Rocking Rod kicks off tour

IT is now just days until Rod Stewart will rock his way into Portman Road to perform the biggest concert Ipswich will see this summer.As thousands of fans prepare to flock to the stadium, tonight we give our readers a sneak preview of the kind of show to expect.

IT is now just days until Rod Stewart will rock his way into Portman Road to perform the biggest concert Ipswich will see this summer.

As thousands of fans prepare to flock to the stadium, tonight we give our readers a sneak preview of the kind of show to expect.

DAVE MORTON of the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle was there to witness the first concert of the veteran rocker's tour and today he tells us what he thought of the show.

YOU might have forgiven Rod Stewart for opening his show with We Are Soaking at a soggy Saint James' Park.

But it was plain sailing for the rock superstar as the rain and wind that had lashed the city all day thankfully subsided for an excellent two-hour performance.

Supermac, Keegan, Beardsley, Shearer, I've been lucky enough to witness all these giants grace the hallowed turf of St James' over the years.

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Tonight it was the turn of another legend, a former Brentford FC apprentice, a devoted Celtic fan, a mere slip of a lad at 62.

One of the most distinctive voices in rock, Rod was first making his name about the time United won their last trophy in 1969.

From outstanding blues wailer with the Jeff Beck Group to international superstar, Rod Stewart has been up there in the Champions' League of the entertainment world for nearly four decades.

With half the audience of around 20,000 in waterproofs, the night kicked off with You Wear It Well.

If the sound was a little iffy at first, by the time Rod, looking fit and lean, got to Have I Told you Lately and This Old Heart Of Mine, it was clear as a bell.

Hot Legs saw the singer kicking balls into the crowd with a power and flair that eluded most of Newcastle United's so-called stars last season.

I Don't Want To Talk About It and the poignant old folk classic Dirty Old Town, devoted to the late, great Celtic winger Jimmy Johnstone closed the first half.

It was in the second half that the singer cut loose, rolling back the years with great singalong renditions of The First Cut Is The Deepest, You're In My Heart and Tonight's The Night.

And perhaps Mick Jagger is the only other rock star, well into his seventh decade, who would have the bravado to sing something like Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? and mean it.

Then it was Sailing, with thousands of pairs of arms aloft and lots of out-of-tune singing.

Inevitably it was that other great Rod Stewart anthem, Maggie May, that really brought the house down, accompanied by great vintage video footage of Rod with The Faces on Top Of The Pops from way back in 1971.

The old Sam Cooke favourite Twisting The Night Away closed the show, complete with a spectacular firework show high above the East Stand.

Wor Jackie and Hughie Gallacher wouldn't have believed their eyes.

The crowd loved it, but disappointingly there was no encore.

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