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New Jim Cregan book out in June
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April 11, 2016

I "Socked" it to and "Dolled" Rod up in Vegas

March 18, 19, 23, 25 & 26, 2016 By Vicky Marrow

posted by Mike Walton

This Adventure began in October 2015 when Steve and I decided that an early Spring Vacation would be nice. Because I have a lot to tell you, I am not going to attempt to capture exactly which night any given event occurred. This way I will get this adventure written up and you will be able to enjoy it before the turn of the next Century.

One night before a show, Steve and I were chatting with Conrad and a lady decked out in her Rod T-shirt (she came all the way from China to see Rod) asked to have her photo with me…… I winked at Conrad and said “excuse me while I have my 5 seconds of fame”. This again made me take note of where people were from… (An)other County such as England, Scotland, Chile, Argentina, Germany, Canada, China, Belgium ….. The States represented included, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Texas, Maryland, Nevada, Massachusetts, Idaho, California, and South Carolina.

Before I go any further, as much as I enjoyed chatting up with everyone and of course all the shows, the most heartwarming moment of this trip was when Steve and I saw Gilles Haeck out and about one afternoon. As many of you know he was on a train literally 5 minutes from the Brussels airport when the bombing occurred on March 22. After 39 hours, 4 countries, and still visibly shaken, he was in Vegas. Gilles, may the Good Lord continue to be with you down every road you roam. It was enormous fun for Steve and me to hang out with him before the shows and watch the people do a double take, listen to them trying to decide if that was Rod, and then ask to have their picture with “Rod”.

Over the five nights the intro music varied, from The Match Day Song (I believe is the title)/The Stripper, a Louis Prima tune, and still my favs, Loch Lomond/Magnificent Seven (THIS is the into that sets the tone for the whole night) and one night there was no intro music.

While I made some HATS for this trip, I decided that I would mix it up with the “You Knock my Socks” off sign and a pair of socks from my own wacky collection (they were new!!), plus the doll (I knitted) that resembled Rod wearing a HAT along with the sign “Rod, You are a Doll”. Rod’s bright smile upon seeing each of these told me he got a kick out of my zaniness.

Socks played a part in 3 shows. There were my socks, a pair of Welsh socks that I didn’t catch the story behind and then the socks that Rod sported with his bright blue floral jacket and electric blue trousers. They were electric blue with a pink heel and white polka dots. Rod became mesmerized with the socks and said in effect what an awful mess and he will have to have a word with wardrobe. It was pretty funny, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad of a combination.

While I am writing about clothing, Steve was looking at a brown floral jacket in one of the shops and was set to purchase one, but they did not have his size. Imagine our surprise when Rod came out in one very similar. We had a good laugh over that!

One night a fellow in front was wearing a David Bowie t shirt. Rod stopped and has some very nice comments to say about Bowie and what a great loss his death was.
There was noticeably more showcasing the talents of the individual band members, nice that Rod gives them their time to stand out in the crowd.
Very good to see Matt on stage again, there was a lamp behind his drum kit, Rod joked that Matt’s mother bought it so she would be sure to see him on stage.
Until this run, I had never seen Bridget perform, (remember, I missed every show during 2002-2011). Holy smokes! Every second of every night, she was bursting with song, energy, a contagious smile, and boy has she got the moves! I was especially glad to see her back after opening night when she almost poked Rod in the eye (ha-ha).

Chuck was the most animated I have EVER seen him, especially when he was doing his best Michael Flatley (Lord of the Dance) impression each night during the interlude in Forever Young. Annie Staninec is the new addition to band. She is an accomplished fiddle player and her banjo picking was not bad either! It was fun to watch Annie grow and gain confidence over the first 5 shows. I chatted with her 2 nights and she was amazed to learn that we (the Rod Family that is) typically attend more than one show in a row, travel hundred to thousands of miles, and have an extended Rod family. As we ended out conversation the second night, I thought it was fitting to give Annie a HAT, she had absolutely no clue what it meant, so with a twinkle in my eye, I told her to ask anyone in the band, or Rod.
I did miss the ladies’ solos during “Rhythm of My Heart” and the videos of the troops; however, I did not miss the humorous videos, but rather enjoyed Rod’s endeavor into comedy/joke telling.

Di lead the ladies during the performance of Young Hearts……….she continues to amaze me with all that talent in such a small package.I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the smiles and talents of Katja, Anne, and Kimmie were missed by us and a number of others.
The generosity of the band members does not go unnoticed, from the smiles, waves, and handshakes from the stage to the time spent before and/or after the show (especially when they are entertaining family and friends) is so very much appreciated.

Sadly the album Rod made for the fans, “Another Country”, received no mention, so I was thankful to hear “Love Is” during the first two shows. Depending on my mood, every time I listen to the album, I have a different favorite. I understand the trepidation of not performing much, if any, off this album due to the less than stellar success here in the states; we know the masses are missing out on some fabulous music.

While Rod has been dusting off some old treasures, “Angel”, “Rollin’ and Tumblin’”, “Downtown Train”, “Losing You”, and “Young Turks”, I offer the following note to Rod. Please reconsider performing (at least) “Sailing” in Vegas. You know yourself the enormous response you receive when you ask if there is anyone from the UK in the audience. I do think you will have a positive response; plus I and many others may never have the opportunity to cross the Pond to hear you perform it!!!

I think every single performance of “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” was different; it is obvious that Rod is having a blast performing this song, and he was bustin’ different moves every night. One consistent move was him slapping his own bum, I don’t think anyone minded that repeat performance, I sure didn’t and at one point Steve even asked me what that silly grin on my face was all about. I suggest you listen to Sinatra’s “Young At Heart”; this is Rod Stewart, NOW! EVERY song is age appropriate when you’re young at heart!

The energy level of Rod and the band grew every night, and Rod’s voice was in fine tune…. I tell you this is going to be one heck of a summer tour! It is extremely fun to watch Rod kicking out the footballs especially when he is trying for the coveted 3rd balcony. His concentration is strong and he puts his heart and soul into getting them there, he succeeds and when he doesn’t it sure is not by much. I would be in traction if I even attempted the rear orchestra.

Cockups, of course there were cockups, it is a real live show and it is Rod. Rod gave a detailed introduction to “Losing You” only to be told that was not the next song……
Rod kept trying to get a woman in the front row to stand up, and then realized she had as he put it “a dodgy leg” he was embarrassed and blushing and went off the stage to her seat, gave her a hug, and waited until the photos taken were good ones.

One night Rod was hitting every note and then some during “Have I Told You Lately”. The audience went wild, he proudly puffed up and continued, then more cheering, we threw him off, cracked him up he had to quickly finish the song. He said that has never happened during that song.

Then there was what I will call the “Downtown Train” Pile up. Rod sat on the edge of stage to perform a portion of the song, a lone woman walked up and Rod motioned her up on stage, she obeyed (who wouldn’t, right?) and was promptly followed by a flock of birds. Rod was covered in women and emerged unscathed. I was surprised and impressed that he took the chance each night forward.
Our football collection grew during this adventure, with Steve landing his first one ever! We are keeping the two that Rod directly pitched to each of us, Steve’s for singing loudly and proudly, and mine for the knitted doll that resembled Rod along with the sign “Rod You are a Doll”. We have gifted the other two fans that do not have a ball and have been fans for upwards of 45 years! Paying forward is much more heartwarming than the $600 that we were offered as soon as we left the show one night.

Drum lessons for me are still on the bucket list, there never seems to be enough time to do all that interest me. So I had a blast drumming along especially during “Rollin and Tumblin” and on the last night Jimmy rewarded my drumming “skills” with the drumstick he was using!!! Thanks Jimmy!!

The renewed and the new friendships and stories that these adventures "birth" are amazing, they will always be treasured, and continue to be a HUGE part of, as one fan put it, “Rod and us”. Having said that, another fantastic Rod-Venture comes to an end, but with an extra added bonus this time, I lost 3 pounds (.2142857 stone) Twistin’ the Nights Away.

Review By Vicky Marrow
Photos By Vicky Marrow
Montage By Tommy Kevitt

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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