His musical setup consisted of a pianist -- who I am convinced has been an extra in German crime films -- a drummer, a percussionist, two guitarists, a saxophonist, a bass player, and six backup singers who also did double duty on horns and violin.
It is important to note that the bass drums bore the crest of the The Celtic FC and everything was a hypoallergenic white.
While I never witnessed him in his prime, it is easy to see the persona that he commandeers onstage. He's funny, he's aware of those who surround him, and he even played a little grabass with the violinist. Rod Stewart is a freaking prankster!
But he can also be caring. When "Rhythm of My Heart" came on, aside from having a great call and response moment with his singers, the background screen had footage of the allied armed forces from WWII to now. He dedicated the song to the armed forces, past, present, and future.
That track segued into "Young Turks" but not before he showed a little slideshow of his five thousand kids and grandkids, all decked out in Celtics gear. This man is beyond a supporter and booster. If the first cut is the deepest, his bleeds green and white.
In an intimate moment that would echo in a little self-deprecation later, Rod Stewart went from sex symbol to total and complete father figure whilst introducing the numerous members of his family in the photos. Daddy might be a pop star, but daddy don't mess around.
"Downtown Train" provided him his first break where the percussionist and the drummer went into a full-fledged drum solo that riled up the crowd enough to accept Rod's wardrobe change into a full purple (read: Barney) suit and also introduced the lovely ladies of the Fort Lauderdale Strings to the stage for the quasi-acoustic portion of the show.
These gals did a great job holding it down on standards like the Van Morrison cover "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" and "The First Cut is the Deepest."
This was followed by a couple getting engaged a couple of seats away from us. These must be the kind of shenanigans that go down in the "exclusive" seats. Congrats to that couple.
For the tenth track of the night, Rod teased the crowd with the A Side of "Maggie May," "Reason to Believe," and went on to describe how radio DJs intense dislike for it was the catalyst for "Maggie May" becoming such a huge hit.
Keeping it focused on a career-spanning set list that allowed for breaks and bouts of energy, he whipped out a rocking rendition of the Chuck Berry classic "Sweet Little Rock N' Roller" (a 1958 B Side) and brought out his super cute six-year old Alastair on stage to dance and groove with some decidedly Michael Jackson inspired moves.
At this point, the girls got a wardrobe change into some sweet fringe and what happened next included the very capable pipes of his backup crew tearing through a spirited version of "Proud Mary." Rod came out in a psychedelic ensemble primed for an awesome video montage of the Celtics' greatest moments on the pitch for "You're In My Heart," which if you can believe it, is not about women, but football!
That broke into another footie take with "Hot Legs" that was preempted with candid photos of Rod in drag (nice legs by the way) and him punting somewhere in the vicinity of thirty autographed footballs into the crowd. (I did not get one).