My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box
somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be
wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From
your thoughts, you can create greatness.This is what I need to remind
myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with
gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes
to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create.
Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but
how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around
you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgmental,
love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Intimate Evening With A Man Named Rod...

As you may very well know, so much happens in my life, sometimes I just long to get away. I need to get away. Let me start by saying that this was my sister's idea. I like Rod Stewart. I enjoy the occasional Santana jam. But enough to have bought tickets on my own? Or take a vacation day from work? Not likely. Well, maybe I would have went with Noah, on a Saturday. But, Sis is a life-long fan of Rod Stewart. I was like, three years old when "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" came out. I remember seeing him strutting around on stage on our little bitty color TV and my sister going wild and my Mom being there. I remember this so vividly. I always have. I also remember thinking I was watching something I probably shouldn't, lol. So, a couple of months ago I picked up tickets for my sister and I to see Santana and her all time favorite--Rod Stewart. The last time we saw him was at the outdoor venue the "Riverport Amphitheater" (now the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater) of St. Louis, Mo. in 2007 (also her request). We had lawn tickets, but halfway through the weather looked like it was taking a turn--for the tornado--and a man and woman approached us and gave us their tickets for something like the 10th row! Well, the weather stayed calm and we had a great time.

But, I digress...

THIS show? This show was fantastic! I mean, I think I was one of the youngest people there...

(Just look at those sweet little heads!)

And thank goodness, too, because as I get older, I do NOT want to deal with the concert-goers of my own youth, you know what I mean? I'm no fuddy-duddy, but lately I just find myself a little 'not-so-in-the-mood'.

Anyway, our seats were pretty great. Far-ish, but great. Right on the isle, no one in front of us, clear access to the stairs. The very steep stairs. Have I mentioned I'm afraid of heights? I have terrible anxiety about being up far and falling.

This is the best my phone could do, the lights on the stage was just not that compatible (probably to deter those of us who wanted to capture our memories). I don't know what kind of phone the lady catty-cornered to us had though, but I should have zoomed in on her screen...because she was getting remarkable photos and even video (gasp!), but  this is the best I could get. No cameras were allowed, except maybe for the 'Press". Hmm...that's an idea... Anyway, this is the close-up of Santana'a set. The stage set-up was fabulous. The band was fabulous. Santana himself was fabulous. He put on a great show. He had two male singers with him, and a whole slew of instruments, as if he needed it. He spoke to us often about living life without fear and being a 'little crazy' or, as he calls it "Foo Foo". He answered the question I think we were all thinking, "What do you and Rod Stewart have in common (to be playing on the same ticket)? We both play black music for white people." I never knew he was funny. He performed the songs we have all most likely heard, "Black Magic Woman", though he didn't sing it, "Oye Como Va", "Smooth" and "Maria Maria". I've never seen little old ladies move so much in my life, like the ones down and to the right of me. Some of them came in with canes!

A few things we were surprised with during his show,which I didn't get photos of, was his introduction of music legend and St. Louis native Ronnie Isley of the Isley Brothers for an impromptu jam session, which caught Mr. Isley completely off guard. It took him a minute to get his bearings but when he did he honored us with a little montage of "It's Your Thing" and "Who's That Lady".  Santana also introduced his wife and touring drummer, Cindy Blackman (Santana) to play a song with the band, and while he snuck away for a much needed break, she broke out into one epic drum solo. It made for a fabulous night.

Try as I might, I could not get good photos of Rod's stage set-up. But I'll try hard to describe it to you. First off, it was classy. 60's retro classy. All glossy white and minimalist. He had a drummer centered up in the back on a riser. The drums were enclosed in a drum screen, for affect, I assume, and there was a female percussionist off to the side with two conga drums, tambourines and a snare. There were three female back-up singers (one of which is related to Mr. Isley--I guess that's why he was in the audience...he did perform a duet with Rod a while back, though--Thanks "Wikipedia"!) in red fringe dresses reminiscent of Tina Turner in her Ike and Tina days, and a female sax and trumpet player. He had three male guitar players, who looked awfully sharp in their very tailored, shiny grey suits and black ties. The stage was set so well, classic and clean.

Then the man himself came out. Black pants, white shirt, blue tie and yellow jacket. Oh, and red socks. I can't forget those red socks.

He got us going with "Infatuation" and kept it up with "Having A Party", "You Wear It Well", "Some Guys Have All The Luck", "Tonight's The Night", "Forever Young" and even a throwback from his old band 'Faces' with "Stay With Me". There was the huge screen up top, that we could all see him on, but there was another screen that encompassed the entire back wall, with four smaller screens in front of that. During the show there was either old footage of him in concert throughout the years, or of his exquisite Football (soccer to us) days or wild but tasteful graphics playing.  At about the mid-way point he brought Santana back up for a duet together for "I'd Rather Go Blind"...that was a treat.

In between songs, Rod had a lot to say. He reminded us that the night of the concert-June 6th-was "D" Day. He thanked the brave souls that defended us during that time, 70 years ago, and those who continue to do so today. He said, as the large screen behind him showed video footage of our current day service men and women coming home to their families and children, "Bless their cotton socks" then broke into "Rhythm Of My Heart" with additional WWII footage playing for us. By the end of the song, the American flag was displayed across the big screen behind him. It was a touching and honorable thing to do.

For his break his back-up singers proved I was spot on with the Ike and Tina reference. They came out in sequined teal dresses and performed "Proud Mary". They put on quite the show of their own and, though it wasn't the Legendary "Queen of Rock and Roll" herself, they did not disappoint.

Then Rod came out all blow dried and in a new gold suit. He spoke a little more, and apologized for his voice. He said "...there's no particular reason, it just comes and goes as it pleases. And I live so clean these days. No smoking or drinking..." He spoke about how the last time he was here was in 2007, and that he has a three year old now. But he says that's it; he's done. "I'm putting up my cue; put my banana back in the fruit bowl." He messes with his hair a little, "Can't do a fing wif ma hair today. I'm havin' a ba' hair day." (that's my go at a British accent).

Now, let's be real. Rod Stewart is 69 years old. I would have never been able to tell about his voice. I heard nary a crack...and with those shakes and shimmies he was doing up there...? Yeah...he's still got it.

He introduced his fiddle and harp players, both females, and a few members of an orchestra from St. Louis who played with him and his band for "First Cut is the Deepest", "Reason to Believe" and "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You". His voice did indeed give out on him during this performance, just once, and he rolled his eyes with an embarrassed and apologetic little smile and a shrug and kept going. The crowd went wild with support. It's hard to get annoyed with a legend...especially when he has been nothing but cordial, kind and absolutely humble.

Next he brought out St. Louis native and "a man who was in my band about 200 years ago", guitarist Billy Peek. They performed "Sweet Little Rock 'N Roller" together while old footage of them "back in the day" played on the big screen behind them. Billy even did the T-Bone Walker/Chuck Berry/(Marty duck walk like he did on stage with Rod many moons ago.

*I have to tell you right now, as I sit in the place where I am writing this right this moment, Santana's "Oye Como Va" is playing. That's funny.

At one point Rod came back out in a new outfit: brilliant blue skinny jeans, a wild printed blue and green shirt and low profile green kicks. As he came out he was saying...something...but I didn't catch what because he then reached back and dislodged the bit of britches that was creeping into the unknown, with a comic shake of the leg to boot. that's what he must have been talking about! He had us all look at the big screen for a while so that he could show us some funnies. There were a few pictures of him very comically dressed as women, and then he showed us what I am guessing were some of his favorite YouTube videos including the one where the dog knocks the lady know what I mean? Well, you'll have to search that one out for yourself.

He spoke a bit, and on the screen came the words "Rod would like you to know each one is signed personally by him" and out came the soccer balls for the traditional Football kick. Did you know Rod is a huge Football fan and played for his school? As he sang "Hot Legs" and played footage of him playing when he was much, much younger, he expertly kicked those signed balls far into the crowd. It was fun watching people catch, and clamber, for those mementos.

He sang "Maggie May" and concluded it with jumping jacks, and was strutting across the stage as the curtain fell....
The curtain went down, but the house stayed dark. We knew it wasn't over so we all just sat tight. I know what I was waiting for...

Then the curtain came back up and his whole entourage was lined up across the stage with Rod donning a cowboy hat as the intro for "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" started. Yes! What a performance...

About midway through this classic song that I remember as one of my first ever (Elvis excluded, of course) balloons rained down on the audience who batted them all around the arena, they even made it up as far as we were. At the conclusion, he thanked us, his 'friends' and said goodnight. I think he's sexy? Yeah. I do. It was a stellar performance by a stellar performer. He was humble and appreciative, kind and engaging. And, boy, can he still move...

Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We were making memories. Good ones. There haven't been very many of those, lately, and it's important. Everything else in life, the day to day, the just filler.

Thank you so much for visiting with me today. I truly appreciate you. And I hope you liked my little review of my night out with the infamous Rod Stewart. If you did please feel free to share it along!

As always, have an exceptional week...


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