Admittedly, I wouldn’t have bought tickets, VIP or otherwise, to a Rod Stewart show had there not been some mitigating factors. Like my brother Bob said when I told him where I was going, it’s okay for a late-twentysomething to own up to enjoying some Rod Stewart, especially some of the older stuff. It gets a little more questionable when you actually buy a CD. You’d happily listen to it on the radio in the car by yourself, and maybe even sing along, but if there are other people in the car, you’d probably keep scanning the dial and pretend you didn’t hear it. It bears mentioning that Bob and I are painfully self-conscious, and a touch neurotic.
Anyway, we wound up in Bristow, VA that night because our buddy Shwa somehow managed to get himself booked as the live entertainment in the VIP section before the show, and upon announcing this to Mark, I found out that my beloved S.O. is more of a Rod Stewart enthusiast than I thought. It’s hard to say what packed more appeal — Shwa, Rod, or the surprisingly low lawn seat prices and the promise that Shwa could “pull some strings” to get us into the VIP section — but the combination thereof was enough for us to get tickets, and off we went.
I’m confidant as many strings were pulled as possible, but we still had to wait an hour outside the main gates with the Rod tailgaters (I kid you not — there were RVs and barbecues and a lot of elastic waist jeans in that parking lot), and talk our way into the VIP grounds since homedude’s set had already started. It was a little awkward (“We’re here with Shwa.” “What?” “Shwa.” “Gesundheit.” “Riiiiight…” ) but we discovered that if you’re adamant enough that the guy currently singing onstage definitely has your tickets and would happily give them to you if he weren’t — darn the luck — already performing, they’ll eventually let you in.
Truth be told, the VIP section at Nissan Pavilion didn’t exactly live up to my wildest backstage dreams, which included extravagances like free chicken fingers and laminated passes. There were chicken fingers, sure, but you had to pay the usual exorbitant arena concession stand prices for them, and instead of a pass, you got a little paper wristband that said “VIP” on it. The whole setup was kind of behind the stage, so eventually you’d have to leave the area for your seats to see the show. But you do get to sit in nice wrought-iron chairs on a lovely patio and watch the Olympics or whatever happens to be on stage at the moment on closed-circuit TV while you play Connect Four. Flossy, flossy.
There were about a half dozen of us there specifically to see Shwa and the estimable Jim “the Brit” Beardow do their set, which went over well with the rather sizable cougar demographic in attendance, some of who could be heard at the snack shack wondering if the performers were actually old enough to know who Rod Stewart is. Some of them must have been really curious, because a few waylaid young Shwa at the merch table for what seemed like a fairly long time. I think they really liked his intonation.
Eventually the party moved out to the lawn. It was a perfect night for an outdoor show, and all smart-ass commentary aside, it was a fun show to watch. Say what you will, Rod knows his audience, and prances about pretty spryly for an old dude. He shook his little tush to the ladies’ delight, and accepted flowers from the audience with cheesy lines like “I’ll put these in a vase in my lonely hotel room,” which sent many a menopausal heart a-twitter. He played only his hits, and a few covers, which we all knew the words to and unabashedly sang along. He had surprising number of costume changes (or as Jim maybe more accurately called them, “oxygen breaks”), during which his band played things like the B-52’s “Love Shack.” It was like a massive bar mitzvah reception, complete with drunken aunties. I half expected us all to do the hora at any minute.
We skipped out at the encore just at the start of “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” (ummm…we’ll get back to you on that one, Rod), and scattered to our respective vehicles. In a tour de force of hauling ass, Mark and I managed to be one of the first cars to squeal out of the parking lot, thus ending our evening as VIP big shots. Or whatever.
For those of you who missed out, here are a few pictures from the VIP section. Viewer discretion is advised. It was one crazy scene back there.
Don't be hatin' on the wristband.
Shwa and Jim rockin' out.
Gettin' wild with Connect Four.