Gig review: Rod Stewart at First Direct Arena, Leeds

On Wednesday evening I went to the First Direct Arena with my sister to see Rod Stewart perform a hit-laden set of classic tracks by the ex-Faces frontman.

Rod Stewart. Picture: Rankin

Decking the stage out in Vegas-style casino backdrops, Second World War montages and even a video of Stewart’s personal model railway, the 74-year-old crooner played a two hour setlist including a moment of subdued calm during a four track acoustic session at the mid-point.

Costume changes, drums solos, saxophone solos, balloons and glitz and glamour were the evenings main order, Stewart showing no sign of his years, his vocals and physicality that of a man half his age.

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It Takes Two, the recent hit cover with Robbie Williams – this evening sans the former Take That star – was given the full big band treatment, along with electric and vivacious performances of Sam Cooke covers, Tom Waits’ Downtown Train (with model railway accompaniment) and the popular all-time greats First Cut Is The Deepest, Da Ya Think I’m Sexy and Maggie May.

The whole audience were on their feet throughout the night, joining Stewart in call and response choruses bringing the whole house to tears with the curtain call of Sailing.

I (metaphorically) held my late mum’s hand throughout the performance. Rock in peace, mum. This one’s for you.