Some Guys Have All the Luck: The Rod Stewart Story – Review – York Grand Opera House
By Roger Crow, April 2017
I have a lot of time for tribute acts. The likes of Heart of Glass (Blondie) and Bon Giovi (you guessed it) have brought the house down at my local theatre. Of course when you only have to walk round the corner and pay a few quid, there’s little to lose. A year after seeing the real Rod Stewart play Hull, my partner Rachel and I are in York to see how good one of his best tribute acts is.
For a chilly, rain-lashed Tuesday night, there’s a pretty good turn out, though when Rod 2.0 walks on stage, there’s a weird feeling. Maybe it’s because we’ve travelled 25 miles to see him and made more of an investment, or maybe because we’ve seen the real thing play to thousands of screaming fans, it takes a while for our brains to re-calibrate to what that was and what this is.
Throughout the first act, ‘Rod’ and his superb backing band give us the old hits from Stewart’s early days getting a break in the industry, and being discovered by the likes of Long John Baldry and John Peel. ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ is brilliantly executed, and of course Rod’s breakout smash ‘Maggie May’ touches a chord with everyone.
“The next best thing”
In-between banter from ‘Rod’ and one of his excellent guitarists, we are given a potted history of the legendary rock star, and that weird feeling begins to vanish. However, many of the crowd seem to have a hard time getting into the spirit. Maybe they too are a little put out by the Stars In Their Eyes feeling.
Thankfully things pick up in the second half. The crowd have warmed up, and having sat through some great music but a little too much talking, we are now treated to many of those classics from Rod’s solo career. From ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’, and ‘Downtown Train’, to ‘Baby Jane’ and ‘Sailing’, the soundtrack to our lives is belted out with gusto.
‘Rod’ (aka Paul Metcalfe) might not be the spitting image of his hero, but he has the voice, swagger and captures the essence of the singer, which is often far more important for any tribute act. It might not be the real Stewart, but it’s obviously the next best thing. And apparently the real Rod’s brother and sister have said as much.
By the end of the night just about everyone is on their feet, clapping along, and the feeling has gone from funereal to fun. Obviously not all of the classics are in there.
I loved his recent hit ‘Love Is’, and would rather have heard that than some of Stewart’s cover versions, but it’s hard to argue with tracks like ‘You’re In My Heart’ and ‘Tonight’s the Night’.
The touring show rocks up in Doncaster on May 20, and whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual observer, it’s great fun once the magic happens. And hopefully, unlike the real thing, it won’t take an hour to get out of the car park on the way home.