THE spirit of Argentina 1978 is alive and well: the tartan tammies,
saltires, lion rampants and, of course, Rod Stewart. Step into the
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stadium and spookily one of the first sights is '78 full back Sandy
Jardine ushering guests from one of the sponsor's lounges.
The late 70s were Rod's halcyon days, his record sales at their peak,
his voice at its best and his youth still enough intact for his macho
swagger to charm its way into the hearts and minds of the tabloids and
Saturday's concert at Ibrox encapsulated Stewart's ongoing struggle to
come to terms with age, and more tangibly maturity. Although he looked
alarmingly healthy and was in fine voice it was a schizophrenic,
populist and good-value performance weighing in at 25 songs in two and a
The orchestra was a misguided attempt at sophistication, lost in the
stadium acoustics and only audible on the semi-unplugged selections of
Have I Told You Lately and Tom Traubert's Blues.
Elsewhere he is at his most comfortable when revisiting his most
distant past on Every Picture Tells a Story and when duelling with Small
Faces keyboard player, Ian McLagan on Stay With Me. Even on later
material like Hot Legs and You're In My Heart Rod out-lads 90s
pretenders like Liam Gallagher and Shaun Ryder.
Much of the rest is a combination of rock and soul covers from the
Motown and Atlantic vaults: Sweet Soul Music, My Girl, and This Old
Heart of Mine all get an airing -- crowd pleasing, but always the easy
option, rarely testing his voice or the band and almost rivalling his
entire post-1980 output for its sheer insipidness.
The extracts from this period, even his murderous renditions of the
traditional Wild Mountain Thyme and Tom Wait's Downtown Train are turned
in to the type of vacuous stadium anthems that are the sound of a
settled, safe and hugely successful artist resting on the laurels of his