Rod Stewart @ NIA, 22nd May 2010


After various issues with the guest list we finally make it into the NIA, unfortunately, as Rod Stewart hasn’t got a support for this show, we missed the first couple of songs. Needless to say, he is in full swing by the time we reach our seats, working the near capacity audience with apparent ease, as the majority are already standing up with a number, dancing in the aisles.

Rod is cruising the stage in a vibrant orange jacket, belting out You Wear It Well, reaching every single person in the arena and drawing them. Instantly, you can tell this man is a master of his craft, comfortable enough to crack jokes with an obvious glint in his eye which sends a large proportion of the female audience giddy at the knees. In fact, when he undoes his tie and a few buttons of his shirt, we see one woman have to be carried out, which is not bad going for someone who is entitled to a free bus pass! The set is made up of Rod’s hits spread over the last four decades or more, including a number of cover versions, that he has also become famous for, including The Isley Brothers’ This Old Heart of Mine. Rhythm of My Heart is greeted with rapturous applause, as Rod proudly demonstrates his Scottish heritage and ends mocking his lack of vocal range compared with the three backing vocalists, who continue the set with Hangin’ On whilst Rod makes a swift clothes change.

Stewart returns to the stage for another cover version, this time Van Morrison’s Have I Told You Lately that he wraps his raspy tones around before leading beautifully into Handbags and Gladrags. Despite the slower pace of the songs, Rod still manages to work the audience; however the violinist ruined this track for me, as the microphone picked up her bow movements and didn’t transmit the warmth of sound needed, to be honest she would be better playing an electric violin in such a big venue. The Faces’ classic Stay With Me is the highlight of this first half, this song demonstrates that Rod’s vocals are made to rock and you can see the enjoyment on his face as gets the arena up and dancing, needless to say the glint returns. After I Was Only Joking, which Rod movingly dedicates to his father with a selection of images to match, there is a brief intermission.

The second half sees Rod in a shiny blue jacket and tie, start with The Four Tops’ It’s The Same Old Song, which is the opening track from his latest album Soulbook. The pace of the tracks increase through Twistin’ The Night Away to the infamous Da Ya Think I’m Sexy. Yet again Stewart rocks the place, everyone is up dancing and singing at the top of their voices, to the point where Rod has to let the audience take the song further with more “doo doos” then he anticipated. The low key yet sexual dance moves and lyrical content of the song, does leave me a little concerned about the physical well being of some of the more mature female members of the audience, fortunately, I didn’t see any more need medical treatment. This disco classic leads into an instrumental track, Soulfinger, whilst Stewart has another brief change of clothes. In fairness, the arena is sweltering and the energy that Stewart puts into his performance plus he bright lights must leave him incredibly sweaty, but instead of hiding this he acknowledges the fact with more wit noting that he is off “to change his drawers”.

The set slows down with the Cat Stevens’ track, “The First Cut is the Deepest” and Crazy Horse’s “I Don’t Want To Talk About It”, both of which “croontastic”. You can sense the end is near as the Stewart launches into You’re In My Heart followed by a clip of a dog performing various antics whilst asleep that obviously has amused Stewart, which is then proceeded by photos of Rod in drag demonstrating, of course, that he has Hot Legs! Another great track from the 70’s which shows Stewart at his best, in addition to the fact that he manages to kick a number of signed footballs into the crowd whilst keeping his vocals on course. The final song of the set is the classic Maggie May, which was purely beautiful and makes me wish that Stewart wrote more songs and performed less covers, as it his own music that has stood out for me throughout the show. The two song encore is Sailing, with its anthemic nature has the whole audience swaying, and Baby Jane, with its 80’s pop cheese has everyone in the arena leaving on a high.

I have to admit that I never thought I would enjoy seeing Rod Stewart as much as I did. He is true performer, who clearly loves to be onstage, with a wicked sense of humour and a truly unique vocal style that had the audience raising the roof of the NIA from start to finish.

Review – Toni Woodward

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6 thoughts on “Rod Stewart @ NIA, 22nd May 2010

  1. Good review, Saw him on the 26th May at the MEN and he certainly performed brilliantly thanks for the set list as I couldn’t find it anywhere. My mepory is ailling a nd cannot for the life of me remember his opener. Any clues as to where I may get the complete set list for that date…..?

  2. Thanks David, sorry I don’t have a clue as doesn’t seem to have it. Maybe try and access some local reviews as the chances are that they will mention the first track at least.

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