Rod Stewart Live At The RDS, Dublin Saturday 29th June 2013
The glint in Rod’s eye gives the sense that this will be an enjoyable performance. He is laid back, beginning with the Isley Brothers classic This Old Heart of Mine. Stewart, with his typical mod-style black and white suit, is covering the entire stage, switching on the old London charm throughout Tonight’s The Night. By the time he plays Sam Cooke’s Twistin’ The Night Away you could be forgiven for thinking you’re at a wedding reception, in fact you are, Stewart soon pointing out the bridal party in the front row to the crowd.
Before new song Can’t Stop Me Now he asks the crowd to pretend they know it to make him happy. It’s a nostalgic composition weighted in personal meaning and he delivers it earnestly. Stewart is visibly buoyed by the response and seems reinvigorated by the new material under his belt. Ever the stylish mod, he slips on a sequins jacket to sing the formerly blacklisted The Killing of Georgie. It’s a fitting song for Gay Pride Weekend.
Stewart’s tongue is planted fimly in cheek throughout Forever Young as the ageing singer does his patented march across the stage; disappearing during an extended drum break, returning in a glaring green suit just in time to finish the song.
This is where we get to appreciate Rod the Mod’s famed sense of humour. He points to the orchestra and says it’s “Looking a little like a cruise ship” with string instruments and ladies in very tight, very short dresses: “Nothing to do with me!” he says before warning them to close their legs. Only Rod Stewart can get away with this kind of banter.
The response to a brief acoustic set is phenomenal. Stewart is clearly lapping it up, giving the bride of the wedding party his yellow tie and claiming his version of Have I Told You Lately is better than Van Morrison’s version, and the audience are quick to agree.
The show is brimming with personal elements; pictures of his family, a cheerful song about his wife, Penny Lancaster-Stewart. One of the most touching moments happens during You’re in My Heart, when he dons a Celtic scarf while footage of Celtic’s historic win over Barcelona is mixed with footage of Stewart playing football. Afterall you can have many wives, but you can only have one team. He launches signed footballs into the crowd as the band segue into Hot Legs. It’s clear that this is a man who doesn’t take his fans for granted.
He restarts Baby Jane after singing slightly off-key, killing the second take with boundless energy, getting the crowd on its feet in the process. Sailing follows, before Do Ya Think I’m Sexy concludes the performance. Once again Rod Stewart displays that he is not afraid to laugh at himself as remarks he made about not wanting to play Do You Think I’m Sexy in his 50’s ring around the RDS.
It’s more of an experience than a concert. The atmosphere is swelling with positivity and joy as the audience never let up singing along. Meanwhile Rod the Mod displays a genuine enjoyment in making masses of people smile, sing and dance from hearing his music live. At 68 he is one of few living legends with a two and half hour, 22 song set. He offers more energy, passion, humour than many performers a third of his age.