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Rod Stewart at Hove

Hard to believe (or should it be Reason to Believe?) that Rod Stewart made his first recording 50 years ago when he was 24. I can recall him on Top of the Pops throwing his microphone in the air, kicking footballs into the audience, rasping voice … and enjoying himself.

50 years later at Hove he is still enjoying himself. Perhaps it is that which separates him from two other perennial megastars Elton John and Mick Jagger. Sir Elton is the better musician, Sir Mick the better performer but neither can communicate that sheer joy of performance as the third knight.

There are a number of paradoxes about his career. His major songs Maggie May, Sailing, Tonight’s The Night are not performed by any others but he has reinvented himself with the American Songbook and Soul sixties music.

There is pathos of The Killing of Georgie, the first song ever to deal with a gay issue, or young love taken advantage of in Maggie May. Sailing was adopted by the forces after The Falklands conflict.

Last night there was another paradox: he expressed his sincere honour in meeting veterans of D-Day but sang a touching song Grace who was married for all of 15 minutes before her husband was executed as one of the leaders of the Easter Uprising of 1916.

Sir Rod is forever associated too with Scottish football.

He was a Brentford reserve but a friend of mine who played with him said he was unlikely to make it. So football’s loss proved to be rock’s gain.

I was always a fan and have most of his recordings.

I once met a woman who worked for him in the seventies. She said he could afford the best session musicians like the Memphis Horns.

Last night he had a superb saxophonist Jimmy Roberts and a classy all girl backing band.

Twice he said his thoughts went out to one of them – Katie Dix – who could not be present as she had had to be back in the States looking after her ailing dad.

He also indulged in banter with those watching for free from the balconies of flats looking over the venue Hove Cricket Ground.

Our vantage point side on to the stage with the sun in our eyes was not the best despite a highly priced ticket but at my age I appreciate a nearby loo and bar.

On a warm summery evening and bottle of chilled rose I felt as good about life as did Rod the Mod.

About Michael Stuart

After university, Michael spent twelve years working for MELODY MAKER before going freelance. He claims to keep doing it because it is all he knows. More Posts