Rock and rolling back the years, Rod is still hot stuff at 74
Sir Rod Stewart (SSE Hydro, Glasgow)
Barnstorming brilliance ★★★★✩
FOR Sir rod Stewart fans in Scotland, news that a throat infection had put the kibosh on the 74year old superstar performing at the royal Variety performance in London earlier this month, ahead of a string of dates in his adopted homeland, was cause for grave concern.
As it was, he did not have to cancel and the buzz at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro on Tuesday was at fever pitch for the first of three nights Sir roderick will be playing in the city, ahead of appearing in Aberdeen.
With the packed arena awash with more tartan trews, bunnets, and scarves than a Bay City rollers reunion – and more Celtic colours than you’d find in The Hoops Bar – the scene was set for a blistering night. And so it proved.
Arriving on stage to the skirl of the pipes, dressed in a yellow tartan jacket and gold hi-tops, supported by a slew of female backing singers/musicians in eye-popping frilly mini-dresses, it was straight into a lively rendition of 80s hit Some Guys Have All The Luck, quickly followed by a cover of Motown classic It Takes Two. Everyone was on their feet from the get-go.
The barnstorming, age-defying, two-hour singalong took in hits from a songbook stretching over 31 albums – from Dirty old Town taken from 1969’s An old raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down, to the beautiful Irish folk song Grace from last year’s Blood red roses.
The iconic rocker (whose costume changes incorporated a sartorial timeline taking in leopard print, a shiny silver suit, and rod the Mod boating blazer elan), has lost none of his energy.
The hips might have creaked a bit as he swivelled them in a raucous and raspy You Wear It Well.
And he then crooned his way through memorable ballads such as a pitch-perfect Sailing and a wonderful The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II). Jokingly acknowledging his sexy backing singers – ‘If they’d been with the band 30 years ago there would have been hell to pay!’– at one point he even sat on one of their laps for a rest.
Sir rod would be the first to admit his voice was never the smoothest. But age has not withered it as much as some might have feared. And with the set stretching to more than 20 showstopping tunes, to pick out highlights seems almost churlish.
But a heart pumping D-Day commemoration rendition of rhythm of My Heart, set against a video backdrop of poppy fields, is a stirring, poignant touch.
Stay With Me was a punchy treat, while a pared-down and acoustic The First Cut Is The Deepest and I Don’t Wanna Talk About It hit the spot. Hell, even the disco pop-by-numbers of Baby Jane had me singing along.
‘Youth’s a mask and it don’t last’? Don’t you believe it. Sir rod’s still Forever Young.
Wearing well: Sir Rod on stage at the SSE Hydro