(On Rod Stewart’s Enduring Musical Legacy)
The enduring and legendary singer Rod Stewart had a concert at MTS Centre on August 8. And it was not just a typical run-of-the-mill karaoke-type sing-along show that many Pop artists settle with. Rather, Stewart in his sparklingly immaculate attire, performed a spectacle of hits and favorites on backdrop of classy lounge-designed stage, backed up by a big band of equally well-groomed and adept musicians consisting of the usual tandem of guitar players, bassist, drummer, keyboardist 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—not only the distinct raspy voice but also the hair, the fashion sense, and the charm. He delivered his music at a very high level and with astounding quality. But, of course, all these would be unnoticed without the support of a great creative production team and skillful musicians. As any keen-eared music critic would say, a singer is usually only as good as the musicians backing him 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. 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…especially in a musical kind of way.
Stewart’s set was opened by an equally engaging and percussive-driven and usually flamenco-tropicana-flavored set danceable and rocking tunes of legendary guitarist Carlos Santana, who himself at 67 was also a revelation and a proof that youth is not a prerequisite for being an excellent artist—for the most part, experience, longevity, and musicianship take more importance.
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.
For his part, Carlos Santana, who was born on July 20, 1947, in Jalisco, Mexico, but who with his family relocated to California, United States in the 1960s, 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 have released 22 studio albums: from 1969’s self-titled to 2014’s Corazon.
photos by Mark Godliano