This year marks 50 years since the release of Sir Rod Stewart’s debut album. With a back catalogue so rich and so deep, it would be easy for the legendary artist to sit back on his laurels, but despite this he is still pushing himself both artistically and creatively, having released his impressive 30th studio album last year.

At the age of 74 ‘Rod the Mod’ is currently on an extensive world tour in support of his new album Blood Red Roses. Tonight he brings his spectacular live show to the recently rebranded Utilita Arena in Newcastle for his first date in the city in six years.

The whole room up on their feet as the man of the moment takes to the stage with his take on Sam Cooke’s Having A Party. Tonight’s set is decorated with classics that represent the legend’s vast songbook as well as his many influences. The likes of hit single Young Turks and The Faces classic Stay With Me both feature at the top of the show.

Sir Rod spares no expense as he brings a touch of Vegas showmanship to Tyneside. His theatrical and thoroughly entertaining production comes complete with a twelve piece musical ensemble, multiple costume changes, gargantuan video walls, a spot of Riverdance, as well as a troupe of versatile backing vocalists/dancers who have honed their craft in hit Broadway musicals.

Stewart pays homage to the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landing during a patriotic airing of Rhythm of my Heart before switching things up with an emotive rendition of The Killing of Georgie.

Sir Rod ups the tempo somewhat during a ferocious duet of It Takes Two, before paying tribute to soul legend Etta James with his spellbinding cover of the timeless classic I’d Rather Go Blind. Prior to the latter of which, Stewart reminisces on recording his version of the track with Ron Wood, stating it ‘took two takes and two bottles of wine’.

Of course, the rockers of the 60s and 70s were heavily influenced by the blues, and as a result, Sir Rod tips his hat to the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed and Muddy Waters before putting his own unique stamp on the Muddy’s Rollin and Tumblin.

Being a staunch Celtic fan Stewart is in a jovial mood as a result of his team’s progress in the Champions League. However, Newcastle Utd has not been so fortunate due to the recent departure of Rafa Benitez. When Stewart questions the arena about the possibility of the bookies favourite Steve Bruce taking over the hot seat at St James Park, the response seems less than favourable. However, a fitting performance of Mark Knopfler’s instrumental masterpiece Local Hero seems enough to lift their spirits.

With Sir Rod and his band, all bedecked in matching blue outfits, which by his own admittance is distressing if you are a Celtic supporter, collectively they take the crowd through a stripped back five-song acoustic segment. The crowd require no encouragement to sing wholeheartedly during I Don’t Walk To Talk About It. Likewise, Stewart himself is in fine voice, as he effortlessly hits both the high and sustained notes during Have I Told You Lately.

As the show races towards the finish line Sir Rod wheels out the big hitters with a run of back to back anthems in the shape of Baby Jane, Sailing and Do You Think I’m Sexy closing out the main set. However, we’re not done quite yet, of course, the show would not be complete without the unmistakable Maggie May.

Rock and roll is not just a job or a passion – its way of life and the genre certainly has its fair share of lifers. With a career spanning over 50 years, Sir Rod Stewart is still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.

Rod Stewart
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Event Date: 09-July-2019

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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