Gig review: Rod Stewart at First Direct Arena, Leeds

On Wednesday evening I went to the First Direct Arena with my sister to see Rod Stewart perform a hit-laden set of classic tracks by the ex-Faces frontman.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 12th December 2019, 4:17 pm
Rod Stewart. Picture: Rankin
Rod Stewart. Picture: Rankin

Decking the stage out in Vegas-style casino backdrops, Second World War montages and even a video of Stewart’s personal model railway, the 74-year-old crooner played a two hour setlist including a moment of subdued calm during a four track acoustic session at the mid-point.

Costume changes, drums solos, saxophone solos, balloons and glitz and glamour were the evenings main order, Stewart showing no sign of his years, his vocals and physicality that of a man half his age.

It Takes Two, the recent hit cover with Robbie Williams – this evening sans the former Take That star – was given the full big band treatment, along with electric and vivacious performances of Sam Cooke covers, Tom Waits’ Downtown Train (with model railway accompaniment) and the popular all-time greats First Cut Is The Deepest, Da Ya Think I’m Sexy and Maggie May.

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The whole audience were on their feet throughout the night, joining Stewart in call and response choruses bringing the whole house to tears with the curtain call of Sailing.

I (metaphorically) held my late mum’s hand throughout the performance. Rock in peace, mum. This one’s for you.