I was fortunate enough to get to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend Rod Stewart’s last concerts in March 0f 2016 and his concert on April 1, and his last concert in Vegas on April 5th. When attending these concerts I went with the question of why the name “Smiler.” I had never researched it and didn’t want to do so – I wanted to form my own opinion of why I would like to believe the name originated.
I watched Mr. Stewart carefully as he came on to the stage after his introduction, and this is my opinion. When he approached the stage each evening from the back of the stage, his face was fixed and serious, yet when he first faced his fans with roars of anticipation, it was as if a light went on, and “Smiler” came on like a light switch. The facial tension released and there was the “Smiler” grinning from ear-to-ear, the smile we all have grown to know and love. The rush of energy entered his body and the show was on.
This musical legend was on fire – each and every night. While some songs remained the same each night, there were delightful surprises each evening as well – surprises which only Rod can achieve for his audiences. From the standard hits to the addition of the timeless classic “Angel”, the inclusion of “You Can’t Stop Me Now,” and my own personal favorite – the addition of “Rollin’ and Tumblin’”, a Muddy Waters classic, which Rod has never recorded or performed live ever before.
I could go through the songs one by one and give highlights of each, but to say they were all just brilliant is truly selling his performances short. “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” was a show stopper – the Rod Stewart I fell in love with so many years ago being reincarnated as that young man on the stage singing and dancing and rocking the night away. He was in his element and I am sure each and every one there who has attended his concerts before, had to have recognized it and it brought back so many wonderful memories of days gone by.
As always Rod was uniquely and immaculately dressed in clothing that only Rod could wear and make it work.
His energy level and pure enjoyment of performing before his fans was as evident as I have ever witnessed. It was as if we were allowed to go back in time and Rod let us share the roots of his music and why he has remained a true music icon for over 50 years. Some entertainers have gone by the wayside and are now coming back, yet Rod has never left and he still maintains that special God-given talent to entertain his fans year after year.
Hits rolled out like a well-oiled machine – yet each night it may have been the same song, but it was a new Rod Stewart each and every night performing them. From “Maggie May” to “Do You Think I’m Sexy,” the hits took us on a walk down memory lane but it is a memory lane that never ends – it just keeps getting better. Have you ever heard the saying “If you have seen it once, there is no need to see it again?” Well, ladies and gentlemen, nothing could be further from the truth with Rod Stewart. He takes you on a magical mystery tour with each and every show and you leave with that one special moment that he provided “just for you,” that you can talk about until once again you are given the opportunity to watch “the master” perform.
The bottom line for me is this. Each time I go to a concert, I leave never feeling bored or short-changed, knowing that each and every time this dynamic man steps onto the stage, he gives it his all and then some. I then think how fortunate I am that I was allowed the privilege of watching him perform “one more time.”
It is a well-rounded and diversified show that gives you every bit of Rod and his dynamic band. From the fast songs, the slow set, and his now coming down to take a seat on the stage, he shares himself with his audience and they adore it.
It will never cease to amaze me how agile Rod is at this time in his life. He is all around, and up and down and even lies down on the stage putting his legs over his head – again the Rod that we all grew to love. He sings, he dances and he talks with his audience, seeming to thrive on their appreciation of this man and his music.
Four women ranging from the ages of 66 to 40 shared in this adventure. While we have known each other for a little over 18 months, we have become family, all in the name of Rod Stewart. The friends that we got to reunite with while attending this session of concerts will be friends forever, making plans to travel to visit each other in the year to come.
To the members of Rod’s band, thank you for being so gracious to us. J’Anna thank you so much for making a dream come true with your visit to Shlomo Sharon. To the beautiful Di and Lucy, thank you for coming by for a visit – it was wonderful to see each of you again. To Conrad – a special thank you for your visit with the Angels and for signing our shirts and the special gift for “our star” – Brian Gibson. And Emerson – thank you for the surprise visit and for signing our shirts as well. Each of you have been, and continue to be, so kind to us and it is much appreciated. We consider each of you our family as well.
To you, Rod Stewart (our “Smiler”), thank you for being a part of our lives, which has brought this fan so much joy and happiness and filled my life with lifetime friends. You have taken “away all of my sadness, filled my heart with gladness………..eased my troubles…………….that’s what you do.”
Review By Ginni Foxx
Photos By Ginni Foxx
Montage BY Tommy Kevitt