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Santana and Rod Stewart at Xcel

Posted Monday, August 11th, 2014 11:06 pm GMT -5 in Concerts, Music

Rod Stewart and Elton John are two artists that regularly play Caesars Palace that I’ve always wanted to see. When Travelzoo sent me an offer to see Stewart at the X for under $30 (including fees), it was a no-brainer. On top of all that, top 100 guitarist Santana was on the bill too.

Turns out Carlos stole the show. His 85 minute opening set sounded great and included two iconic moments for me: Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Va. The three percussionists were amazing and must have permanent calluses on their hands. Loved seeing the Hammond organ out there too. His comment about “we both play black music for white people and we love to make women crazy” made me laugh.

When Stewart started, the sound quality was noticeably worse (and his vocals needed a boost). I actually agreed with a lot of Jon Bream’s review in the Star Tribune, which is scary. Youa Vang at City Pages was much more positive, so maybe I’ve officially moved into musical curmudgeon territory.

Rod’s portion of the night seemed overproduced to me, with twenty additional performers at times and three costume changes. Song selection, pacing, a cover by his backup singers and an awkward encore seemed strange for an act that’s been performing a long time. I was also turned off by the weird World War II tribute and the “Rod wants you to know he personally signed all of the soccer balls” message on the big video screens during Hot Legs.

The biggest disappointment for me, though, was Maggie May. I was waiting all show for this song and when it finally came at the end, he had the audience sing the first few iconic lines. He also seemed to be phoning it in a little, in my opinion (or maybe his voice was just worn out by then). And what was up with the perma-grin on the woman playing the mandolin? Freaky.

Colleen also agreed with Bream, with both thinking Rod’s highlight was the Faces’ song Stay with Me. I thought Colleen was going to die laughing when one of the production cameras showed an audience member on the big screen looking at his watch. Another highlight: showing the Rolling Stones quote about him singing Do Ya Think I’m Sexy when he’s 50 (and making a mockery of himself). The balloons were…fun?

It was so great to see Santana come out again for I’d Rather Go Blind, but we were hoping to see him again during the encore (pretty sure they were planning to, but probably turned up the house lights when they saw how many people had already left). Can’t complain too much for the price, though. Our upper level seats were almost exactly where our hockey seats used to be and were fine for an arena show – especially at $28 per ticket. Set lists (per City Pages) after the jump.

Santana Setlist:

  • Galaxy Dance Intro
  • Toussaint L’Overture
  • Hope You’re Feeling Better
  • Everybody’s Everything
  • Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen
  • Oye Como Va (Tito Puente cover)
  • Maria Maria
  • Foo Foo
  • Corazon Espinado
  • Jingo Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)
  • Tequila (The Champs cover)
  • Smooth
  • Encore
  • Woodstock Chant
  • Soul Sacrifice
  • Saideira

Rod Stewart Setlist:

  • Infatuation
  • Having a Party (Sam Cooke cover)
  • You Wear It Well
  • It’s a Heartache (Bonnie Tyler cover)
  • Young Turks
  • Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)
  • Rhythm of My Heart
  • I’d Rather Go Blind (Etta James cover with Santana)
  • Forever Young
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest (Cat Stevens cover)
  • I Don’t Want to Talk About It (Crazy Horse cover)
  • Brighton Beach
  • Sweet Little Rock & Roller (Chuck Berry cover)
  • Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
  • You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)
  • Hot Legs
  • Maggie May
  • Encore
  • Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?

Up next: Dead Man Winter, 8/28 @ Turf Club

Originally published by DK on August 11, 2014 at 11:06 pm

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