Sunday, August 12, 2012
Concert review: Rod Stewart at WinStar World Casino (August 11)
The rockstar's youthful spunk and British humor kept the energy alive, even after 40+ years.
Rod Stewart’s charisma and signature sensuality helped him deliver a titillating performance at the WinStar World Casino on Saturday. The legendary rock star entranced the nearly sold out crowd during the first of a two-night appearance at the Oklahoma casino, with a fulfilling set list of new and old hits reminiscent of his lengthy career.
He looked eccentric in a hot pink blazer and a yellow tie, walking out to a cover of the O’Jays hit “Love Train” – one of many of his famous covers.
His youthful spunk and British humor kept the energy alive. With his trademark raspy chords, disheveled locks and charming temperament, Stewart wooed the buzzing room with “You Wear It Well” and “Rhythm of My Heart” – a track he dedicated to the armed forces. With Elvis-style hip sways and a tilted mic, his contagious excitement jolted the audience to their feet. His backup singers, in sparkly pink cocktail dresses, set the bar high during an entertaining sing-off with the singer, which proved he doesn’t have to hide behind a musically-backed track.
Like a proud papa, the European performer showed off his army of children on the massive onstage screen behind him -- ranging in ages from 32 to one year. Each child was clad in a jersey for the Celtic Football Club, his favorite team. Voices rang in for “Forever Young" - one of Stewart's biggest singles in America. An unannounced costume change ushered in intimate renditions of Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately” and Cat Stevens’ “The First Cut is the Deepest,” which quieted the high-energy crowd immediately. These calming numbers catapulted the evening into a true musical experience, complete with Stewart’s stretched notes and a violinist.
By the third outfit (a raging paisley blazer and lilac shirt), Stewart and his talented crew showed no fatigue when he began punting soccer balls into the audience after “You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim).” Sparing no shame, he displayed a few more photos – this time showing himself in drag -- fishnets and dangerously short dresses, to be exact -- exclaiming, “This is what two bottles of wine can do to you!” Shortly after the hilarious bit came “Maggie May,” where the organic styling of the guitar melded perfectly with Stewart's gravelly vocals, and shifted the set to the encore track, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
What made this a night to remember is the fact that these shows were the last performances before Stewart heads off to Las Vegas for his residency at Caesar’s Palace. Between his alarmingly low-cut shirts and candid jokes, the legendary singer still seems to be living out his wildest dreams after all these years, and he took us with him on that wild ride, if only for an evening.
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- Concert review: Fiona Apple avoids topic of arrest at WinStar show (September 22)
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- Concert review: Sting at WinStar World Casino (June 2)