Rod Stewart’s Enduring Musical Legacy
The legendary singer Rod Stewart had a concert at MTS Centre on August 8. And it was not just a typical run-of-the-mill, mediocre karaoke-type sing-along show that many Pop artists settle with or are prone to present, thinking that their popularity trumps well-honed talent and creativity. Rather, Stewart in his sparklingly immaculate attire, performed a spectacle of hits and favorites on a backdrop of classy lounge-designed stage, backed up by a big band of equally well-groomed and adept musicians consisting not only of the usual rhythm and lead guitar players, bassist, drummer, and keyboardist but also with a three-piece horn section, a three-female percussion section, a harp player, backup singers and dancers, and Winnipeg-local female string section.
At 69, Stewart still has it. He delivered his music at a very high level and with astounding passion and precision, and all these would have not been accomplished without the support of a great creative production team and skillful set of musicians—behind-the-scene factors that many casual concertgoers are unaware of. As any keen-eared music critic would say, a singer is usually only as good as the musicians backing him up; what’s a good voice without well-delivered music backing it up?
For their part, the audience, consisting mostly of couples and friends in their late ’50s to their ’60s, had shown their love and affection to the forever-young artist by dancing, shouting, applauding, and singing along to many of Stewart’s songs, especially the classics. The entire setlist was a good mix of foot-stompers and nostalgic tearjerkers that included “Infatuation,” “Young Turks,” “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright),” “Rhythm of My Heart,” “Forever Young,” “The First Cut Is the Deepest” (Cat Stevens cover), “I Don’t Want to Talk about It” (Crazy Horse cover), “Have I Told You Lately” (Van Morrison cover), “Can’t Stop Me Now,” “You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim),” “Hot Legs,” “Maggie May,” and the encore “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
And if you asked me if Stewart was indeed still sexy, then I would have to answer yes. The man still has not only the distinct raspy voice but also the hair, fashion sense, and charm.
Stewart’s set was opened by an equally engaging and percussive-driven and usually flamenco/Tropicana-flavored set of danceable and rocking tunes of the legendary guitarist Carlos Santana. At 67, Santana was also a revelation and a proof that youth is not a prerequisite to being an excellent artist—for the most part, experience, longevity, musicianship, discipline, and continuous use of skills are far more important.
Born on January 10, 1945, in London, England, Rod Stewart began his professional music career in 1963 when he joined the rhythm-and-blues group The Dimensions as a harmonica player and backing vocalist. He then joined band after band, notably Faces (1969–1975, with Ronnie Wood, Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane, and Kenny Jones) until he finally established himself as a reputable solo artist. Considering his long and enduring career, Stewart has a prolific musical output, which includes 28 solo studio albums—from 1969’s An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down to 2013’s Time.
Carlos Santana was born on July 20, 1947, in Jalisco, Mexico. With his family, he relocated to California, United States in the 1960s. He has seven studio albums under his own name: from 1973’s Love Devotion Surrender to 1994’s Santana Brothers. As part of the Rock group Santana, he with his mates has released 22 studio albums: from 1969’s self-titled to 2014’s Corazon.
Photos by Mark Godilan | Filipino Journal