Twenty-five years ago today—on July 16, 1989—Rod Stewart played to a crowd of 21,000 at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver, with backup from Tom Cochrane and Jeff Healey.
Rod the Mod was touring behind his 1988 Out of Order album, which spawned four singles—”Lost In You”, “Forever Young”, “My Heart Can’t Tell You No”, and “Crazy About Her”—and has sold nine-million copies worldwide. It was his biggest-selling album of the Eighties.
For anyone who didn’t get enough nostalgia at Ringo’s show last night, here’s the review that ran in the July 21-28 issue of Vancouver’s Georgia Straight newspaper, under the subhead “Three bands, thousands of people, and no encores”.
Healey kicked things off 40 minutes after the scheduled 7 p.m. start (it took longer than expected to get people in), and, as usual, his playing was superb. Of course, his performance lost its typically mind-blowing effect in the wide-open spaces of the dome—especially if you’ve seen the guy from two feet away at the Yale. Healey’s piercing Strat did cut through the distance now and again, though. And on “See the Light”, he stood up and played with his teeth, proving that he’s still one of the world’s better dental technicians around today.
After Healey’s half-hour show (no encore), T.O.’s Tom Cochrane and Red Rider took the stage and played 11 solid tunes. They faired much better than Healey in the sound department, although that’s not saying too much. Local vocalist Annette Ducharme, girlfriend of Red Rider keyboardist John Webster, got up in a nifty red dress to sing along on “Good Times”, Cochrane’s song about “the Canadian experience” (getting lucky beside a lake). Other highlights included “Lunatic Fringe”, “Big League”, and the set-closer, “Boy Inside the Man”, which got people seated on the floor off their butts.
Again, no encore. What is this, some kind of conspiracy?
When main-man Rod finally hit the stage wearing a flashy yellow jacket and black slacks, his ardent followers made it known that the old rocker is still well-liked. After a brief taped version of his trademark opener, “The Stripper”, Stewart pranced and gyrated his way through a super selection of past hits, including “Hot Legs”, “Infatuation”, and the Faces’ “Stay With Me”. His biggest song ever, “Maggie Mae”, also made an appearance.
Although he looks (through binoculars) as healthy as can be, Stewart’s gravelly voice has seen better days. He lost it a few times, but, as usual, was accompanied by a bang-on band that helped keep the show’s energy level on an upswing. Unfortunately, not even Rod himself bothered with an encore.
What is this world coming to?