Ageism has always pissed off Aftermath immensely. There's something awfully arrogant and defeating about shamming older cats for still wanting to rock out, even if they are edging dangerously close to seventy years of age, as Rod Stewart is. No one begrudges B.B. King or Leonard Cohen for still shilling their songs, each sitting at eighty-three and seventy-four respectively.
True it is, that to most people "The Thrill Is Gone" and "Bird on the Wire" hold much more weight than say, "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" The point is that Mr. Stewart can still captivate and thrill an all-ages crowd, neverminding what the cynics say. Imagine telling a writer that he's told to exercise his craft, or telling a painter that they must stop painting because they are too old to be relevant or expressive.
Yeah, he's goofy and his skin may resemble something that comes out of a tannery in Milan, but the dude can still rock his hits. This season has seen plenty of older artists still pumping out their catalogs, and still showing younger folks that it is possible to keep doing what you love. We have entered a new world where thirty is the new twenty, and forty is seen as a laughable milestone to some.
Opening with a comically biting cartoon montage, likening himself to some sort of cyborg for surviving this long in music, Stewart approached the stage with three beautifully buoyant back-up singers. From then on the audience was entranced by the tiny rooster-haired legend, through about five wardrobe changes and a few breathers.
It's really awe-inspiring when you think how much history is coursing through his veins. An early follower of the mod fashion, Stewart was in a very embryonic incarnation of the Kinks before falling into the Jeff Beck Group, and then the storied Faces.
Aside from what has begun to look increasingly like an oldies tribute act, Stewart actually has a well-spring of rock and roll dance anthems behind him. At the end of the day, he has a good two dozen bedrock tracks that can't be trifled with.
Aftermath couldn't believe how many of these songs had been engrained in his head since birth. It's Momma Aftermath's fault after all, and she was sitting right in the seat adjacent screaming at Stewart's every twist and shimmy, which was at times scary but not altogether unsurprising. She weighs in with her own review of the show after this one.
We have been in the midst of a super-strong Sam Cooke kick lately and his ever-present "Twisting the Night Away" cover hit the spot. The Vegas-style outputs of his American Songbook projects are thankfully gone now, replaced with an all killer and no filler hit parade. Sadly, there were no Faces tracks like "Stay With Me" to be found, but Aftermath believes that that was just an intellectual reflex from a hipster nerd that can't be satisfied with "Hot Legs".
"Young Turks" came next to last in the show, and is easily Aftermath's favorite Stewart song, with its simple plod and vaguely Teutonic beat. Live, Stewart's band turned it into some sort garage-style raver, sounding more like The Hives or The Strokes than the slick disco it was in 1981.
But enough from Aftermath's overly-critical ass, here's Momma Aftermath's side of the story:
With great excitement I drove to the Cynthia Woods Pavilion on Friday night to see every girls crush who was of high school age in the seventies, Mr. Rod Stewart.
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Every mile marker brought me a little closer to realizing that here I am 47 yrs old and finally getting to the concert I had wanted to attend since I was 16. As Craig and I were seated in our perfect seats I was quickly reminded that the crowd I now sat with was not sixteen either. I was soon to see that we too had aged right along with the man we had all come to hear.
Mr. Stewart hit the stage with a beautiful ice blue blazer on and began to "wow" us with all the mature smoothness that we had expected. As he began each new song his familiar body moves and twitches took shape much to our delight. I had to check myself twice to see if indeed I had on those seventies jeans, as the more he sang the younger I felt.
Our time with Rod, a whole hour and forty-five minutes flew by with hardly a blink and nod. His last song to us was "Maggie May" sending us all into the night to wonder how we would have ever gotten through our teen years without Rod Stewart's influence on our crazy little lives. Thanks Aftermath for a great mom and son evening. I was truly impressed that you had picked up all the words to all the music I had exposed you to since birth.
Look in the crowd next time we will be there. Rock on Rod!