Published: Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009 - 6:28 am
By Dixie Reid
Rod Stewart's rock 'n' roll show, playing all the hits all night long, swept into Arco Arena on Wednesday, and it soon became clear why Donna Hamaker and Melisa Askew were there.
They met a few years back at one of Stewart's shows, and when Hamaker's husband gave her a 50th birthday present of a trip to Las Vegas, San Jose and Sacramento for three concerts in five days, she asked her best Rod Stewart-lovin' gal pal to come along, both traveling all the way from Alabama.
"I've been a fan since 1971, for 38 years, ever since a record dropped down on the turntable and I heard, 'If I listen long enough ...,' " Hamaker said before Wednesday's show. "I was hooked. He's got that thing, and that voice. Just wait. You'll see."
It's hard to believe the guy is 64 and has been doing this for more than 40 years.
Nobody had more fun than Stewart himself. He danced. He pranced. He preened. He joked. He teased his trio of back-up singers. He sauntered. He sashayed. He wiggled and swatted himself on the bottom. He fluffed his spiky blond hair a time or two. He kicked autographed soccer balls into the crowd.
And he changed clothes more often than Cher in her heyday, modeling everything from a baby blue silk jacket and matching tie - which both went nicely with the fedora a fan tossed on-stage and he wore for a bit - to stone-washed jeans and a drugstore-cowboy hat.
His 22-year-old daughter, Ruby, entertained the crowd while he made one costume change.
Stewart was in fine voice if you, like Hamaker are fond of his edgy, emotional sound, and he delivered a solid 90-plus-minute set to an adoring crowd, some of whom were older than he.
And the great thing when you're a fan of a guy's music, and you know every word to all of his songs, is that you can sing out loud for the entire concert -- and nobody minds, because they're all singing, too.
For some folks, his music truly was the soundtrack of a certain part of their lives, or at least the make-out music of their youth.
And Stewart didn't deliver his standards all funny, and try to make them different just to entertain himself after singing the same old songs night after night, decade after decade. Everything sounded pretty much like it did on radio, or eight-track, or cassette player, back in the day.
One of the best moments of the night was the encore, "Maggie May," which Stewart once said was the best song he'd ever written and the one he never gets tired of singing. He even let the crowd carry the first few lines, "solo," before joining in.
It truly was an all-hits show: "Tonight's the Night," "Hot Legs," "Forever Young," "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," " Downtown Train," "You Wear It Well," Rhythm of My Heart" and "Some Guys Have All the Luck."
Hamaker was right: Stewart does have something special. He's a showman, an entertainer, and maybe he isn't leaping onto speakers the way he did 30 years ago, but he's still the same ol' Rod Stewart at heart. The guy loves a crowd that loves him.
Everyone who had tickets for Arco's upper level was moved down to the lower sections - and that made for a full house of sorts. Stewart acknowledged California's hard economic times, and thanked the fans for buying tickets to see him.
The outstanding Australian band The Kin opened the show.
Call The Bee's Dixie Reid, (916) 321-1134.