Rod Stewart: The Great American Songbook – A Very Different Rod Stewart

Somewhere along the line, all the rock & roll stars I once listened to are getting old.  Not that I’m getting old, it’s just that they are.  Some have fought it every step of the way, while others have graciously assumed the role of elder statesmen of rock -n- roll.  Still others have found a different niche.  Such is the case for Rod Stewart, who in 2002 after a battle with thyroid cancer, began performing classic American pop standards, more familiar to the parents of the audience he once cultivated.

Released in 2003, the album and subsequent DVD were quite a different sound for Rod Stewart.  This “In Concert” presentation had a collection of his classics, plus songs by other artists I wouldn’t have normally associated with someone like Rod Stewart before now.

I have to say I ended up enjoying his take on the classic songs.  These songs include those written by Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin and performed by the likes of Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra.  Stewart has a full orchestra behind him for these and does a terrific job.

The second part of the DVD covers more familiar tunes to Stewart fans.  Here he has backup dancers and a rock band behind him.  These songs are good if a little more restrained than the performance I remember from the early 1980s.  Still, Stewart manages to make this distinctly his own with moments such as when he breaks into Every Breath You Take in the middle of Some Guys.

My only complaint is with the DVD itself.  There are weird directonal images appearing on the screen and a movie camera with a 1/4 in the upper left and some other odd thing in the lower right.  I only saw it once before on another music DVD and drove myself batty for a while trying to get rid of it, thinking I had accidentally pressed something to make this appear.  I have been told it has to do with being able to change the viewing angle, but there are no directions to this effect and it certainly didn’t work on my viewer.

There’s a smattering of Special Features on the disc which do add to the experience.  I enjoyed the interview where Stewart talked about his desire to record these songs and an appreciation for them that I wouldn’t have had twenty or so years ago.

DVD issues aside, I actually enjoyed Rod Stewart: The Great American Songbook much more than I expected to.  He manages to cover a variety of material quite well. I expect most of his fans will be pleased with it.

Set List

Forever Young
Some Guys Have All the Luck
They Can’t Take That Away From Me (1937)
The Way You Look Tonight
These Foolish Things
Every Time We Say Goodbye
The Very Thought of You
That Old Feeling
You Go To My Head
For All We Know
The Nearness of You
That’s All
We’ll Be Together Again
Rhythm of My Heart
Downtown Train
Maggie May
Young Turks
Hot Legs
Havin’ A Party
I’ll Be Seeing You


• These Foolish Things Music Video
• Bonus Cut: It Takes Two
• Exclusive Interview
• Exclusive Photo Gallery
• Rod Stewart Biography

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