Rocking the night away with two music legends at the top of their game – together for the first time.
– review of the show at the Hard Rock Live (Hollywood).
This evening’s show is one of those rare occasions when a double bill is a rock fan’s dream. Elder statesman and Sir Rod Stewart is joined by pop goddess Cyndi Lauper for an 18-city summer tour. Their first show together is tonight here at Hard Rock Live and it was a blast.
Lauper’s who career has spanned over 30 years became a rising superstar during the 1980’s. Her catchy pop songs and multi octave vocal range set her apart from most of her contemporaries. Helped in part by fledgling TV music channel MTV, Lauper not only expanded her audience with good solid music and radio play, she was able to add wonderfully electric imagery via the video genre. To say she took advantage of the new television outlet would be an understatement. Her videos were heavy rotation material that appealed to audiences across the board. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Time After Time, True Colors, She Bop; all video classics were huge chart toppers and groundbreaking in the medium. Her debut solo album SHE’S SO UNUSUAL released in 1983 was the first debut album by a female artist to chart four top-five hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Lauper earned the Best New Artist in 1985 at the 27th Grammy Awards.
Cyndi has released nine studio albums and sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Her trophy case includes Grammys, Tony’s, Emmys, MTV Video Music Awards, American Music Awards and Billboard Awards. She is in the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame as well as having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is a humanitarian and advocate for LGBT rights. This evening she rocked the stage in Hollywood Florida like she’s done many times in the past.
Cyndi is always a kick to see live in concert. Her exuberance is contagious as she pulls favorite songs out of her bag of tricks. Showcasing her incredible vocals Lauper hit ever note. It appeared however she was experiencing sound problems that plagued her entire set. I didn’t detect anything and I doubt anyone in the audience did either but something was definitely a miss for Ms. Lauper. Forging on like all professional entertainers do, Money Changes Everything, I Drove All Night (her version is my favorite) and She Bop were killer. You Don’t Know from her SISTERS OF AVALON CD was a great surprise and rather timely. Of course her encore had everyone in attendance gleefully singing along to Lauper classics. The infectious Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, a beautifully tender rendition of Time After Time and inspiring True Colors left us wanting more. As with every show I’ve seen of Cyndi there is always a stroll through the audience. Tonight was no exception as she climbed on a chair, waving her arms rallying the troops. Cyndi Lauper is just fun to watch in concert. Matched with our next performer, this is certainly going to be one of the best shows of the year to check out.
Rod Stewart’s career is one of legend. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, over 100 million records worldwide. His climb to super stardom began in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s with The Jeff Beck Group and later with the Faces. In 1963 he joined the Dimensions as a vocalist and harmonica player. In 1964, Rod joined Long John Baldry and the All Stars. He released his first solo single Good Morning Little Schoolgirl in 1964. His first solo album was release in 1969, AN OLD RAINCOAT WON’T EVER LET YOU DOWN. From the late 1970’s to early 1990’s Stewart released some of the greatest rock records ever made. Many of Rod’s album releases are considered classics – ATLANTIC CROSSING, SMILER, A NIGHT ON THE TOWN, FOOT LOOSE AND FANCY FREE, BLONDES HAVE MORE FUN, OUT OF ORDER, EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY, GASOLINE ALLEY, and THE ROD STEWART ALBUM. Stewart’s chart toping singles include Tonight’s The Night, Hot Legs, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?, Maggie May, Downtown Train, Reason To Believe, You’re In My Heart, Passion, Have I Told You Lately?, the list keeps going. In the 2000’s Rod garned a new audience with the release of a series of successful albums the GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK included classic standards. Like Lauper, Rod has a star on the Walk of Fame, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 1994, and knighted in 2016 by Prince William.
Already a spark from Cyndi Lauper’s performance, the crowd at Hard Rock Live was ready, set, go for Stewart’s arrival on stage. The staging for Stewart’s set was a black and white checkboard right down to the stage floor and curtain. Stewart dressed in smart white slacks; white shirt and black and white jacket looked spiffy as ever as he tasseled his spiked hair to and fro. His gravely vocals were as clear and clean as ever in typical Rod Stewart fashion. I don’t know what he drinks or eats but the guy just doesn’t age. Constantly moving, shaking his tush, and swinging the mic stand. His setlist highlighted some of his biggest hits and fan favorites. Starting out with Infatuation followed by the soul classic Love Train there was no doubt Stewart still loves performing live and interacting with the audience. Some Guys Have All the Luck, You Wear It Well, Downtown Train, and Rhythm of My Heart sounded as fresh as when they were first released. As expected Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright), Maggie May (complete with Rod kicking and throwing soccer balls into the audience) Hot Legs, Forever Young, Young Turks and Have I Told You Lately received the biggest reaction from the audience which is quite a feat considering the people in the floor seats stood all night. Stewart even took his shoes off and threw them into the audience proclaiming they were “the most ridiculous shoes I’ve ever seen.”
His band and backup singers stole the spotlight with a great rendition of Ike & Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High allowing Stewart time for a costume change. Emerging in a hot pink suit (that matched Cyndi’s hair) Stewart laughed “only real men can wear a pink suit”. He’s not known as ‘Rod the Mod’ for nothing. Rod’s encore Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? complete with balloon drop topped the cake with a rock-and-roll cherry. Make no mistake Stewart still has soul in his ole rock engine and a song in his heart that will never fade.