it!

Getting to the venue was fine, we headed out around 3:30pm. When we got there we werenít sure which way to go, nobody seemed to know what was going on or where to be. We asked security and they didnít know either! We found our gate, and waited in the rain. I thought it was strange that we didnít have a VIP entrance like I have done on previous concerts which I have bought VIP tickets for. The gates opened late, I think around 5:30pm. When they did open everyone pushed forward, there was no queuing system at all, and the ticket scanners in our line stopped working. I thought I had VIP tickets??

When we got through the gates, after a big cheer from my mum and myself, we went into the stadium to find our seats. Is there anything better than walking down a seating area getting closer and closer and closer to the stage thinking Ďoh my godÖ look how close we are going to be!í We were some of the first into the area and got chatting to a security guy who I think was a supervisor. He was friendly, but he told us we couldnít stand right up against the barrier (this is the first gig I have been to where I have been told that), and that we couldnít put up the poster. I was gutted, but rules are rules right? Maybe we can just hold it up when Rod is on our side of the stage.

We then went to get our tour programs which were included in the ticket price. We had a voucher for them which said to get them from an official merchandise stand. The stand we went to said they didnít give them out there, and that we would have to go outside the gates to the stand near the carpark. WaitÖwhat?!? We found a steward and asked him for help, he didnít know where we should get them from either, in the end a lovely steward went out to get them for us. I was quite disappointed that considering we had spent so much on VIP tickets, apart from the front row seats we didnít feel very VIP at all. It felt like nobody knew what was going on, and I didnít see anybody from Event Travel like I did at past gigs where I had tickets from them.

We made our way back to our seats, got chatting with the couple sat next to us and the security guys stood around us were friendly and chatty. A couple of photographers from Cuffe and Taylor asked us if we would like our photo taken so we did, with the poster in front of the stage. The steward who told us we couldnít put up the poster came over to us and asked to see it, and then told us we could put it up after all. I was so happy! It seemed like everything was starting to go right nowÖ all that was left was for Rod Stewart to get his butt on stage!

The support act, jazz band Dixiemix, were ok, but not really my thing, however they put on a good warm up show to get everybody in the mood for Rod.

Rod came on stage and everybody got up off their seats enjoying the first track, Infatuation. I was a little disappointed that that crowd pushed their way forward and stood in the isles. I paid a lot of money for my front row seat, to see people pushing forward made me a little sad as they probably didnít pay as much as I did. There were a lot of agruements between people because of this, and the stewards were useless at getting everyone to go back to their seats. Iím all for people standing up at a concert (who goes to a concert to sit down anyway?!?) but at least stay in your seated area. It was a massive distraction, but we didnít let it ruin our night.

Rod was on great form, for a 69-year-old he sure does rock that stage, Iím pretty sure he has more energy that I do!

The setlist was good, a good mixture of all and new tracks including Canít Stop Me Now, Tonightís The Night, You Wear It Well, She Makes Me Happy and Forever Young.

A highlight of the show for me was when Rod brought out his old Faces mic, anybody who knows me will know that I love music history, so this was very good to see.Rod appeared back on stage for the acoustic set in a gold suit, complete with gold shoes, and asked everybody to return to their seats. One of the things I love most about concerts is hearing the crowd singing back to the artistÖ Music Is Life!The band sounded fantastic, it was a very similar show to last yearís tour, but that was ok with me because I really enjoyed last yearís show too!Rod kicked the footballs into the crowd during Hot Legs, we were so so close to getting one this time, but we just missed out. I liked the Stoke City football clips shown on the screen as well, although I donít really care for football, I miss living in Stoke so that was nice to see. The birthday poster didnít work but Iím almost certain that he saw it. He certainly noticed my mumís dancing during Do Ya Think Iím Sexy (the closing song), he was over on our side of the stage and he was shaking his ass to the music, so my mum did the same and he saw her and laughed. Iím so happy she got this interaction with him. The show closed with fireworks which was a great endingOverall I really enjoyed the night, it was one of the best gigs I had been too. Rod was in our hometown, we were front row, and my mum Ďdanced with Rodí. There were a few bad parts which I have mentioned but none from Rod or the show.

Review By Laura Durber
Pictures By Laura Durber

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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