Rod Laver Arena was fit to bursting with many getting the memo that the nights proceedings would make an early start kicking off at 6.30pm. The crowds were filing in at a rapid rate everyone keen to not miss one second of this exhilarating night of live music ahead.
Jon Stevens has been a household name for decades, whether it is for his solo work, Noiseworks or his time in INXS, so it was well worth turning up early to catch his set. He gave us a quick fire 30 minutes with all the fans favourites. Opening with Touch he was off and running instantly engaging the rapidly filling venue. His normally raspy voice sounding even more so tonight but it did not hinder his singing ability one bit. Never Tear Us Apart, No Lies, Hot Chilli Woman, the hits were flying, his awesome band delivering the goods. It was the perfect warm up and the receptive audience loved the INXS classic, Don’t Change followed by the mega hit Take Me Back which had phone torches out and Rod Laver shining bright. Thanks Jon it is always a pleasure to watch you in action.
My love and adoration for Cyndi Lauper is no secret so I was overjoyed to see her again, this is her first tour since 2019, and I felt privileged that she had chosen Australia to ignite the fire again. Opening with Hole In My Heart, Cyndi exploded onto the stage with her technicolour suit and mauve mohawk, traditional in her eclectic style. With so many huge hits to choose from they came thick and fast with lots of entertaining banter in between, The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough had the nostalgia levels high and happened to coincide with Ke Huy Quan (Data in The Goonies) taking out and Academy Award. Cyndi had her trademark jumps on point hands thrown wayward, still launching up on speakers and rolling on the stage, never missing a beat, a very impressive feat. Time After Time dazzled as torches lit up the room, the song so deserving of its stunning reception. I Drove All Night and Money Changes Everything two of my favourites, the massive screens showing a supersized Cyndi in full flight still hitting those long notes with precision and leaving the fans speechless.
There was not a microphone stand that was safe as Cyndi strutted the stage, whacking them into submission with every pass, one of her specialities that never grows old, she commands your attention and holds it for the duration. A stella performer and one who will stand up for her fundamental rights, a perfect segway to Sally’s Pigeons, her 1993 abortion rights song which has been re-recorded to coincide with troubling times in America. Girls Just Want To Have Fun saw everyone up and dancing, singing along as Cyndi held out the mic for us to take over the lyrics, which we happily obliged. True Colours saw out the set, this masterpiece raising the hairs on my arms, such a beautiful song and one we should all take onboard. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to let those ‘true colours’ show, very wise words indeed. As Cyndi left the stage with her amazing band to a standing ovation, I felt fully satisfied and Rod Stewart was yet to even grace the stage!
After a brief interlude it was time for the man himself, Rocking Rod Stewart. It has been quite the time since he has done the long haul to Australia, so we were champing at the bit to get a piece of Hot Rod action. Let me tell you from the minute that glorious man took the stage I was mesmerised. Opening with a crafty cover of Addicted To Love, Rod owned that stage his cohort of musicians and singers were of the highest calibre, crossing every t and dotting every i. The screens were enormous making sure not one person missed any piece of the action, wrapped around every inch of the stage, this show had every bell and whistle so I settled in and prepared to be wowed. And wowed I was, a blistering two hours with ALL the hits this show knew no boundaries and Rod outstanding in his delivery. You Wear It Well, the Faces classic Oh La La and Some Guys Have All the Luck just for starters. Rod joking that “it wasn’t a bad turn our for a Tuesday night” and that “it’s been a long time and we are going to fu*king enjoy ourselves” his banter and cheeky wit were unending and gave us plenty of laughs between songs.
Looking much younger and fresher than his years Rod oozed charisma and charm, still wiggling his butt with the best of them. His energy was infectious, and it spread across Rod Laver Arena as the floor seats were empty their patrons on their feet from start to finish. Twisting The Night Away, It Takes Two and a killer Muddy Waters cover of Rollin’and Tumblin’ were next on the hit list and Rod’s band were blisteringly hot in their hot pink suit jackets, their skills exemplary. I know I did not give them the time they deserved but I only had eyes for one man, and he was holding my attention. Rod had an accompaniment of five of the most talented women I have ever seen, no instrument was off limits, no song unachievable, these girls were mind-blowingly good, and full credit to them they kept the show running during costume changes for Rod of which were many, and added another layer to this already packed to the brim show.
Forever Young, The First Cut Is The Deepest and the glorious Maggie May were next to tick off the list and had the arena singing along with gusto. The huge screens overloaded with wonderful accompaniments all night as Rod worked the stage with the ease of a well oiled machine, knowing exactly how to reel you in and keep you in the palm of his hand for the entirety of the show. The opening bars of Young Turks rang out after Rod joking yet again that the Perth crowd didn’t know this one. It was flawless in its delivery and had everyone’s adrenaline pumping, how many more hits could be left was the question. Followed closely by Rhythm of my Heart which saw Rod donning a blue shirt and yellow jacket in a show of solidarity with the Ukraine, this antiwar song hitting the mark perfectly.
Leaving the girls to give us a red-hot cover of Hot Stuff, Rod returning in full leopard print from head to toe as they took it down a notch with a set of five acoustics. People Get Ready, The Killing Of Georgie Part 1, Tonight’s The Night, You’re in My Heart (dedicated to his beloved Celtic soccer club) and Have I Told You Lately. This brief reprieve gave everyone a chance to catch their breath and revel in the brilliance before the last run of rocking tunes. Baby Jane, Stay With Me and Da Ya Think I’m Sexy nearly brought the house down to wild applause. The big screen alight with some questionable emojis that gave me a giggle, but it wouldn’t be Rod Stewart without a bit of sauciness. After a brief absence from the stage Rod returns to finish out the night with the sublime Sailing, it was a moment to cherish, and I will hold it with me for a long time to come.
There was so much more to this show but of course I can’t reveal everything, you MUST go and see it for yourselves. It will take you on a journey across the decades that have formed the man that is Sir Rod Stewart, and you will love every bloody minute!
You can still catch Sir Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper at the following shows:
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne - March 15,2023
A Day On The Green, Geelong - March 18, 2023
AEC Arena, Adelaide - March 21, 2023
A Day On The Green, Mount Cotton - March 25, 2023
A Day On The Green, Mount Cotton - March 26, 2023
Qudos Arena, Sydney - March 29, 2023
Roche Estate, HUnter Valley - April 1, 2023
A Day On The Green, Bowral - April 2nd, 2023