By Peter Sloggatt
Rod Stewart brought a little bit of Vegas to Huntington, performing an exclusive concert at The Paramount for the venue’s VIP club members Tuesday night.
The Scottish-born singer brought a parade of hits from his decades-long career and filled the stage with a sharply dressed nine-piece band and a trio of backup singers. It was an impressive set-up, perhaps plucked from his shows in Las Vegas. Stewart is a regular headliner on the Vegas Strip where he recently renewed a residency at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace.
It was a Vegas-worthy setup with sharp, black-and-white checkerboard details on the instruments – drum kits, keyboards, even the microphone stand – to match the natty checked tuxedo jackets worn by male band members. The ladies of the band were young, attractive and versatile on a number of instruments including violin, mandolin, guitar and even the harp.
Stewart walked on stage as the band launched a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Having A Party,” then took it down a notch with some of his more mellow hits: “Some Guys Have All The Luck,” “Tonight’s the Night,” and “It’s a Heartache.”
Introducing one of his oldest songs, “Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Roller,” Stewart commented on The Paramount, comparing it to a club in England “where the Stones started out” that he played at the start of his own career.
With a violinist providing a bagpipe-like Celtic blare, Stewart paid tribute to his roots with a Scottish take on his hits “Rhythm of My Soul” and “Forever Young.” It ended with a blistering set from drummers simultaneously playing at three drum kits, and the backup singers dancing in a circle to an energetic Celtic fiddle.
Singing “Will I See You Tonight” to bring the tempo down (and give the girls time for the second costume change of the night), the atmosphere got intimate. Stewart and the band sat on chairs to deliver “You’re In My Soul,” and “The First Cut is the Deepest,” a Cat Stevens song that Stewart put on the map when his version hit the charts 1973.
From there it was all uphill and up-tempo. He flirted with the audience through “Maggie May,” got campy in his skin tight jeans during “Hot Legs,” and cranked it up for the climax, an extended version of the show-stopping (and show-ending) “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.”
The concert launched The Paramount’s Legends Series, which promises intimate concerts by arena performers for members of the venue’s VIP Founder’s Club. Next up is Don Henley on Sept. 12, with tickets starting at $250. For information on the series, visit Paramountny.com, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org