Rod Stewart Edinburgh Castle review: Rock legend delivers a scorcher Edinburgh Castle performance despite rain
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Legendary rock star Rod Stewart performed the first of his two Edinburgh Castle concerts on Thursday night, July 6, with an energetic performance that made many forget about the pouring rain – instead, dancing and singing the night away to a set-list of the rocker’s signature tunes and covers of iconic rock classics.
Entering the stage to the sound of bagpipes, a rapturous sold-out crowd burst into applause when the 78-year-old emerged in a gold jacket – his attire fitting for a king of the genre. Kicking off the concert with a cover of ‘Addicted to Love’ the thousands in attendance were soon clapping in unison, prompting the music legend to address the crowd with a sincere ‘I love you Edinburgh.’
The music icon continued to delight crowds with a string of greatest hits, starting with ‘You Wear it Well’ – which took on a new meaning owing the sea of ponchos and tartan hats throughout the jam-packed audience – ‘Ooh La la (when I was younger)’, ‘Some Guys Have All The Luck’, ‘Baby Jane’, ‘Forever Young’ which featured a interlude of Irish and Scottish dancing– with the crowd pleasers intertwined with covers versions including ‘It Takes Two’ who he performed with the late Tina Turner in the early 90s.
The former Faces front man also paid tribute to his late friends Jeff Beck who he first began performing with in 1967 and Fleetwood Mac star Christine McVie. Performing a cover of ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It’, Stewart’s brightly-coloured band adorned in pink and gold took a brief pause to allow the sold-out arena to chant the chorus, with the crowd’s collective voice reverberating around the historic site.
The concert, rumoured to be the one of the last of the legend’s rock and roll tours, then swiftly moved into age-old crowd-pleasers, with an enthralling rendition of ‘Maggie May’ followed by a poignant cover of ‘I’d rather Go Blind.’ But, despite the rain being constant thorought, songs including ‘Tonight's the Night’, ‘The First Cut Is the Deepest’ and ‘Downtown Train’ meant the wind and showers failed to dampen the crowd’s spirit.
A special performance of ‘You're in My Heart’ was dedicated to the people of Ukraine. Dressed in a blue and yellow suit and singing in front of a backdrop of images from the ongoing war, the celebrated rocker said “Ukraine is a country that has always fought for their freedom” before turning to salute a projected image of the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The show culminated with songs that touch a soft spot for Edinburgh audiences, with a surprise appearance from Edinburgh favourites, the Bay City Rollers, who mesmerised the thousands in attendance with their version of ‘Sunshine on Leith.’ Rod paid tribute to his father Robert, a master builder from Leith, singing ‘Dirty Old Town’ which got everybody singing and swaying as images of Leith were projected onto the stage. One final bouncy number ‘Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?’ had people up from their seats and taking to the isles for one last boogey before the concert came to a spectacular close with the virtuoso singer captivating the thousand-strong audience with his iconic cover of ‘Sailing’.
Fans piled out of Edinburgh Castle singing and dancing all the way down the Royal Mile with the a sense of jubilation encompassing the street and the story on people’s faces suggesting they had witnessed something special. Rod may not have performed ‘Stay With Me’ but he certainly gave a performance that will stay with the audience forever.