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Review & Set List: Rod Stewart @ Mediolanum Forum, Milan, Italy

by Danny Gandolfi,

Sir Roderick David Stewart, better known to us mortals as Rod, is on a worldwide tour including Milano where I find myself tonight (January 31), along with a packed crowd, that warmly greets him back after an absence of 8 years.

Rod is now 73 years of age but he still cuts a dashing figure even with screen video close ups and with various costume changes involving black and white glittery jackets, colorful shirts and of course his famous gold lamé suit he is suitably able to show himself off. This charade also helps him conveniently to take breaks during the set whilst his solid 13 piece band take control of the stage. Yes, because the hips don’t really work anymore and apart from the odd knee jerk, dancing is out of the question and fatigue sets in rather too easily I feel.

As for the voice, well, it’s ok, still grating and sublimely distinctive but there is little sustain and resonance with certain songs like ‘Baby Jane’ notably with the key adjusted to suit his the vocal pitch of today’s Rod.

Still with a strong band including six girls sharing vocals and instruments like violins, harp and percussion, the show, very Vegas, is watchable and entertaining with loads of old soft rock hits, some rockabilly and classic ballads but it’s like painting by joining the dots, every step is accounted for, no room for error for sure but that said no flashes of brilliance or spontaneity either. Maybe on Van Morrison’s ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You’ Rod seemed “in the moment” and when he talked about Celtic Footbal Club and the song ‘You’re In My Heart’ there is even some passion involved but the rest is simply plain sailing as Rod would say.

The crowd try and rise to the occasion with a spontaneous vocal chant after ‘Do You Think I’m sexy’ but after listening for a few bars, Rod with a simple hand gesture gets the band to start the closer ‘Sailing’ as we hit the 90 minute mark as injury time not extra time is only to be allowed.

Nostalgia is not always a fulfilling and comfortable feeling and I feel maybe Rod should have put away the mike stand after this summer’s Isle Of Wight headline slot. What’s left now is formulaic and ordinary something Rod Stewart as an artist has never been in his long and successful career.

The set list:
  • Soul Finger (band only) 
  • Infatuation (from Camouflage, 1984)
  • Having a Party (from Unplugged...and Seated, 1993)
  • Some Guys Have All the Luck (from Camouflage, 1984)
  • Sweet Little Rock & Roller (from Smiler, 1974)
  • Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright) (from A Night on the Town, 1976)
  • It Takes Two (from Vagabond Heart, 1991)
  • Forever Young (from Out of Order, 1988)
  • Rhythm of My Heart (from Vagabond Heart, 1991)
  • Downtown Train (from Storyteller, 1989)
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest (from A Night on the Town, 1976)
  • I Don't Want to Talk About It (from Atlantic Crossing, 1975)
  • You're in My Heart (The Final Acclaim) (from Foot Loose & Fancy Free, 1977)
  • Have I Told You Lately (from Vagabond Heart, 1991)
  • Proud Mary (band only)
  • People Get Ready (from the Jeff Beck album Flash, 1985)
  • Baby Jane (from Body Wishes, 1983)
  • Stay With Me (from Faces' A Nod is As Good As a Wink to a Blind Horse, 1971)
  • Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? (from Blondes Have More Fun, 1978)
  • Sailing (from Atlantic Crossing, 1975)
  • Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think) (band only)