ONCE a legendary ladies' man, Rod Stewart is known to go for a certain look in a girlfriend.
And he seemed to be taking the mickey out of himself on stage on the first night of his European tour as he surrounded himself with a backing band of identical blondes all dressed in tight animal print bodysuits.
His first time on stage in three years, Rod joined them in an animal print bolero jacket tailored to cover what looked to be a slight paunch with the jacket being pulled together to close over it with a discreet metal chain.
He also wore military style dress trousers with a red flash down the sides and of course that extraordinary trademark hair, which he assures us is still his own.
At the age of 74, after a half century in the business and with thousands of girlfriends left in his wake, Rod, once known for his womanising ways, is now a committed family man with eight children.
He is married to the model and TV presenter Penny Lancaster, who was incidentally in the audience keeping a close eye on him in the tongue-in-cheek show at Bristol's Ashton Gate Stadium last night.
And it was a concert which at times seemed like it could have happened before the #MeToo campaign.
"Penny, who is here tonight, told me I must not swear" he told the sell-out appreciative audience at the start of the set. "Well I f***ed that up already".
Later as the opening bars of Maggie May began, he added: "I first released this song in the same year as Penny was born."
He added in rather ungentlemanly way: "At the time, I was busy out sha**ing".
For their part, Rod's blonde backing band proved to be there not just to look at. One played a harp, another drums, another the saxophone.
And perhaps to balance up the show a little and to stave off criticism in an era when it is so easy to offend, half way though the set, the blonde band was joined by the same number of male musicians in pink suits.
For his longevity and popular appeal, Rod is up there with the very best. Not quite as grizzled as Keith Richards, nor as squeaky clean as Sir Cliff.
He plays the rock star as if it's the only job he could have ever done. He appears not to have changed his mode, dress sense, choice of sports car and choice of female partner at all as the decades have gone on.
Yet it was reassuring to see he struggled to maintain that shock of blonde hair throughout an entire show.
It didn't escape notice that he went back stage no fewer than six times during the evening, while the band filled in for him.
He would leave stage left with lank floppy thinning 74-year-old's hair and return moments later with newly rejuvenated stand-on-end Rod Stewart hair. There was presumably a crimper waiting in the wings to spray, tease and blow-dry it back into shape.
Rod still knows how to entertain a crowd, rattling out all the big hits: Maggie May, First Cut is the Deepest, Rhythm of My Heart, We Are Sailing, Some Guys (Have All the Luck).
By the end, after night fell, the audience was a sea of tartan hats and scarves, either brought by fans or bought from ticket touts and unofficial merchandise sellers outside the football ground stadium.
Rod frustrated many in the audience by failing to appear until 9pm. One audience member – a seasoned fan – said: "He's getting old. He never had a warm up artist before. He never came on this late before. He's clearly done it so he only has to perform for 90 minutes before the curfew."
Indeed Rod did look a little out of puff from time to time and sat down for a few numbers in a way you'd never see Mick Jagger do. But then he is 74.
The late start of course meant that many of the crowd, who were aged mostly over 50, got stuck in to the bars early.
Spirits were high before Rod even got on stage. One scuffle broke out in the stands which saw a couple of smartly-dressed middle aged women ejected amid a flurry of hi-vis jackets.
With all those children and ex-wives to look after, it might be a while before Rod hangs up the mic. And by the look of him last night, he still has a few tours in him yet.
Source: Read Full Article