Although essentially touting the same pastiche Motown revue with Las Vegas trimmings that he was been touring for years, there was a greater sense of scale about Rod Stewart’s latest show with its huge wall of screens and maximalist visuals.
Rod Stewart, Hydro, Glasgow ***
Sir Rod instructed the audience to “pace yourselves” for the two hour show, though this could have been a note to self. Fortunately, there was a lengthy “acoustic” interlude in the middle of the set and a seat literally with his name on it. Meanwhile, his satin-suited band and multi-tasking backing singers were all briefed for the party and contributed greatly to maintaining energy levels, leaving Stewart to handle the bonhomie and the singing with practised expertise.
The material ranged widely in style and quality. A blaring It Takes Two, the cabaret blues of Rollin and Tumblin and bombastic Rhythm of My Heart, complete with Churchill sample, contrasted with The Killing of Georgie, his song of solidarity for a gay friend, and the evergreen wistfulness of Maggie May and I Don’t Want to Talk About It.
His Celtic roots were referenced sentimentally on Irish ballad Grace and Celtic FC anthem You’re In My Heart and he hit a sweeter spot with tender renditions of Ewan MacColl’s Dirty Old Town and Van Morrison’s Have I Told You Lately.
But there was something equally satisfying about the agreeable cheese of Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and Baby Jane and the lighter-waving emotion of Sailing, suggesting there is a little bit of something for everyone in Rod’s mixed bag. Fiona Shepherd