mod at 49 by Gavin Lance Austin American Statesman; Austin, Tex.;
Apr 1, 1994
Stewart's performance in Austin Wednesday night before about9,500
fans could almost be measured as a double shot. Artistically,Stewart
appeared to wrestle with apathy - the Austin stop was one
of the last on a grueling yearlong tour - until he seemed
to remember, halfway through his set, that ex-Faces bandmate
Ronnie Lane was in the house. From there he bolted into overdrive
like the Rooster of old.
Judging by the adulation
a mostly female audience gave him, he shook the Erwin Center
off the rock Richter scale. Pacing himself through a 2 1/4-hour
workout, the newly enshrined Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee
carried a rhapsodic disposition for 27 songs, treating each with
varying degrees of respect, though none were tossed out clumsily.
While Stewart's Pink
Panther-strut inspired many in the audience to revel in his weak
Da Ya Think I'm Sexy-era myth, it was his reinvigorated classics,
especially those from his multiplatinum Unplugged . . . and Seated
album, that enhanced the evening's affair. Still, it was evident
by the whoops and rhythmic hand-claps cascading upon him that
to some Stewart was little more than a beefcake bumpkin who didn't
seem to mind being ogled as if he were the second coming of Tom
Jones and not a master of pop songcraft.
Stewart obliged the
30-somethings' insistence to sing along on his more commercial
flights of fancy: During one stretch, four straight songs were
interrupted to allow the audience to carry the refrain. After
whipping through Maggie May, he put his hands on his hips, gazed
into the dark blankly, and practically yawned "'tis my pleasure."
At the show's outset,
the man who is known in turn as "the haircut," "the
nose" and "the voice," didn't seem to feel any
urgency to be heard over the cacophony of noise his eight-piece
band and full-scale orchestra provided. Stewart's famed sandpaper-like
vocal chords remained buried in the overly percusive sound mix
until the tempo slowed for Reason To Believe, the third song.
Stewart was most
buoyant when he arrived at his Faces medley. Noting that it was
the first time, to his knowledge, that he and two of his legendary
Brit-rock supergroup bandmates had been in Austin together (Lane,
an Austin resident, was front and center as Stewart's special
guest, while Ian McLagan sat behind keyboards onstage), Stewart
plunged into Stay With Me and Sweet Little Rock and Roller.
That momentum carried
over the remainder of the show, reaching its peak with Have I
Told You Lately, Van Morrison's This Old Heart of Mine and a
tribute to Motown during which, after two hours of calisthenics,
the 49-year-old Stewart still had the energy to do jumping jacks
and kick a soccer ball into the mezzanine.
Twisting the Night
Away brought the show to a rousing conclusion. When all was said
and done, Rod the Mod proved on this night that his is a voice
that will be everlasting.