Review | Rod Stewart at Santa Barbara Bowl
Forever Young, Always Entertaining
Once a showman, always a showman, and at age 77, Rod Stewart is still one of the best. Saturday’s performance at Santa Barbara Bowl — from opening the show with a rousing rendition of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” (complete with backup musicians inspired by the “Robert Palmer Girls” circa 1985 (youtu.be/XcATvu5f9vE) to an emotional dedication of “Rhythm of My Heart” to the people of Ukraine — Stewart remains a compelling performer.
His distinctive raspy voice still sounds just like Rod Stewart. And his cheeky banter, such as thanking fans for coming “because I know petrol is expensive and so are underpants” as the lead-in to “Some Guys Have All the Luck,” is still adorably charming after all these years.
He kept us thoroughly entertained with a set list that included favorites such as “Maggie May,” “You Wear it Well,” and “Ooh La La (I Wish That I Knew What I Know Now),” and clever mash-ups like “Young Turks” (with a Westside Story “I Like to be in America” dance break) and “Forever Young” (with a River Dance-style tap extravaganza).
Backed up by a bevy of beauties (dressed for much of the night as glittering golden go-go girls), including singer/choreographer Amanda Miller and harpist Julia Thornton (a particular standout on “The First Cut is the Deepest”), they kept the audience up on our feet with familiar hits like “You’re in My Heart,” “Do You Think I’m Sexy,” and Blondie’s “Call Me.”
After selling more than 250 million records worldwide, Sir Roderick David Stewart (knighted in 2016) proved he’s still that happy boy from Highgate, deftly kicking soccer balls out to the audience and ending his performance of Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” with a nod to his beloved Celtic Football Club (celticfc.com) and photos of the footballers themselves, along with his many children and grandchildren enjoying the games in full green and white fan regalia.
They say the great thing about getting older is that you still have all those other ages inside you. Stewart reminded Saturday’s audience at the Bowl that in some ways we’re all still “Forever Young.”
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