Review of May 14-16-17, 2014 shows in Las Vegas
By Marcy Braunstein
I think I can explain the phenomena of how we can go to multiple shows where Rod sings basically the same song list (although no two shows are ever the same) as being similar to reading the same book or seeing the same movie several times and enjoying it every single time.
But what I can't explain is why I still get nervous and excited right before the first of a string of shows. I've been to more show than I can count and I had just seen Rod several times in December in the US and Canada and there I was at the Coliseum in Las Vegas on May 14th waiting with nervous anticipation for that curtain to go up. I knew I was going to be there on Friday and Saturday nights too but it didn't matter. When that curtain went up and Rod started with “Infatuation”—which by the way I wasn't prepared for---the other shows I'd been to opened with "This Old Heart of Mine", I was once again reacting as though I’d never seen Rod before.
And I won’t soon forget the opener on Saturday night--Rod came out and messed up the intro so he stopped singing “Infatuation” and said he couldn't believe after 150 show in Vegas that he did this. He turned around to pretend he was coming out on stage for the first time and started the song again. The crowd loved it!
Rod noticed there were many more signs than usual in the front row---he said he was glad they were complimentary-and that they didn’t say "Rod you're an old bugger”. On Friday night he noticed a lady with a small sign that read something about soccer balls---Rod asked to see it closer up and she told Rod she had been waiting 26 years to get a ball--Rod thought she said. I've been watching your balls for 26 years. I held my signature sign “Lost in Your Since ‘72” up during “You Wear it Well” because he made a point of saying he wrote it in 1972. He kindly acknowledged me and I was relieved because as we all know--you don’t see Rod Stewart until he sees you.
I love when there are a lot of Brits in the crowd in the US—because Rod usually sings a few songs he normally doesn’t. He dedicated “I don’t want to talk about it” to “all the Brits who come to Vegas to see me and to get drunk”. On Friday night before this song, Rod said “I love being British”. I have no idea why this song wasn’t a big a hit here as it was in England. (Memo to Rod: Your US fans love these songs too!) He also sang “Georgie”, “People Get Ready” and “Reason to Believe”. So the next time I hear “The British are Coming!” I’m going to make sure I go to those shows. No songs from the new album though—hope he includes them again on the US tour. (We are going to seven of the US tour shows starting Saturday, May 23 in Buffalo, NY.)
At the start of “People Get Ready” Rod noticed a low note so he stopped and turned around and asked who was responsible for that note---Don Kirkpatrick readily admitted to it. Rod jokingly said “come on, these people paid good money”. During “Reason to Believe” when Chuck came in on the harmonica which was louder than usual, it looked like it took Rod completely off guard, he jumped, started to turn around and then tried to make it look like he didn't. Something else special was he included “The Motown Song”—to which the guys sang the Temptations part. It was great to see Conrad singing! When Rod acknowledged Chuck--he put up a picture of him of years gone by—I sure remember him with the long hair. And of course when he introduces David Palmer—he included Aloysius as his middle name. When I saw Dave later, I asked him if that was his real name and he said no—for the record his real middle name is James.
When Rod went down into the audience—as he has done at almost all the Vegas shows---he told the guitars not to start playing until he told them to. He walked to the middle of the audience and sang the entire “Sweet Little Rock and Roller” from the back. We could see him up on the screen and it was awesome to see him right in the middle of the audience with fans who probably have never been that close up to him before. Their reactions were exciting to watch—and he was having a good time with it.
During almost every show I end up striking up a conversation with someone who has loved Rod for years but for some reason never saw him live before. I try to circle back to them after the show to hear their impressions of their first show. Sue and Russ from Arkansas were sitting behind us on Wednesday night-and although Sue has loved him for years, had never made her a way to a Rod show before. They came to Vegas—like all of us---just to see Rod. Needless to say, they walked out of the Coliseum with smiles on their faces and Russ had caught a soccer ball for her.
During the sit-down, Rod said he played an awful lot with his three year old son today. And all day Aiden called him "Dad" but tonight when he told him he had to go to work, Aiden said "Bye Rod Stewart". He laughed and said he wished he knew what goes on in their little heads. It’s obvious he is having a good time being a dad to his younger children these days. One other thing he said before the sit-down---he called the local musicians on the violins, “the Magnificent Seven” and they were. Honestly every one of them looked like one of the blondes he dated over the years. He said “Some ask if we have an orgy backstage, but let me assure you we’re not”. And then as only Rod Stewart can say—he looked at them and said “we’re not--are we?”
On Saturday night, also before the sit-down, out of the blue, Rod asked if Shannon Holiday was in the audience and asked her to come up on stage. She is a photographer and a Rod Fan from New Orleans. Rod thanked her for flowers she sent him every night she was there this week. What a precious moment for her and what a wonderful way for him to thank her.
A good review wouldn’t be complete without some mention of not only how Rod sounded—which was superb---but also how he looked. His wardrobe changes of three per night included a black and white suit, an amazing gold suit with gold glittery shoes, and a silver one with black and white socks, both a white jacket and a blue one and finally the blue pants with paisley shirt which was my personal favorite. There something about how he looks in those blue pants….well, I can’t explain it here. Let’s just say he looked fit and trim and fantastic!
The highlight of the three nights of shows was Saturday night when Rod invited Celtic shirts on stage for “You're in My Heart”---and that was the only night he sang it. Although I had a Celtic flag with me, I didn't have a shirt—I have one that I bought years ago but sadly it doesn’t fit anymore. I almost didn’t go up because of that but with encouragement from Johanna sitting next to us and from Rod himself---I went up and I’m so glad I did. We all stood in a row singing and dancing and had such a great time. Rod turned around a couple of times-smiling at us and telling us we sounded good. I looked over at some of the band members and out into the audience trying to take it all in. It was an interesting perspective to see what they see from the stage. With the lights up as they were—at least in the intimate setting of the Coliseum, you can really see the entire audience all the way to the top row in the balcony. What a sight----4100 people—a small crowd for Rod---singing along with him—no wonder he loves what he does. Thank you Rod for doing what you do!
Review By Marcy Braunstein
Photographs By Marcy Braunstein