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Rod Stewart
A Concert Review

July 19, 2001

The Tweeter Center

Tinley Park, IL

A Review and Photo by
The Dude on the Right
With Quips by Stu Gotz
A review in many partsÖ

"What the hell am I supposed to do?"
As the day was going on I sort of dreaded going to see Rod Stewart. It wasnít because I wasnít excited to see Mr. Stewart, hell no. It was simply that around noon the weather was already hot and steamy and I knew the pavilion at The Tweeter Center in suburban Chicago would be sweltering. Then I got to the venue and sure, it was hot, but there was a nice breeze blowing across the parking lot so there was hope in the air that the show would be good, but also bearable.

7:30 rolls around and Iím escorted to the photo area where I knew I probably wouldnít get a good shot because we were back by the soundboard. Oh well, "Do what you can," I always say. And then the time lingers, and lingers, and lingers.

Finally itís about 8:15 and this dude comes up to me. "Are you from The Tribune? The Sun Times? Where are you from? Oh hell, I just want to complain that the tickets say the show was supposed to start at 7:30, I got here at 6:00, and the show hasnít started yet." I retort, "I was told Rod was going on about 8. I guess heís running a littleÖ" where I was rudely interrupted by the dude pointing at his watch, "The show was supposed to start at 7:30." "Hey, maybe heís making sure everyone gets into the..." "My ticket says 7:30." And after going back and forth with this guy who wouldnít listen to me I just gave him this look and he finally went away. Thinking to myself "Dude, what the hell are you complaining to me for? What the hell am I supposed to do, run backstage and tell Rod to hurry up because youíre an impatient prick? Me, Iím just disappointed because we couldnít shoot pictures from the stage," and then, low and behold the show intro starts with Rod on the video screens, supposedly from backstage, signing some soccer balls, ironing his shirt, sipping on some beverage, and getting ready to start the show.

Then it was showtime.  
From a saying Iím stealing for my own, it was hotter than a horny toad in heat as the breeze disappeared and The Tweeter Center turned into a sauna. But that didnít stop Rod Stewart from putting on a show knowing that he may have lost a step or two, but even with a new CD, "Human," out in the stores, well, Rod knew he could dabble a little with the new stuff if he wanted to, hell, Iím not ever sure he did dabble with any new stuff at this show, but it was the hits that the crowd was mostly there for. And the crowd got a lot of them.

Opening with the trio of "Handbags & Gladrags," "The First Cut is the Deepest," and "Reason to Believe," it was obvious Rod was going to stretch his set-list far and wide to please his oldest to youngest fans. Me, I think Iím kinda in the middle of that group, so as Rod went from songs like "Infatuation" to covering the Facesí song "Stay With Me," well, somehow I still remembered all of them, but probably more importantly, so did everyone else as sing-a-longs were most prevalent on as many songs that Rod would let the crowd join in. And he let people join in a lot, especially on the classic favorite of "Maggie May" towards the middle of the show, "Forever Young" which gave the crowd a little sit-down rest after "Rocks", and the sing-a-long and clap-a-long "Hot Legs." And as much as crowd participation played a role in keeping this show moving along, Rod Stewart utilized his backing band to as much potential as possible.

And how did he use them? Well, there were many a time during the 2 Ĺ hour show where Rod would just disappear offstage leaving the band to do some extended soloing (but who doesnít like a great bass or sax solo?). Most of the times it seemed Rod did a costume change because from his casual attire to denim outfit, well, Rod set the tone with the clothes as much as possible, but other times it just looked like Rod needed a breather, and who could blame him? There he was, not the young whipper-snapper anymore, on a night hotter than a witches armpit, still doing his best to bounce around, spin around, kick soccer balls, and work the entire Tweeter stage so that every person could have a good time. He also used the band a little more towards the end of the show, letting the dudette back-up singers do an appropriate-for-this-night cover of "Heat Wave", but also letting the singers fill in a little more on songs like "This Old Heart of Mine" and "Weíre Haviní a Party" as Rodís voice started to give just a little. But you know what Ė I didnít care, nor do I think did any of the people in the crowd as everyone kept singing and dancing and just having a good old time all the way through his encore of "Tonight Iím Yours" which, for me, had too many flashbacks coming in fast as freshman year of high school just came screaming back.

This Dude is a Little Confused...
This was my first time seeing Rod Stewart and I must say I was not disappointed, although some things confused me a little. First off there was the soccer ball thing. Call me an uneducated reviewer, but Iím guessing Rod is a huge soccer fan. I can only surmise this from things like the video montage during "Youíre In My Heart," where he also got a soccer ball lei from a fan, to the kicking of soccer balls into the audience throughout the show leading to worse scrambles than I think there were for Mark McGwireís historic homerun ball. Another thing that confused me a little was the John Deere work truck that was on stage. It didnít seem like a stage prop, it almost seemed like it was left there by accident. It just looked out of place.

And then there was the stage crasher.

I know Rod had no control of this dudette, but she needs to learn a thing or two about actually getting to her favorite artist. This dudette, she somehow climbed the ramp, got past the security dude there, and was making her way towards Rod at the middle of the stage. She was in slow motion, and in slow motion enough that a security dude had time to come all the way across from the other side of the stage to stop her before she even had a chance to get close to Rod. It was one of those "I canít believe Iím actually on stage" moments where she forgot her goal Ė to hug Rod Stewart, and sadly, she never made it. Iím listening to Rod singing "Weíre Haviní a Party" and this dudette was, well, just swinginí, danciní to the music, of the Rod Stewart show, just a little too much. Oh well.

The Dude on the Right's Rating...
So Iíll wrap up my portion of this review by saying that I know Rod may have lost a step or two, but hell, the man still rocks. He works to make every fan happy, from the old mamaís to the little girls offering him a rose. A great performer, and you know I like a great performer, but more importantly the folks that came to see him just seemed to have a blast. Itís TWO "Watch Out For Flying Soccer Balls" THUMBS UP for Rod Stewart from this Dude.  And now for some...

Random Thoughts and Quips from Stu GotzÖ
Letís face itÖ The Dude on the Right is good at writing concert reviews as well as taking pictures. He has no problem fully, and sometimes longwindedly but never pretentiously, explaining the dynamics of a show. Me on the other hand, well Iím all about instant gratification. My philosophy is "get to the point" and "ínuff said." So with that in mindÖ

Aging Rockers and the Energizer Bunny:  What do they have in common?
What is with rock and roll stars? Do they ever quit? The day of Rodís show my dog got sick. The vet said I could come in at 7pm. I asked the Doc if we could do it earlier because I was going to Rodís show. "Rod Stewart? Isnít he dead?" was her comment before telling me to come in right away. Is that what people really think? Even the Comedy Central show "South Park" poked fun at Rodís age by depicting him as a liver spotted old man in a wheelchair pooping in his pants? Now I know Rod is getting up there, but I certainly never thought he was dead.

Carded and Denied at the Leather Pants Store?
In getting ready for this concert I dug out an old Rod Stewart record (a what you ask?) and a CD. I took a long hard look at the cover art and pictures contained within. Based on this I fully expected Rod to show up on stage in tight leather pants, with a sock stuffed in strategically, and his shirt unbuttoned. Much to my surprise Rod entered the stage in appropriately fitting black kakis and his shirt tucked in with only the bottom two buttons buttoned. Has Rod become modest in his older age? Wow! Hey Mick Jagger, if youíre reading this please take notice.

I Hope He Was Just Trying to Dance Like the Rest of the CrowdÖ
Like I said, Rodís getting a little long in the tooth, but the ole boy still gets up and goes. I think the reason he can put on a better than 2 hour show is because his band and back-up singers help out a lot on stage by taking the spotlight for a minute or two. This allows Rod to have a sip of water and such. Anyway, during one of the spotlight breaks, the male back-up singer was bouncing around on stage. He was doing what I call the "white boy, aerobic, two-step bounce and kick." You know what IĎm talking about, donít you? Did you ever see Eddie Murphy in "Raw?" Remember when he makes fun of how white people dance? Well thatís what this male, back-up singer was doing, except he wasnít white. Maybe he wasnít from this side of the pond, or maybe he was just trying to dance like most of the dudes in the audience, but in any case I think Eddie Murphy might have been disappointed in his dancing ability.

When it is all said and doneÖ
Call him an old man if you must, but I hope I can still rock and kick the shit out of a soccer ball when I get to Rodís age. His show isnít filled with pyrotechnics, lasers, or any other kind of gimmicky crap. Itís all about the music these days, although it seems at a little slower tempo from the original recordings.

Rod has aged well and still entertains his audience by performing the songs they know by heart. For that I give Rod the ole BIG THUMB UP and Iím Stu Gotz. 'Nuff said.

The Dude on the Right's Final Thoughts...
I liked Rod Stewart and so did Stu Gotz, and on this night that was hotter than a pizza shop in summertime, well, we both were duly impressed at Rod keeping things going even while saying things to the crowd like "Please have a seat and rest your weary bones."  From the things I've heard before and after seeing him live, well, he is just a great performer, even with, what I think, was a lyric monitor (I caught a reflection of scrolling words off of the the drummer's plastic bubble).  I've seen the best of them use one, and who really gives a shit as long as the show was great, and Rod Stewart put on a great show.  He may have lost a step but his hair is still a mess!  What more do you want?

That's it for this one!  I'm The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

 

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