Rod will be at the Brighton & Hove 1st Central County (cricket) Ground on Friday, July 12, as part of Rod Stewart Live in Concert which will visit football stadiums, outdoor venues and arenas across England and Scotland from May through to July (tickets on http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk).
His Brighton & Hove show marks the first time 74-year-old Rod has played in the city since he performed to a sell-out crowd at The Amex Stadium in 2014. Now, as then, he’s still going strong.
He answers a few questions:
What keeps you going?
“I’m proud of my age… And most of my peers are dead, not retired. I enjoy it, that’s what it comes down to. There will be a time, I’m sure, for retirement and I’m closer than I was years ago.
“To me, retirement is not a lovely word. People always talk about ‘looking forward to retiring’ but for me that’s an awful thought. I’m lucky I have a brilliant job that I love, and as long as I enjoy it and people are coming out in their droves to the shows then I will go on.
“Physically, I have a trainer, and work out three times a week. I do a lot of pool work, play football with my boys, do rowing, and that’s basically it.
“I always make the comparison with football, which I’ve played all my life, it’s an ugly game if you’re not fit and everyone’s running past you, leaving you behind. But if you’re keeping up, it’s beautiful.”
Did you ever imagine you’d still be selling out arenas and football stadiums after all this time?
“When I first came into the business, I thought ‘I’ll be happy if this lasts a couple of months’. I don’t know what the secret is to still being here though. Maybe I put on a good show, have a distinctive voice, an army of songs, and some very loyal fans, and as long as people still want to hear them, I’m going to be there.
“Sitting down to write and record new music in a studio is one thing, but you’ve got a huge schedule of tour dates this year.”
How do you prepare for that – and what can the fans expect from the 2019 show?
“I can only do what I do, sing a collection of wonderful songs; new ones, old ones, a few surprises, and there’s a whole new visual going on.
“I’m not going to take my trousers down, not this time, maybe when I get really desperate I will. When you forget to put your trousers on, maybe that’s the time to pack it in.”
The tour includes indoor and outdoor venues – which do you prefer and how do they differ from your perspective as a performer?
“It’s always lovely when you have a sunny evening, it’s the weekend and the audience are out for a drink and a laugh, but I haven’t got a preference really. And truly, there’s no difference, we sound check and adjust any sound to the venue. Besides that, the only thing is starting out in the day light or dusk and going through the magical phase as the light goes and it gets dark – then the fun really begins.”
With each new album, that’s another 10 or so tracks to potentially include on your set list. How do you decide what to include – and perhaps more tricky, how do you decide which tracks to drop?
“From experience, we know there are certain songs people love to hear, of course. But I like to bring back ones from way back when, and there’ll be a fair sprinkling of those, probably two from Blood Red Roses and a couple from the two albums before that Time and Another Country.
“People want to hear the songs like I Don’t Wanna Talk About It, and that keeps them in the show. And we don’t really drop tracks, we change the show every night; from a set list of maybe 20 songs, for example track 15 every night we’ll change it and decide each night what it’ll be, so every crowd gets a slightly different show.
“It keeps the band on their toes – and they keep me on mine! It’s a big band, six girls, six men and they’re very lively, it’s good to have the youngsters around.”
In recent years, you’ve gone back to writing music, after the American Songbook albums. What prompted that? And what’s next…
“I wrote my book, Rod: The Autobiography, and that sparked in me the realisation that I had stories still to tell, about my early beginnings, my dad, and that book spawned the writing, it came back to me. I had thought it had gone and left me, but it doesn’t really, it’s not a physical thing, you just have to put your mind to it. I teamed up again with Kevin Savigar, my co-writer and producer now, and he brought it out of me again.”
With his signature voice, style and songwriting, Rod Stewart has transcended all genres of popular music, from rock, folk, soul, R&B, and even the American standards; making him one of the few stars to enjoy chart-topping albums throughout every decade of his career.
Rod’s 2019 shows promise to be filled with both classics and new hits in his dazzling signature style. As one of the best-selling artists in the history of recorded music, with more than 200 million records sold worldwide, his performance will include show stopping classics from his glittering career as well as new album Blood Red Roses – a deeply personal 13-track collection of originals and three covers.
Rod has earned countless of the industry’s highest awards, among them, two inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the ASCAP Founders Award for songwriting, New York Times bestselling author, Grammy™ Living Legend, and in 2016 he officially became ‘Sir Rod Stewart’ after being knighted by Prince William at Buckingham Palace for his services to music and charity.
Rod Stewart Live In Concert will see Rod play the following dates:
• Tues 09 July Newcastle, Utilita Arena
• Fri 12 July Brighton & Hove, The 1st Central County Ground
• Sat 13 July Lancashire, Lytham Festival
• Sat 23 November – Manchester, Manchester Arena
• Tues 26 November – Glasgow, The SSE Hydro
• Thurs 28 November – Glasgow, The SSE Hydro
• Sat 30 November – Glasgow, The SSE Hydro
• Tues 10 December – Liverpool, M&S Bank Arena
• Weds 11 December – Leeds, First Direct Arena
• Fri 13 December – Birmingham, Arena Birmingham
• Tues 17 December – London, The O2
• Thurs 19 December – London The O2