MetraPark in Billings announced Monday that Rod Stewart, one of the best-selling artists in the history of recorded music, has rescheduled his first visit to Montana – originally set for April 14 – to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at MetraPark Arena.
With his signature voice, narrative songwriting, trendsetting style and passionate live performances he’s transcended all genres of popular music, from rock, folk, soul, R&B, new wave, and even the Great American Song Book. He’s one of the few stars to enjoy chart-topping albums in each decade of his five decade-long career, and has sold an estimated 200 million records worldwide.
As a singer and songwriter his many hits include “You Wear It Well,” “You’re in My Heart,” “Tonight’s the Night (The Final Acclaim),” “Gasoline Alley,” “Every Picture Tells a Story,” “Mandolin Wind,” “Sailing,” “The Killing of Georgie,” “Young Turks,” “Forever Young,” “Hot Legs,” “Infatuation” and the indelible, “Maggie May.”
He most recently teamed with Joe Jonas’ DNCE at the 2017 MTV VMAs to debut their new version of his iconic 1978 hit, “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy.”
“Rarely has a singer had as full and unique a talent as Rod Stewart – a writer who offered profound lyricism and fabulous self-deprecating humor, teller of tall tales and honest heartbreaker, he had an unmatched eye for the tiny details around which lives turn, shatter, and reform – and a voice to make those details indelible. His solo albums were defined by two special qualities: warmth, which was redemptive, and modesty, which was liberating. If ever any rocker chose the role of everyman and lived up to it, it was Rod Stewart.” (The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, 1980)
Stewart: In the beginning
The craft of songwriting lured Stewart from the beginning. As a young teenager, charged with minding his father’s London newspaper shop, Stewart would put up the ‘Closed’ sign, so as not to be disturbed, and sit out the back with an acoustic guitar, attempting to decode and master every track on the first Bob Dylan album.
Yet, in the mid-Sixties, in the small, hot British blues clubs in which Stewart did his formal vocalist’s apprenticeship, first as a member of Long John Baldry’s Hoochie Coochie Men, and then in the group Steampacket, it wasn’t about writing your own songs. It was about wringing every drop of soul out of Ray Charles’s “The Night Time Is The Right Time” while simultaneously wearing a sharp suit and keeping a carefully up-combed bouffant in perfect working order. The songwriting ambitions took a back seat.
Even the highly influential Jeff Beck Group, in which Stewart sang between 1967 and 1969, was largely a covers outfit. The Faces, Stewart’s next outfit, set the benchmark for rock ’n roll roistering from the 1970s onwards with its liberal attitude to refreshment in the workplace and a highly imaginative approach to the reconstruction of hotel rooms. It was for The Faces that Stewart, getting into his stride as a writer, and Stewart’s solo star began its vertiginous rise, substantially propelled by his own writings.
Back to songwriting
Stewart contributed the title track to the album When We Were The New Boys in 1998, and (not for the want of trying) nothing more for nearly two decades. He decided to write a brand new bunch of songs for 2013’s Time, an album inspired in part by his 2012 memoir Rod: The Autobiography. Arriving after ten years of Great American Songbook albums, the change in style and song was refreshing, something fans (and some critics) noted. Stewart followed up with Another Country (2015), another set of originals.
“He’s not the man he was back in 1969, when his folk was simpler and hungrier, but he’s not pretending to be. At 70, he’s a content superstar taking stock of his life, where he is and where he’s been … and it feels true to who he is today: an entertainer who is happy to reveal part of his heart because he now knows there’s an audience who cares.” (Stephen Erlewine, AllMusic)
The Billings concert comes at the tail end of a 10-date Canadian tour, and before the singer heads back to Las Vegas to resume the eighth year of his ongoing, acclaimed residency “Rod Stewart: The Hits” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
Tickets for the October show are on sale now, and cost $39.50-$129.50. Order online at metrapark.com or call 406-256-2400.