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  • Writer's pictureBill Hernandez

ROD STEWART PLAYS HARD ROCK LIVE TO A SOLD-OUT CROWD...

PRE-VALENTINES DAY CONCERT IS FILLED WITH ROD STEWART'S GREATEST HITS





HOLLYWOOD, FL. — Rod Stewart may be 77, but he’s still got enough swagger and sex appeal to keep baby boomers and even younger audience members swooning, as many fans did throughout his nearly two-hour performance last night at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood

. “I love you Rod!” and similar proclamations were shouted frequently, and Stewart seemed to soak in all of the love, holding a hand to his heart and interacting with fans near the stage. The British singer, who has twice been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a solo artist in 1994 and as a member of his former band, Faces, in 2012), kicked off his 23-song set with the Robert Palmer hit “Addicted to Love,” with his female backup singers and musicians channeling the models in the popular music video circa 1986. The back of the stage was covered floor-to-rafters with large screens that displayed images ranging from civil rights protest marches to Celtic football club photos and videos, to photographs of Stewart throughout the years, adding to the spectacle of the carefully crafted performance. Feeding off of the crowd’s energy, the knighted rocker spent most of the evening smiling and laughing while he delivered an entertaining show that dug deep into his catalog of hits, along with a number of covers.

While his signature raspy voice doesn’t project the power it once did, Stewart still sounded great with his unique vocal prowess that is his and his alone. His talented backup singers helped with some of the high notes, and Stewart took full advantage of the audience, which was more than willing to join him on crowd pleasers like his 1976 hit “Tonight’s the Night,” and his 1977 chart-topper “Hot Legs". It appeared as though the fans in attendance knew most of the words to the majority of the songs, as they sang along to many feel-good hits including “You’re in My Heart,” “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and “Maggie May,” which started off as a ballad before picking up the tempo one verse into the song.

Fans were also energized by Stewart’s unique rendition of “Young Turks,” from his 1981 album “Tonight I’m Yours,” in which his backup singers inserted a fun rendition of “America” from “West Side Story” (which gave Stewart time to make one of several outfit changes — one of which included a bright yellow silk suit).

Among the covers he performed were Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party” from 1962, the gospel influenced “People Get Ready,” a 1965 single by the Impressions, and Marvin Gaye’s 1965 hit “It Takes Two” — a song Stewart recorded with Tina Turner 25 years later. Partnering with Stewart on the duet Friday night was backup singer Becca Kotte, whose stellar contribution had audience members on their feet and cheering loudly.

Stewart was accompanied on stage by 13 musicians and backup singers who not only surprised the crowd with impressive solos on instruments ranging from the harp to the mandolin, but appeared to be having one heck of a good time on stage and often encouraged the audience to join in the merriment.

While the more up-tempo songs received the most enthusiastic responses, the crowd also responded with approval to Stewart’s emotional delivery of ballads, including “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” written by Cat Stevens, and the romantic Van Morrison number “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?”

An appreciative Stewart thanked the audience for spending their hard-earned money attending his concert and shared how fortunate he has been to have such a lengthy and successful career. Based on the crowd’s reaction to his performance, they believed that their money was well spent.


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