red lights

Rod's Hits Still a
Reason to Believe

Rod Stewart
U.S. Cellular Arena
Milwaukee, WI
Nov. 2, 2001
Rod Stewart
Rod wears it well.

Review and Photos by Terry Mayer

With a video link to his dressing room shown on three large screens outside, fans of Rod Stewart were treated to a bit of a "real world" teaser. No nudity of course, Rod is getting older, you know. The middle aged fans that made up the majority of the crowd got a chance to see Rod going through his rehearsal exercises and blow drying his signature spiky, blonde hair into some disordered order. The backstage antics juiced the fans up in anticipation. Many have been admirers of his ever since he was with the Faces back in the early seventies.
Rod Stewart Stewart deftly slid into "Angel" by Jimi Hendrix which he mentioned "was as old as another song he would perform later." Wink, wink. Stewart got down on his knees and passionately pled to the audience as his silhouette was strangely contrasted with boring clips from the movie "Charlie's Angels."
The love song "Rhythm of My Heart" soon followed where Stewart captured the sweet harmonies and imprisoned them within his soulful balladeering. The song featured a fluid string section and back-up band with singers that provided the necessary anchor to his rather beat-up and boozed out vocals. Images of the American and British flags flew hand in hand with Stewart superimposed over them. Patriotism is not only for the common folk. He then followed with a jacked-up fifties style on "Stay With Me," in which he exclaimed "Lets do some three chord rock and roll." In between the lyrics soccer balls, that were autographed by Stewart before the show, were tossed onto the stage. This is signature Rod Stewart in concert. After all he is an avid soccer player (he used to play professionally). Stewart did a little dribbling and then kicked them deep into the audience where the fans went after the balls like sharks to chum. On "Downtown Train" things slowed down a bit so we could hear Rod's soulful and raspy voice kick in. Midway through the song he walked down the center of the stage to the women in the first few rows, as cameras flashed into a great electric storm. They fought with a fervor to touch Rod like lionesses fighting over a fresh kill. The song finished with an electric sax solo which is signature to almost every Rod Stewart song. Continuing the slow and sexy mood on "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You," he failed to hit the last note, but was still able to joke about it afterwards.
The ubiquitous "Maggie May" followed next. What can you say about this song? It's almost as overplayed and oversatured as Led Zeppelins' "Stairway to Heaven." Great songs after to many listenings eventually lose their appeal. This didn't phase this crowd though who felt obliged to stand on their chairs and sing all the verses throughout the whole song. Stewart, perhaps getting a bit older these days at 56, took a bit of a break. The second set was just has good as the first with a memorial performance on "Forever Young." Other favorites flew by, numbing the mind that Rod Stewart actually had this many hits like "Reason to Believe," "Tonight I'm Yours," "Infatuation," "Some Guys Have All the Luck" and "Tonight's the Night."
The concert was more of a greatest hits night, but considering all the hits he has had over the past four decades, that's all right. Of course, he hasn't had any new hits in a few years, so you can't blame the man for playing it safe. From the reactions of the audience they didn't mind either.

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