Bramall Lane, Sheffield
15 June 2019
Rod Stewart was sublime, at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium on Saturday night, driving away the rain and throwing a party for his legions of fans on his Blood Red Roses tour
After a week of exceptionally heavy rain across the country, it began falling again a couple of hours before Sir Rod was due to take to the stage. Right on cue, the rain cleared in time for Rod’s explosive entrance, joining the band on stage behind a curtain of pyrotechnics as the audience rose to their feet. No one was going to sit this one out!
Rod launched straight into Infatuation and set the tone for the evening with a cover of Sam Cooke’s Having A Party. “We got lucky tonight,” said Rod. “I was watching you from my dressing room , sheltering from the rain, thinking ‘Poor beggars!’”
Rod paid tribute to those who gave us our freedom, celebrated by the recent D-Day anniversary.
The hits from Rod’s extensive catalogue flowed: Young Turks, Tonight’s The Night and Forever Young with a Celtic feel highlighted by his talented backing singers’ tap routine. Rod then paid tribute to the soldiers who gave us our freedom, celebrated by the recent D-Day anniversary. “I had the pleasure of meeting some of the veterans,” he said. “We owe them so much.” He then dedicated Rhythm Of My Heart to the vets which was accompanied by images of poppies and footage of the troops on the huge video wall, a heartfelt and moving tribute.
The video wall was a superb backdrop to the stage, image quality stunning, giving a fabulous show to all those seated further back in the stadium’s main stand, and synched perfectly to the sound, an issue that has plagued video walls through the years.
“After 3 marriages and 8 children, I’ve finally got it right!” proclaimed Rod. “My wife (Penny Lancaster) was born in 1971, then we gave you…” his breakthrough hit single Maggie May.
“Ronnie Wood and I recorded this, at Olympic Studios, in 2 takes – and 2 bottles of wine!”
Tonight I’m Yours provided a showcase for the percussion section, a drum solo from Dave Palmer, supported by percussionists Matt O’Connor and Julia Thornton, before Rod took us back to his Faces days with the Etta James cover I’d Rather Go Blind. “Ronnie Wood and I recorded this, at Olympic Studios, in 2 takes – and 2 bottles of wine!” Unfortunately, Rod hit a bad note, asked to start again and apologised. “It’s the cold air,” he said, “sometimes affects the throat!” Oh well, we are all human, including the legendary Rod Stewart. Composure regained, Rod delivered a beautiful rendition.
A quick tribute to Chuck Berry, Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Roller and time to highlight the band who played Mark Knopfler’s Going Home (The Theme From ‘Local Hero’) as Rod and his girls slipped off for a costume change before an acoustic set with the band seated across the front of the stage.
This was a chance to sing some of Rod’s memorable ballads, Every Beat Of My Heart, I Don’t Want To Talk About It and The First Cut is The Deepest featuring Julia Thornton’s beautiful harp playing.
“Congratulations to you lads (Sheffield United),” Rod exclaimed, “for getting to the Premiership!” Never-the-less, the audience was not exclusively Sheffield United fans and his comments met with a mixed reaction. “Oh dear, we have split loyalties!” he added. He also pointed out that The Blades would have some way to go to match his beloved Celtic, winners of 9 trophies in 3 years, as highlighted in the video backdrop to You’re In My Heart.
Another costume change and the pace picked up again, Rod looking fit and agile for his 74 years. All the classic Rod Stewart mannerisms were on show and his voice (above-mentioned hiccup apart) was in great form. The final set included another Sam Cooke cover Twisting The Night Away together with the classics Sailing and Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?
As Rod and the band returned for an encore of Baby Jane the weather, which had behaved impeccably throughout the show, finally gave in and gentle rain began to fall again. In a blaze of fireworks Rod and the band left the stage and the packed stadium made their way home happy. A truly memorable evening.
Having A Party
Some Guys Have All The Luck
Tonight’s The Night
Rhythm Of My Heart
The Killing of Georgie (Parts I and II)
Tonight I’m Yours
I’d Rather Go Blind
Sweet Little Rock ’n’ Roller
It Takes Two
Going Home (Theme From ‘Local Hero’) – Band only
Every Beat Of My Heart
I Don’t Want To Talk About It
The First Cut Is The Deepest
You’re In My Heart
Have I Told You Lately
She Works Hard For The Money – Band and backing vocalists
Twisting the Night Away
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy
Baby Jane – Encore