Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Rod Stewart live in Brighton

As I have already mentioned back in July, Rod Stewart's “Absolutely Live” was my favourite live album until “Live 1975-85” by Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band came along. That was the main reason I had always wanted to see him live. I never did until this summer, though. At first, it was because, like several other artists who are getting older (Bryan Ferry comes to mind), he had discovered “the great American songbook” and I thought I would be disappointed. I didn't want to listen to that, I wanted to hear the old classics that were included on “Absolutely Live” (and several others that came before and after that album). Later I thought that he would probably not be fit enough to perform (he's older than Bruce you know). Well, I needn't worry. A couple of years ago, if I remember well, he toured Europe and played in Italy and everyone was stunned! Friends who had attended told me that at the end of his concerts he was shooting footballs from the stage to the crowd, even at indoor arenas! So, I decided that I had to go and see him. 
When the tour was announced at the beginning of the year, I looked through the dates and settled on an indoor concert in Paris. I bought the ticket, but much later, parliamentary elections were announced in Greece for that weekend. This pushed the price of plane tickets way up, since many Greek expats living in France would be coming back for the weekend in order to vote. I could not afford them, especially if I was to be able to make my other concert trip, the following week in England for the Happy Mondays. So, I tried something that has worked well in the past for me before. I looked to see whether there were any dates on that tour in the south of England on that next weekend. And I found that there was one in Hove the day before the Happy Mondays gig in Margate. Hove? “Where's that?”, I wondered until I realized that it was practically next to Brighton. In fact, it is one town, Brighton & Hove. I was delighted that I would have the chance to see Brighton again, 18 years after my last visit, while I was still at university! So I bought the ticket and started preparing for my English summer seaside holiday.
I arrived in Brighton one day before the concert so I had the chance to take a swim at the beach. Very refreshing, it gave me energy for the whole of the following year!

The following day, after doing more sightseeing, all I had to do was walk to the cricket ground. 

Because it is in a residential area the concert had to finish by 9pm, so it started really early. Of course the residents of the nearby flats took advantage of this fact and were watching the concert from their balconies, together with their guests!

First on stage were Johnnie Mac And The Faithful, handpicked by Rod himself as a support band. The music they play fitted perfectly with Rod's and they even treated us to a cover of “The Handbags And The Gladrags”.

Next up, in a fanfare with fireworks in broad daylight was Rod. Now, I think I had missed whatever had been billed as a “Greatest Hits” tour in the past, so I imagined that he was mainly going to promote his latest album “Blood Red Roses” and with luck I would get to hear some of the old favourites. Imagine my surprise then, when for just his second song of the night he launched into “Young Turks”, the song that had made me a Rod Stewart fan when I was 14!

He did exactly what I wanted him to do; he played almost all of “Absolutely Live”! And then some! “Tonight I'm Yours”, “Sailing”, “I Don't Want To Talk About It”, “Maggie May”, “Rhythm Of My Heart”, “You're In My Heart” and more; all the favourites were thrown in the mix! And “Grace”, from the new album was also brilliant and has now become a new favourite of mine. He did seem to have a bit of trouble hitting the high notes on “Baby Jane” but his backing singers more than compensated for it.

In fact he gave his backing band their own time to shine when they played Mark Knopfler's “Going Home (Theme From Local Hero)” and Fleetwood Mac's “Go Your Own Way” by themselves.

And he did seem to enjoy the whole thing, talking to the ladies in the audience (“Alright Mrs Jones?”) and even acknowledging the guys in the nearby houses who were enjoying the show for free.

No football kicks this time, but fittingly enough, he closed the show with “Stay With Me”. Just like “Absolutely Live”! The customary firework display at the end of the show was performed in broad daylight!

As, once again on foot, I was making my way back to Brighton, I was thinking that this had been something that I would like to experience again. Yes, I would go to see Rod Stewart live again, even if he was to deliver the exact same show!

01. Having A Party
02. Young Turks
03. Some Guys Have All The Luck
04. Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright)
05. Forever Young
06. Twistin' The Night Away
07. Rhythm Of My Heart
08. The Killing Of Georgie (Part I and II)
09. It Takes Two
10. Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me)
11. I'd Rather Go Blind
12. Rollin' And Tumblin'
13. Going Home (Theme From Local Hero) (band only)
14. Grace
15. I Don't Want To Talk About It
16. Dirty Old Town
17. Have I Told You Lately
18. Go Your Own Way (band only)
19. Baby Jane
20. Sailing
21. Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?
22. Maggie May
23. Stay With Me