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Concert Reviews:
Rod Stewart Rocks, Hot Legs And All, At DTE

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2008

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Some guys may indeed have all the luck, but Rod Stewart had more than that working for him on Wednesday night (Aug. 6) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

The veteran singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer brings with him a formidable arsenal of hits -- nearly 40 years' worth -- and an earthy, sincere presence with a self-effacing edge to poke fun at a sex symbol, jet-setting image that's been consigned to the past as Stewart's forged forward as a more stately kind of performer. There may be a few notes missing from the top end of his famously raspy vocal range and a bit of a paunch in his torso, but Stewart still knows how to make a crowd feel like it's seeing in icon at work.

He and his versatile 12-piece band -- including guitarist Paul Warren, who recently moved back to Plymouth after three decades in Los Angeles -- did just that over the course of 95 minutes at DTE, with a selection of Stewart favorites that still get regular radio play ("Some Guys Have All the Luck," "Forever Young," "You War it Well," "You're in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)," "Rhythm of My Heart," "Maggie May") as well as a generous selection of the covers he's recorded over the years, including the Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart of Mine" that was accompanied by video footage of Motown acts on the massive HD screen hanging behind the band.

The presentation was stylish, with the white-adorned stage and formally attired band recalling a Las Vegas bandstand or a cruise ship showroom, but the ambience was more rocking than that as the animated, 63-year-old Stewart worked the stage front from side to side, accepting flowers and booting soccer balls into the crowd during "Hot Legs" and the Faces' "Stay With Me." His sense of schtick was evident but tasteful; if the opening video promoting a fake superhero called the Rodminator seemed truly silly, his genial preening, outfit changes, song-ending vocal vamps and tributes to his favored Glasgow Celtic Football Club were delivered with knowing winks. And it's a good thing that everybody at DTE knew that when he noted "how wonderful to see all those Celtic shirts in the audience," Stewart wasn't talking about the dreaded, Pistons-slaying Boston team.

The show could have perhaps done without the band-performed version of the B-52's "Love Shack," inserted to give Stewart a breather, but by the time he worked through a pumped-up encore of the disco hit "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?," the DTE crowd was ready to stay with Stewart for as long as he wanted.

Opening act Bryan Adams added to the jukebox feel of the evening with is 11-song, 55-minute set that was heavy on rockers and old favorites. Drawing just one song, "She's Got a Way," from his new album "11" and slowing down only for the hit ballad "Heaven," Adams and his four-piece band cranked from the get-go, charging on with an opening blast of "Hearts on Fire," "Somebody" and "Can't Stop This Thing We Started" and leading singalongs during "Summer of '69," "Cuts Like a Knife," "The Kids Wanna Rock," "The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me is You" and "Run to You."

With a headliner's repertoire of his own, Adams gave Stewart more than a run for his money and made it well worth showing up on time Thursday.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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