Rod Stewart with special guests The Sisterhood, performing his From Gasoline Alley To Another Country Hits Tour at The Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Saturday 10th December 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Sir Rod Stewart was at The Motorpoint Arena last night for the second time this year, to perform his Gasoline Alley To Another Country Hits tour, showcasing tracks from his second solo album 1970’s Gasoline Alley to his latest album, 2015’s Another Country. And with that period spanning forty five years and more than twenty five albums, it meant that the 9,000 strong crowd were treated to hit after hit.

But opening the proceedings were special guests The Sisterhood; a duo which includes Stewart’s daughter Ruby and her friend Alyssa Bonogura. Touring to promote their EP Tenderize My Heart, they produced great vocals and Bonogura delivered thumping great guitar work on tracks such as One Light and The Fire.

But it was their version of Gasoline Alley that has this audience’s attention as they did justice to the great man’s song. On this scant performance it will not be too long before they are playing venues in their own right.

It wasn’t long before the 71 year old took to the stage to deliver a set packed with hits whilst giving members of his highly talented band the opportunity to shine, featuring at various points, guitar, drum, violin and saxophone solos as well as a solo tap dance by one backing singer. And when Stewart opened with a cover of Sam Cooke’s Having A Party and The Persuaders Some Guys Have All The Luck, the crowd were on their feet in awe of the man.

Showcasing his uniquely gravelly voice, his spiky hair, wonky nose and wiggling bum, he still portrayed a redeeming vulnerability that has endeared him to his legions of fans for many a year. There were some Faces songs in the set, including You Wear It Well and Stay With Me that had this crowd singing and dancing along.

Things were slowed down a little when Stewart and his band gathered at the front of the stage for an acoustic segment. They strummed through Stewart’s two best ballads, Cat Steven’s The First Cut Is The Deepest and Crazy Horses’ I Don’t Want To Talk About It, as a man wearing a Santa Claus jumper appeared on the stage, on a step ladder to drizzle fake snow over Stewart’s hair as he relaxed to sing Have Yourself A Very Merry Christmas. A particular highlight of this segment was the poignant Ooh La La.

He can still kick a football to the back half of the Arena but he sat down to deliver a fine slow version of Tom Wait’s Downtown Train, whilst Handbags And Gladrags, Baby Jane and Rhythm Of My Heart, which was dedicated to all soldiers who have lost their lives, won over any of the audience who may have thought that the whole thing was a little cheesy.

Sailing had to be included in the set and Stewart did not disappoint as it resounded around an Arena lit with thousands of glowing phones. Finishing with his 1978 worldwide smash Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? it was clear that many of the ladies in the audience still did. Delivering the final song of the night, Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think), it was a fitting closer to an evening where he had crooned, had the audience swooning and showed that age is no barrier to having a great time.