Anyone that reads LA Music Scene knows that the first concert I ever attended was “The Beatles” at the Hollywood Bowl in 1966
But has anyone been curious about what my most attended concert was? Well, ask no more! The answer is Rod “The Mod” Stewart. I have seen him more than anyone else and it isn’t because I deliberately set out to do so. It just always seemed to work out that way…as just about everything in my life seems to do.
My first brush with Stewart was a misadventure to the Shrine Exposition Hall in 1968 when I went with a group of music-loving friends to see the “Jeff Beck Group” plus an incredible line-up of other great bands. Stewart was impeccable, flirty and flamboyant. Joints were being handed around the crowd freely and there was no need to smoke them as the contact high from the pot smoke would get ya. My misadventure didn’t occur until the “Moody Blues” came on and someone handed me a joint. I decided to take a puff and passed out backwards right in front of them and Justin Hayward looked at me with the most incredulous look I ever did see. At the time, Beck’s “Truth” was my favorite LP and they played all of my favorites.
The stand out occurrence at one of Stewart’s concerts took place at the Hollywood Palladium shortly after the show at the Shrine. I had worked my way up to the front left side of the stage when Stewart began singing to me and a bunch of fans came running over there. Stewart was such a flirt and I loved it. He handed me a bottle of “Blue Nun” wine and the crowd went wild and rushed me. I don’t remember what happened to the bottle of wine or what music was played. When doing research for this column, the info said that he had been there with The Small Faces, but that is all up in smoke. I do remember that the original opening act cancelled and a German “Oom Pah Pah” act replaced them…LOL.
Fast forward to 1974 and I am at The Great Western Forum and there is Stewart in all his flamboyant splendor prancing around the stage and singing his heart out. I had my 3 -year-old son with me and was dancing in his seat yelling “Sing it, sing it!” Thank goodness this concert didn’t hurt his hearing as I did not have headgear on him, just some flimsy ear plugs which drove him crazy.
Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant would have been tied with Stewart, but this coming June 25 will be my 4th time to see Stewart in concert. This time it will be at my favorite venue…the Hollywood Bowl. This night is the opener for his and Cyndi Lauper’s 22 gig Summer Tour. I’ve managed to see The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and last year the Moody Blues, to name a few, there and now it will be Rod Stewart’s turn. Stewart’s special guest will be Miss Kinky Boots herself, Lauper of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” fame. This is the opening night of this tour and I haven’t been able to get my hands on the set list, but I’m sure that whatever Stewart and Lauper come up with will be warmly appreciated like a pair of favorite slippers er boots.
Stewart is a “Grammy Living Legend” and has been inducted twice into the “Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.” The gravely voiced crooner is a singer and songwriter of two millennia and began his assent into the world of rock n’ roll practicing to Bob Dylan as a teen. When Stewart hit a dry spell as a songwriter he began to croon to standard cover songs that would evolve into “The Great American Songbook” from 2011. His release in 2013 titled “Time” featured a newly rekindled energy of times past and featured bagpipes, mandolin, fiddle and guitar driven riffs. The inspiration “came out of the blue,” according to Stewart.
Stewart has been in “residency” in Las Vegas for 8 years this June at the Colosseum in Caesar’s Palace and will be there for “The Hits” show this June 12 to 30.
His tour with Lauper in 2017 featured Stewart’s old standards such as “Infatuation” and “Tonight’s The Night” and had rave reviews so maybe they’ll surprise with more of that. Between the pair they have sold 250 million LP’s.
Do any of you remember when Stewart’s 1977 Porsche Turbo Carrera was stolen at gunpoint or when one of his buildings in L A burned down? No, but I’ll bet you can name his hit songs from back then? If you do, is that what you would want to hear?
Either way, let’s face it, whether he’s crooning Dylan’s “Forever Young” or “First Cut Is The Deepest,” Stewart is and always will be a flamboyant, gravely-voiced and sexy rock star of the nth degree.
In other related news about bands from my teen years, The Yardbirds are set to play a gig at “The Fonda Theater” at 6126 Hollywood Blvd. on June 7. For those of you not familiar with this eclectic rock band, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton took turns rocking out this great band which in turn launched their careers and all are featured on “Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 100 Greatest Guitarists.” Famous for such songs as “I’m A Man,” “Shapes Of Things,” “For Your Love” and “Heart Full Of Soul,” The Yardbirds are credited by some as the creators of psychedelic music with their use of feedback and fuzz tone distortion. Drummer Jim McCarty is the sole remaining member of the original lineup.
The Zombies have made their way onto this town’s TV screens with an outstanding conceptual commercial for the National Dairy Association’s “Got Milk” Campaign with a song from when they had hits on the charts titled “I Love You” which caught my attention when I first heard it. I kept thinking I know this song from long ago, but could not identify the name so I hit my Shazam app and there it was…”The Zombies, I Love You”. Famous for such songs as “She’s Not There,” “Time Of The Season” and “Tell Her No” The Zombies are on an American tour through the end of March and then resume in October through November with a string of German shows. Sorry friends, but there are no LA gigs on the tour roster. Also in their future is an ocean cruise titled “On The Blue” in February 10 to 15, 2019.
The Zombies have added Danish bass player Soren Koch to their lineup due to the unexpected death of their bassist Jim Rodford who fell down a flight of stairs in January of this year. Rodford had also played with The Kinks for several years before beginning his 18-year stint as bassist for The Zombies. If you would like to hear a song not usually associated with The Zombies check out the DVD “Bunny Lake Is Missing” which features them in a bar sequence with a song titled “Just Out Of Reach”. Carol Lynley stars in this 1965 British film which I swear actress Jodie Foster’s 2005 “FlightPlan” used the basic premise of “Bunny Lake Is Missing” as their plot line.
When I was kid growing up in North Hollywood with my brother and mother, one of our family “treats” was to go to a place called “Pepper Tree Lodge” to its diner and feast on burgers and sodas while listening to songs on the old juke box and sing along. One of my top favorites was Dean Matin’s “That’s Amore”. I also liked Perry Como’s “Hot Diggity” and “High Hopes” by Frank Sinatra. This place is not the one currently located on Lankershim Blvd. at Oxnard Street. This one was located further up on Lankershim Blvd. heading toward the old Palomino Club.
On February 23rd at The Federal “The Meatballs Of Comedy” brought back memories of those days from long ago with their renditions of many an Italian tune including “That’s Amore.” The comedy was focused on being Italian and eating Italian. Although my mother and brother are both passed away, I was able to relive a wonderful part of my life with them through “The Meatballs Of Comedy.” And I hope that you will too as they have another show coming up on March 23. Doors open at 7pm for dinner and drinks and the show begins at 8pm, admission is $15.00. Treat yourself to stand-up comedy with an Italian twist that may well remind you of a family dinner at your mama’s house. If you are not Italian, it will remind you of the Italian style dinners at mama’s in movies and TV that you have seen, except now it will be live.
I had tears in my eyes from laughing at the jokes. They take requests for songs but don’t ask for them to sing “That’s Amore” as they do it at the end of their show. I know because I requested it.
One final thing, an addendum if you will. The Arctic Monkeys’ song that I adore is “Do I Wanna Know” and not “Do I really Wanna Know’ as I wrote. Silly me. LOL