Dueling Critics: Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart came to Houston to make up for last week's missed show last night and two, count them, two of our staffers were there to wittness it. First up is Assistant Music Editor Olivia Flores Alvarez's version of the event, then it's Art Director Monica Fuentes' turn.

Whatever the deed says, Rod Stewart owned the Toyota Center last night. Did he deserve to? Ah, that's another question.

The aging rocker (Stewart is now in his early sixties) wowed his fans (many of which also seemed just a few years away from official senior citizenship), but he did it with a decidedly diminished voice. Raspy and hoarse beyond his usual, well, raspy and hoarseness, Stewart coasted on the fact that so many of his songs have become rock classics, depending on his back-up singers and audience-sing-alongs to fill the musical gaps. But he still gave fans a great show. There was plenty of the requisite prancing, posing and shaking of his narrow hips, all of which elicited screams and yelps from the audience.

Stewart used a video send-up of The Godfather, titled The Rodfather to open the two and a half hour show. "He had to choose between kicking goals and kicking ass," the announcer droned dramatically before Stewart launched into the opener "Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me)." From there it was one Stewart rock hit after another, including "Fathers and Sons," "(I Know) I'm Losing You," (which included a dramatic drop to his knees), "Dirty Old Town," "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy, "It's a Heartache," and "Forever Young," before an encore of "Maggie May" and "Stay With Me."

While his voice might be past its prime, Stewart's punked-up hair and rock star attitude are intact, and that seemed to be enough for his fans. - Olivia Flores Alvarez

The Rodfather

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That was the title of the slightly odd film short that preceded Rod Stewart's show Tuesday night at a (mostly) full Toyota Center. Fans who were able to make the trip back downtown a week after originally scheduled date were treated to a slickly produced video projected on high definition jumbo-trons above the stage (shrouded in bright tartan, of course). It wasn't long before the perfectly coiffed and perfectly charming 62 year-old Stewart was revealed center stage. Those expecting a first act full of selections from his three standards albums were surprised to find out that tonight's set would be all rock, which was just fine (hence the tour's name, Rockin in the Round, duh!). Stewart ran around the circular stage breezing through classics like "Young Turks" and "Infatuation," much to the delight of the "young" women in the crowd. More than a few roses and undergarments made their way up to the stage, just like the old days. The rocker even promised the crowd an extra four songs for their trouble last week (awww....).

Then, out of nowhere, a fan told me they heard Rod never sings "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" anymore. What?! I was going to miss seeing 5,000 sixty-year-old men gyrating to the song they sang in the mirror while getting ready tonight?! Then just like that, he introduces the next ditty as "a silly little song" and the keyboards erupt in the familiar melody. YYYEEESSS!! I was treated to a veritable middle-aged dancing orgy. Of course, you'd have to be dead not to join in.

After a fifteen minute intermission, standard for Stewart shows, he came back for more. He gave tributes to his father, Robert Joseph Stewart, and to his first love by screening video of various football clubs from the U.K. The evening ended with the Faces classic, "Stay With Me." No doubt the sentiment was echoed throughout the crowd. - Monica Fuentes


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