Veteran rocker Rod Stewart put on a show to remember when he brought his latest tour to Sheffield.
Sir Rod was in the Steel City with his From Gasoline Alley to Another Country tour, showcasing tracks from his second solo album, 1970’s Gasoline Alley, to his latest long-player, 2015’s Another Country.
And with that period spanning 45 years and more than 25 albums, it meant the hits just kept on coming.
Not that Rod needed to win over the audience.
At seventy-odd quid a ticket, this was a concert for fans – something which was clearly evident among the predominantly “mature” audience.
Indeed, the biggest laugh of the night was reserved for a Viagra joke on the big screens, which provided the back drop to the stage
That’s not to say this was a night short on laughs. Rod’s dancing aside – highly impressive for a 71-year-old, if a little cheesy – his banter with the audience would have put a smile on the face on the biggest Rod-haters, let alone the adoring thousands that packed out Sheffield Arena.
Indeed Sir Rod’s “goofish charm” – to coin a phrase from one of the newspaper articles, good and bad, shown on the screens – shone through throughout the two-hour set, joking about being the only man there who could carry off a red suit, after changing from his gold jacket halfway through the set and laughing about “being a knight now” after recent footage of Sir Rod being knighted by the Duke of Cambridge.
It was a set packed with hits, while giving members of the highly talented band the opportunity to shine, featuring, at various points, guitar, drum, violin and saxophone solos, as well as a solo tap dance by one backing singer.
Tracks like The First Cut Is the Deepest, Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright), Rhythm of My Heart and Maggie May became huge singalongs, while Ooh La La and Stay With Me – songs by Faces, the band where Sir Rod made his name – showed how versatile his voice is.
There was even time for a Christmas track from his 2012 Merry Christmas, Baby album, complete with comedy roadie in a Christmas jumper up a stepladder sprinking fake snow over a seated Sir Rod.
A beautiful rendition of The Office theme tune – a joke which seemed to over the heads of much of the audience as Sir Rod introduced Handbags and Gladrags – was among the many highlights before the show ended with his 1978 worldwide smash Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?
From the glints in the eyes of the departing army of older ladies, it was clear they still do.