Posted On 8/8/2012
On Tuesday, July 24, 2012, Rod Stewart stopped his Heart and Soul Tour in Nashville, TN for a performance at the Bridgestone Arena. Rod mentioned this was his first visit to Nashville since 2004. The packed house proved that Nashville loves Rod Stewart and was willing to pay a hefty price to see him perform in concert. Mike Arnold was invited to cover this rare event and as a long time Rod Stewart fan, he was more than pleased to attend! Enjoy his concert review as he steps through the evening’s set list.
Written by Mike Arnold
As I made my way down to the arena to pick up my ticket, I glanced at the seat section and row and knew I had a good seat, but I didn’t realize the seat was in a great location. My seat was at the end section of stage left, practically on the side of the stage. The view was excellent, but I didn’t know that Rod Stewart was going to spend most of the night singing, dancing, and cutting up with us right in front of me! He is one of a few performers that has the ability to interact with his audience as if we were old friends and he was glad to see us again! I would say Bruce Springsteen is another performer with the same skills. Rod can take a 20,000 seat arena and make you feel like you’re at his party and wants to make sure you are having a great time.
After opening act Stevie Nicks ended her set, a huge curtain came down to cover the entire area of the stage. On the front side of the curtain it read, “Rod Stewart”. On the sides of the curtain, it was a thank you for being at the show and that this train will leave on time. So at 9:00pm the arena lights went down as we listened to the piped in intro music of the 60’s jazz classic, “The Stripper”. Once the song completed, the huge curtain was lifted up and before us was the transformed stage from Stevie Nick’s dark setup into Rod Stewart’s completely white stage setup. The band consisting of keyboards, drummer, percussionist, two guitars, bass, a horn section, were performing the opening number. The band members were dressed in grey suits and ties. While the mixed gender horn section was dressed in pink. While our senses were focused on the visuals of the stage (with two video screens – one tall rectangle shape in the middle and one huge square shape in the back and as wide as the entire stage), out strutted the female background vocalists dressed in pink short dresses. As they were dancing to the music provided by band. Then out walked Rod Stewart dressed in a pink jacket with tie, and wearing dark shirt and slacks… and the crowd erupted! To answer the number one question people have asked me since this concert… yes his hair was also done up right! Rod grabbed his white microphone to begin singing the first song of the night, the 70’s hit from The O’Jays, “Love Train”. I was super excited at this point. To me the beginning of a concert is very important in order to get control of the crowd… and he did it right! After the song ended the band continued into the second song of the evening, “Tonight’s The Night”. There were points in this song when the band would stop and Rod would point at the crowd for all of us to sing the next line… and we did! This is a lesson that bands need to learn. If the band wants the audience to sing, then don’t play or sing over them so you can’t hear them.
Rod Stewart now addressed the attendees by saying, “Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen! We are going to be playing for about a hour and a half… Or longer if you wish!” He mentioned that he hasn’t played in Nashville since 2004. He then slapped the top of his left hand several times as if he was being punished. Rod expressed how he noticed how much the city has grown since he was in town last. He said let’s carry on with the show and mentioned, “Here’s one from Sam Cooke.”, but the band members began playing another song, so Rod said real quick, “Oh this is not Sam Cooke yet!” and he continued with “Some Guys Have All The Luck”. To Rod’s defense on confusing the songs, the set list was changed to include “Tonight’s The Night” as the second song instead of being in the middle of the set. Then Rod said, “Here’s Sam Cooke!” as they band began the fun song, “Having A Party”.
Rod Stewart began telling us a story of this next song on how he and Ronnie Wood, now playing with The Rolling Stones, wrote a song in Ronnie’s mum’s basement. They performed the song, “You Wear It Well”. Rod expressed, “It’s Hot in the Ole’ Town Tonight!” The show continued with a number from 1991, “Rhythm Of My Heart”. Rod mentioned again, “It’s Hot In Nashville!”. Then added, “It’s time to run!” and he took off running all over his huge stage during the song, “Young Turks”. Rod took some time to show us photos on the video screen of his children and his grand-children before stating, “Let’s All Stay Young!” as the band began “Forever Young”. We could hear the crowd singing along with him and he encouraged it. One of his horn players displayed their skills on the trumpet to introduce the song Rod recorded with Jeff Beck, “Downtown Train”.
Rod introduced some local musicians that were helping out on strings for this next section of songs and told us all to sit down. He joked, “You paid enough for these expensive seats, you might as well use them!” (Actually, this wasn’t a joke at all. The lower level seats went for nearly $200). Some of the road crew brought chairs out and placed them in a semi-circle in the front, middle section of the stage for the musicians and singers as they prepared for the softer acoustic set beginning with a Van Morrison tune, “Have I Told You Lately (That I Love You)”, continuing with a Cat Stevens song, “The First Cut Is The Deepest”, a song that Rod mentioned was a huge hit in Europe, but not really here, “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It”, and ending the acoustic set with a Faces song that he said was written by Ronnie Lane, “Ooh La La”. He mentioned that Ronnie is no longer with us (as he pointed straight up), “He’s gone upstairs!”
It was time to get back to the rockin’ Rod Stewart as the road crew remove the chairs, the guest string musicians leave the stage, and Rod asked, “Are You Ready? (pause for audience reaction) Let’s Go!” The lead guitarist took over with the Chuck Berry riff of “Sweet Little Rock and Roller” and Rod Stewart was back to his energetic antics again, not to mention those in the entire arena jumping to their feet! After this song is when we received a special treat without the star of the show. Rod introduced one of his backup singers and left the stage. This young lady took control of the front and center of the stage and began to introduce a song just like Tina Turner did in the days of her youth. While she slowly talked through this introduction, the keyboardist portrayed the deep vocals of Ike Turner as the band and singers performed an excellent Ike and Tina Turner version of “Proud Mary”. Tina herself would be proud of not only this lady’s singing ability, but also her dancing! May I say the crowd went WILD! In fact some millionaire should put together a Broadway Musical of Tina Turner and have this lady play Tina’s part.
As the show continued, Rod Stewart returned to the stage in a different wardrobe. He was wearing white jeans, white shirt, white belt, white tennis shoes, and the ugliest paisley jacket I’ve ever seen! Rod asked, “Good Night Tonight?” Then continued with the next song, “You’re In My Heart”, as he once again pointed to the audience to take over the singing at certain times throughout the song (again with the band stopping or bringing down the volume so we could all hear the fans singing).
Rod introduced a funny video of one of the road crew’s dog actually having a dream (or it could have been a nightmare) as the dog was sleeping on its side. The dog began moving its legs as if it was chasing a car. It even started barking and eventually woke itself up looking all confused… Strange! The Rod showed a couple of embarrassing photos of himself dressed in his wife’s outfits (along with high heels and makeup – one photo with a wig!). He said to the audience, “You may be wondering why I would put my wife’s outfits on. Well… it’s because she’s been reading this book called, ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’!” The audience roared! I suppose he wanted to show of his legs as an introduction to the next song, “Hot Legs”. As soon as the band began playing the rockin’ hit, the road crew rolled out and threw him soccer balls, autographed by him, as he tossed and kicked the souvenirs to the members in the crowd throughout the entire song. Even though Rod is 67 years old, he could still kick the soccer balls to the upper balcony and to the back of the arena. Oh by the way, he is singing the song while he’s doing this…Very Impressive!
Rod mentioned there’s one more he wants to do tonight. At this time of the show most of the male band members were wearing plaid jackets to go along with Rod’s biggest hit, “Maggie May”. Rod and the band members waved, thanked everyone, and the huge curtain slowly cam down to cover the entire stage area. The crowd yelled for more and in a couple of minutes, they got it. We heard the familiar trumpet sound of ‘Off to the Races’ as if there was a horse race about to begin, as the curtain slowly raised to see the band members once again. There was a magazine article displayed on the center screen with a quote by Rod Stewart, “I can’t see myself singing, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” when I’m 50 years old.”… But he did as an encore! Rod walked out on the stage wearing a cowboy hat and cutting up with those he got acquainted with throughout the evening, including the lady in front of me, whom he waved at and teased all night. I’m sure she’s still telling everyone about it. Everyone was dancing and singing along, as we all knew he fun was about to come to an end… and it did. The song ended, the entertainers waved, Rod Stewart thanked us once again, said goodnight, and the curtains slowly camr back down to cover the entire stage for the final time.
If I’m not careful, I can catch myself giving my favorite artists the best Concert Blast Scale rating, so I need to take it slow and ask myself the usual questions as I rate bands Check! … Interacted with the audience members? Check! … Got the crowd to sing? Check! … Had a fun band? Check! … Didn’t take time to tune in between songs? Check! … Didn’t bore us with long stories? Check! … Left us wanting more? Check! Check! Check! Therefore I will give Rod Stewart a 9.8 (out of 10). What was wrong? During the acoustic set, I wanted to hear “Gasoline Alley” instead of “Ooh La La” and he should have closed the night with one more song, “Twistin’ The Night Away”. That would have been a great finish! I would definitely see Rod Stewart again if I had the chance and I highly suggest you do the same. Special Thanks to concert promoters National Shows 2 and Rod Stewart’s management for the invitation to cover this event. I brought my wife along to take the photos and we both loved the trip back to the 80s!
Written by Mike Arnold
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Tags: 70s Rock, 80s rock, blog, Bridgestone Arena, classic rock, concert blast, concertblast, Faces, Heart and Soul Tour, Mike Arnold, Nashville, Rod Stewart In Concert, Ronnie Lane, Ronnie Wood, Stevie Nicks, TN