Rod Stewart &
First Niagara Center
Saturday May 31, 2014
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto
Two old veterans teamed up at the First Niagara Center Saturday evening. Billed as the Voice, The Guitar, The Songs, Rod Stewart and Carlos Santana delivered a type of show that appeared different in contrast to one another but in the end worked out well for fans of both artists.
Carlos Santana took to the stage first and landed the first punch by hitting the crowd with his full arsenal of talent. It’s no wonder why so many people were there just to see and hear him effortlessly play a tight set that helped set the tone for the evening.
Santana’s eighty-five minute set recollected a good synopsis of his lengthy career. Some of the highlights included “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen”, “Oye Como Va” and his number one smash “Smooth” which was originally recorded with Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of Santana’s set was the appearance of his wife Cindy Blackman-Santana as she came out to play drums on “Corazon”. She is known for having worked with Lenny Kravitz. Her performance was so riveting that she received a rare standing ovation from the Buffalo faithful.
Rod Stewart has had quite a career as well. The raspy voiced singer has had numerous awards and accolades bestowed upon him. The list would take up valuable review space to list, we’ll just say he is one of most successful recording artists of all-time.
Stewart walked onto a full stage of musicians and background singers to the sounds of his 1984 single “Infatuation”. His Las Vegas style stage was roomy and featured a big screen in the rear with other screens which flashed images and colors and added to the overall setting.
Several of Stewart’s biggest hits were played early on such as “You Wear It Well”, “Some Guys Have All The Luck” and “Tonight’s The Night”. Stewart now 69, as logic would have it may not possess the voice he once had, but sounded very respectable.
Stewart changed gears mid-set and did a brief acoustic portion which started off with “The First Cut Is The Deepest”. As he introduced “Reason To Believe”, he explained to the crowd how originally it was the A-side of the single but by popular demand people were flipping over and playing the B-side “Maggie May” which then rose all the way to number one. “Have I Told Ya Lately” closed it out. Stewart used some musicians from Buffalo during this segment.
The show also featured the Faces classic “Stay With Me” which was played for the first time since the tour began. As Stewart closed with his classic “Maggie May” it brought me back to a time when I was young. “Maggie May” was a starting point for me as it was the single I ever bought and was the first taste of real music I experienced.
Many times when artists of this stature tour together, very rarely do they treat the fans by performing a song or two together. So when Carlos Santana came out during Stewart’s set to play the Etta James cover of “I’d Rather Go Blind” it made quite a memorable moment. It was a great night of musicianship by Santana along with the great song selection of Rod Stewart making it an evening of enjoyable music no matter how you sliced it.
Rod Stewart Set
Twistin’ The Night Away
You Wear It Well
Some Guys Have All The Luck
Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright)
Stay With Me
Rhythm Of My Heart
I’d Rather Go Blind (W/Santana)
First Cut Is The Deepest
Reason To Believe
Have I Told Ya Lately
Can’t Stop Me Now
Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller
You’re In My Heart
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy
Special thanks to Tracey Mancini for all her help