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ROD STEWART, LIVE IN MANCHESTER! WHAT HAPPENED?

As the curtain fell to traditional Scottish Pipes, Rod Stewart swaggered onto the stage and immediately launched into a cover of Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’. An odd choice to kick off a gig from such a seasoned pro with a heavy back catalogue of hits dating back to the 60s…but it worked!

At 77 years old, Stewart could have fooled anyone not in the know about his age, as he sauntered energetically across the large arena stage, complete with a full live band and backing dancers. The setup was impressive, the (multiple) outfits were outrageous and the audience was ecstatic. It has been a while since I have seen the AO Arena so busy, people braving the freezing elements were soon warming up, dancing in the aisles and not letting the full seated event deter them from strutting their stuff.

Rod chose to cover some of his favourite songs as well as mixing in some of his own crowd pleasers throughout the evening and made multiple dedications to people including Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, the victims of the war in Ukraine, and a special mention to his beloved Celtic Football club. There were two Faces songs included in the extensive set list, ‘Oh La La, and most arguably their most famous number ‘Stay With Me’. The near sold-out crowd erupted when his most notable tracks started up, ‘Rhythm of My Heart’, ‘Maggie May’, and of course ‘Sailing’ was chanted around the vast 15000 seater arena.

It is easy to forget just how impactful Rod’s career has been, but we were reminded with anecdotes throughout the evening in which he reminisced about playing at Manchester’s Twisted Wheel aged 13. The set list highlighted how the veteran singer has remained relevant for a ridiculously impressive five decades and from last night’s performance I reckon he will be around for one or two more.