This adventure began at the end of February 2014 when shows for the US tour were announced. KFC YUM! Center in Kentucky (I have wondered how the employees tell anyone where they work with a straight face), was the venue of choice, a four hour drive from home. Things being very busy at work, it was a moderate challenge to get vacation TIME approved………… In fact, I was late getting home to get tickets when they went on sale, Terrie Harbour already had her front row ticket and I had not even pulled in to my driveway……. I got seats in row 3 on the floor, yes, disappointed it was not front row BUT WE WERE GOING!!!
When TIME allows, I do not like traveling the day of a show, so we left home on Monday for the Tuesday June 3 show. We made a side trip to visit a friend of Steve’s and arrived in Louisville around 2 pm. As soon as we walked into our room, I said “Look! Celtic curtains!!!” they were green and white, not the proper Celtic green, but close enough. We had a good laugh over that. Since we had nothing planned, we decided to try to get tickets to see Cyndi Lauper & Cher who were performing Monday night at the Yum! Center. We could not get any decent tickets through the box office, so we got a bite to eat and went back to the room for a cat nap. We walked back to venue around 7 and found someone selling tickets. He wanted face value and I told him no way, it was 25 minutes to show time, and he was on a corner STILL trying to sell tickets. Steve said let’s see about others and the fellow said wait….. I made him an offer, and we split the difference and below face value. We were pleased with the seats for this show; but they would have been TOTALLY unacceptable for a Rod gig. Having not planned on anything non-Rod for 3 days, I packed nothing but Celtic and Rod t-shirts, and because I was concerned about getting THE HATs in to the venue for Rod’s show, I decided to do a test run at this show. So in we go, Steve dressed normally and I dressed in a Rod Stewart T-shirt wearing a Celtic HAT. No entry problem at all. Check out this HAT that got in too!
Cyndi Lauper, has an incredible vocal range (4 octave according to Wikipedia), and a really great stage presence. She went out into the audience twice, one of the times, a Young Turk tried to get a selfie, but was too slow, Cyndi (in her strong Brooklyn accent), said “Too bad, I gotta get back to work.” She put on a great show that we both enjoyed very much.
During the intermission, I said to Steve, it would be funny if I saw someone that I knew in this sold out crowd of 22,000.
Cher puts on a great theatrical show with, as you might imagine, many costume changes and stage sets. It was touching to see her sing “I Got You Babe” while a video played in the background of just Sonny singing. HATs on stage must be in vogue, as 3 sailor HATs were tossed on stage as she sang, “If I Could Turn Back Time”. I cracked up!!!
It was a great way to spend the evening and if possible got me even more excited to see Rod the next day. Since we only had 3 blocks to walk back to the hotel, we sat, people watched, and let the venue mostly clear out. All of a sudden in the next section, I spot 2 people I “know” and you do too…………Di and Conrad! I HAD to go over to them considering I was dressed in my TIME T-shirt and had THE HAT……so being my zany self; I went up and said “Excuse me, am I a day early?” They both laughed and Di said “We know YOU!” It was nice to get to thank Di in person for helping Madeline Ignarro with THE HAT at Mohegan Sun and to tell Conrad I saw a video and he cracked me up when he bent way over to look at Rod under THE HAT. He said it is now the famous HAT. We hugged and said see you tomorrow J.
On Tuesday we wandered out for a late breakfast. Even though we walked right by a Starbucks, we stopped in another small shop. My shirt of choice was the lime green one from 1999 (the one I get the most questions about…. Why are you wearing a shirt with your picture on it?). While Steve and I were eating, the manager came over and said I guess you are here to see Rod. We chatted and she told us that they had checked into the hotel in the next block on Monday night (YES, where the Starbucks was). I smiled, nodded, and thought “how could she know that?” She was a delightful woman and the 3 of us had a nice chat. Since the hotel was on the way back to ours AND there was a Starbucks there, Steve and I took a detour thru it……. Who do we pass but Matt O’Conner, I said, “Hi Matt” and we high fived. Steve and I continued to meander and then I told Steve, I had to go
back and thank Matt for the autographs last year. So I quickly bothered him to say “thank you” in person. It was important to me to be able to do that. Steve waited at the other end of the lobby for me, and when I got back he said, “Now where?” We decided to sit on the patio of Starbucks and just relax. At the far end of the patio, a very pretty blond walks out and sits down. I am like “no, way” but yes it was Katja! OK now I am getting really nervous, because I sure don’t want them to think I am following them. As you have read, these encounters were pretty much by chance. I really didn’t know what to do; we had met Katja in Vegas (and I didn’t recognize her at first, still much to my embarrassment) and didn’t want to bother her, but didn’t want her to think we were snubbing her either. I said to Steve, let’s go say hi and we need to leave. So we walk up, interrupted her breakfast and I say “Hi! I hear you are a killer Sax player”, (I know you are thinking good thing Vicky doesn’t need pick-up lines) we chatted for a few minutes and left. We stayed tucked in our hotel room the rest of the day until TIME to pick up Terrie Harbour at the airport.
After we picked up Terrie and she got checked in to the hotel, Steve, Terrie, and I got a quick bite to eat. I typically don’t eat much before seeing Rod, I am just too excited. This night was no exception, but the three of us chatted like we had known each other for a long TIME. We went back to the hotel to get ready for what we already knew was going to be a great night. Still worried about getting all my props into the venue, Steve taped a sign to his leg, under his jeans (Is he a keeper or what!!??!!) and we wore our HATs in. Again, no entry problems.
Almost as soon as we walked in, we see Lisa Morrow and Lanette Reed. I had never met either one and as no surprise, I liked them straight away. Steve went onto his seat, I think he was about to overdose on estrogen. We chatted a bit more and then a Scot, Jim Lowe, comes up to us wearing Celtic Jersey. He has lived in Kentucky for 15 years, but still had his lovely Scottish accent that I could have listened to for a long TIME. OK TIME to go to our seats.
I was looking forward to seeing Santana, I like his style of music and the high energy. While the bright lights right in our faces at TIMES were less than desirable, and the show a bit too loud, Carlos rocked, that is until he made a comment to the effect of I understand we are the warm up band…… It was close to the end of his set and I was glad, had enough.
It seemed like an eternity before that familiar music started and the curtain went up! Di immediately spotted us and the HATs, she pointed at us and smiled really big. Yay! Rod opened with Infatuation and we could already tell he was in great spirits and good voice. An odd compliment to his yellow jacket, white shirt, and black pants were bright red socks, oh that’s right he is color blind. No surprises in the set list and nothing off TIME. Rod was HOT! Well that too, but I mean temperature wise, he was already wiping his brow after the first song and jacket was off by Tonight’s the Night. We were sweating in the audience; I can only imagine how hot it was on stage. David Palmer had to be cooking in the bubble. The new lighted mic stands for Di, Lucy, & Kimmi are a nice subtle touch and each lady looked fabulous in their new aqua color dress.
Rod brought out the recently found mic stand used by the Faces and he twirled it around during Stay with Me, like he did 40 years ago. It was a grand treat to see that live. After the song, he kissed it and wave bye bye to it as it was carried off the stage. I also need to tell you that Emerson nailed this song!
Rod dedicated Rhythm of my Heart to the troops and at the end of the song showed very touching footage of military homecomings. Yellow jacket back on for I’d Rather Go Blind, with Carlos, and it is a brilliant pairing for this song. As Carlos goes into his guitar solo, Rod went off stage to dry off and fluff a bit.
To quote Marcy Braunstein, “You have not seen Rod, until he sees you” For Steve and I that was during Forever Young, when he spots my very tall husband waving his HAT and looks down and sees me waving mine. He smiled and then there was a smirk or a chuckle, enough of something to give me the feeling he’d seen the pics or video from Mohegan Sun in Connecticut where he put on THE HAT for the first TIME ever. Of course it was the biggest one I had ever knitted and I thought he looked like a garden gnome in it. A BIG thank you to Madeline Ignarro, for getting the HAT to Rod, while I was at home in Tennessee. I must say I missed Ruby performing with her dad during Forever Young. How exciting for both of them to get to do that.
While I had a number of signs and my camera, I held true to my word that I was going to “drink in” this show. So I only took a hand full of pictures and held up one sign at the end. Oh yes of course there were THE HATs. At one point, Rod commented how “responsive” the audience was and he was very appreciative. I finally got to see the flop in the floor with legs in the air, at the end of Sweet Little Rock and Roller, he is such a ham.
Di rocked the house with Proud Mary and then the intro to You’re in My Heart begins. I must decide whether I can pitch THE HAT on stage from row 3. I did and it landed right between J’Anna and Rod. J’Anna laughed and smiled and Rod picked it up, looked directly at me, smiled hugely and bowed. I was waving madly. Rod continued singing with HAT in hand and stopped center stage to sing the chorus. The next thing I know, Rod steps forward and is singing directly to me, with a huge smile on his
face! I was mesmerized. I did try to snap one picture of Rod holding the hat, but I was too late, he had already set it in front of David’s drum kit. To my utter amazement, this was all captured on video, by an unknown person. Every picture tells a story.
Next is Hot Legs and the footballs. Rod and Steve tried three TIMES to get me a ball. While it was not meant to be, it was a valiant effort by both men.
During Do You Think I’m Sexy, Steve held up our banner SEE YOU IN NOVEMBER, to which Rod bowed and blew Steve 2 kisses, I am claiming one of them for myself. We will be attending shows for our 30th wedding anniversary. And with that, the curtain came down, but not before Terrie and I spot that Rod picked up THE HAT and left the stage with it.
This was another great adventure of THE HAT, I am glad everyone got home safely, and until we meet again, May the Good Lord be with you down every road you roam.
Review Vicky (the Mad Celtic Hatter) Marrow
Pictures - Top by Barbara Holland
Bottom by Madeline Ignarro