He’s the rare grandfather who can still musically ask his fans, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” -- but that alone does not set Rod Stewart apart.
The tireless hit-maker and singer of standards (but not in Las Vegas) began his two-year, 52-show residency at Caesars Palace on Wednesday night in much the same showcase he rolled out in November. It’s a concert show boosted by a flawless nine-piece band and a trio of backing singers. Stewart attempts not to be consumed by the vast Colosseum stage by employing the theater’s massive LED screens and a smaller video board in front of that screen for a distinctive 3D effect.
But mostly, this is a greatest-hits show, a concert experience appropriately titled “The Hits.” Questions and answers from the opening-night performance:
How’s he sound? No vocalist sounds as good at 66 as he or she did at 26, and Stewart’s voice has always been wrapped in a famous rasp. His voice is not as robust as it was in his hit-making heyday, and it flattened out in a few moments. But it was stronger than it was in his opening show during his 2010 run at The Colosseum.
How’s he look? It would be tempting to say Stewart’s looks have not changed over the years, but when video panels display photos of him over the years during “Every Picture’s Worth a Story,” you are proven otherwise. You could argue that he looks better today than he did a generation ago, certainly more distinguished than he was in his scrawnier youth. Stewart is in good physical condition, his hair is still blond and spiked out. I guess you could say he's a far cry from craggy. At 66, he’s been at this for more than 40 years, and women still scream at him. He wears a suit without spilling out of it.
What's that color? If you're talking about the suit jacket Stewart wore to open the show, that'd be fuchsia.
The show is titled “The Hits,” which means Stewart is not singing a show of standards. Good idea?: Yes. Stewart’s affection for such standards as “Moon River” and “Fly Me to The Moon” from his “Great American Songbook” series is obvious. And it’s interesting to hear a voice so in tune with rock ’n’ roll take on a smoother form of music. But you’re not going to fill the 4,100-seat Colosseum 52 times over two years with Stewart singing “Moon River” in place of “Sweet Little Rock ’N’ Roller.”
Upon leaving a show brimming with hits, which song stays with you? “Hot Legs.” Can’t explain why, but in the two shows I’ve seen Stewart perform, that’s the song I wake up with the next day. Maybe it’s because that’s the song he sings when kicking a dozen or so soccer balls into the crowd.
Why does he do that? Because kicking bowling balls into the audience would be rather dangerous.
Seriously. Because Stewart is a longtime backer of The Celtic Football Club, to which he pays tribute during “You’re in My Heart.”
Was Stewart’s decision to sing briefly from the edge of the stage and invite fans to sit near him an inspired, or potentially dangerous, idea? The latter.
When Stewart said he’d be performing at The Colosseum for two years, “off and on,” what was the punch line? “Like my sex life!”