Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rod Stewart Concert at HP Pavilion in San Jose

In fuchsia jacket the 'Ole Rocker with rooster hair and raspy voice crooned, 'Some guys have all the luck, some guys have all the pain....'

And Rod Stewart was back, performing to a rapturous welcome from thousands of fans in the HP Pavilion at San Jose last night.

Other old favourites followed, It's a Heartache, which was Bonnie Tyler's hit, and then This Old Heart of Mine. Up on the jumbutron, as Rod sang, was a Motown tribute featuring clips of many of the artists in their younger days. The song had

first been recorded by The Isley Brothers, was covered by Rod, and re-recorded very successfully as a duet by Rod and Ronald Isley in 1990.

Next came the pathos-loaded Cat Stevens' song, The First Cut is the Deepest. By then, Rod had the audience on their feet, rocking and swaying and

waving hands gripping pic-taking phones.

But before there was even a glimpse of Rod, was a cartoon version of Rod the Terminator, known as the Rodminator!

The show was fun, a mix of favourite songs, video clips including some of his beloved Celtic Football Club, great individual performances from some of the backing band, and an unexpected star turn from his 22-year-old daughter, Ruby.

Ruby, daughter of model Kelly Emberg, exuded personality as she strode the stage and belted out Son of a Preacher Man and Rescue Me, the second song particularly suited to her voice, and the audience showed their appreciation.

'I want to say "thank you" to my father,' Ruby said after her performance, for the opportunity she had had to sing. Returning to the stage, Rod said how proud he was of her and added that he was proud of all six of his children.

After four songs, Rod sat on a stool and launched into 'Having a Party,' a song that was 'sung by my personal idol, the late great Sam Cooke', whom he had listened to while he was growing up.

The show was as much about nostalgia as great performance. With Rod having turned 64 in January, there was less of the old Rod from yesteryear. Still a performer to woo his audience, there were subtle signs of a slowing down. Less of the wild dancing, and breaks for costume changes filled by the other performers.

After his own song of You Wear it Well, he sung Downtown Train, with drum solos from David Palmer and Matt O'Connor that had the audience wildly applauding.

Back on stage, Rod in white jacket opened up with Tonight's the Night, a song which he combined with another great love, Celtic Football Club. To the lilt of 'ain't nobody gonna stop us now' there was video of the Scottish team, kitted in green and white, as they scored triumphantly and held aloft a coveted silver trophy!

Circling a drum were the words, 'The Celtic Football Club, 1888'. Footballing memorabilia is a hint of Rod's brief professional career with London's Brentwood Football Club. Fortunately, the musical world won him over.

His three vocalists showed off the power and range of their voices, singing Rhythm of My Heart, with Rod, an ode to his Scottish heritage accompanied by the sound of bagpipes, and later, the Ike and Tina Turner hit, Proud Mary. Also on stage were saxophonist Katja Rieckermann and violinist J"Anna Jacoby.

A trio of rock songs followed, Twistin' the Night Away, written and recorded first by Sam Cooke and recorded twice by Rod, Forever Young, and Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roller.

And then the inevitable for us happened. It wasn't Love Train but Last Train. There were six songs to go, and Maggie May was the last, said the usher as she opened the door for us.

I could only imagine the rest as we sat on the train rolling into the night. With it's unmistakable strains of the mandolin.......'you stole my soul and that's a pain I can do without.' The roar of the chorus as thousands of voices join him, 'Maggie! I wish I'd never seen your face!'......

Poor Maggie! The face that millions the world over wish they'd never seen. But without it, Rod Stewart wouldn't be Rod Stewart!!!

I also left behind in the seat next to me, Norma, a 78-year-old San Franciscan who rocks! Norma, like many of the audience, remembers Rod from the start of his career.

Does she have a favourite song?

''I don't have a favourite song. I like them all, there's something about everything, when you like someone, you find something in it - the song - that you like. His tone is mellow', she went on. 'He's soft, he's not screeching at you.'

Age is irrelevant to Norma. 'I'm 78 and I want to keep going!' she said.

For more pics from Chris click here:

pics show: Rod on screen and below, on stage with some of his band and backing vocalists; Ruby, his 22-year-old daughter; fans Gary and his 'rocker' of a mum, Norma

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