Lytham Festival 2019: music legend Rod Stewart brings down the house with big band session on the Green

Rod Stewart performed at Lytham Festival
Rod Stewart performed at Lytham Festival

It promised to be a party on the Green and Saturday night on the Fylde coast was no disappointment thanks to a big band bash by the great showman Rod Stewart.

A busy week, day four of Lytham Festival's 10th anniversary was once again basked in sunshine;"It's going to be a good night I can feel my water" comes that instantly recognisable gravely tone and so it begins a blowout of a show, two hours, spanning Sir Rod's six decades in the industry.

A catalogue 'of so many songs', so many hits, it's impossible to know what he might pull out of the songbook from way back when, every show on the recent UK tour has been in its own way a little bit special.

Tonight was no different, Rod's in fine spirit, "It's Saturday night, I've had a few drinks, we've been on this tour for three months now. Two more to go."

"We've got two hours, we've got a curfew - just get on with it Rod," comes the self-reprimand.

A round of cheers echoes across the main proms arena, everyone is already having fun and he hasn't really got started.....yet.

Rod Stewart was accompanied by a big band production

Rod Stewart was accompanied by a big band production

This was a set-list rich in big solo hits but also some of those well-known classic covers the 74-year-old has brought life and plenty of soul to over the years, The First Cut Is the Deepest (Cat Stevens cover) and Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison) come as part of an acoustic set, allowing the many couples a very personal slow-dance, from the raspy crooner. Magic moments.

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A sell-out crowd of 20,000 on the waterfront lapped up every minute, adding fine voice with no need for encouragement to singalongs I Don’t Wanna Talk About It, Maggie May to Tonight's The Night and happy to indulge in an open air boogie to Da Ya Think I'm Sexy, Baby Jane and Twisting The Night Away.

This was a production that went all out, complete with tap dancing in 'Forever Young' from those who made up his fantastic band , true musicianship at its best.

The big band included two drummers, harp, double bass, string quartet, mandolin while the 'backing' singers took front of stage with a fantastic rendition of Fleetwood Mac's 'Go Your Own Way' during one of the three costume changes whilst also adding great sounds to 'It Takes Two.' The visuals in colour and that trademark flamboyancy all add to this special occasion.

Those Celtic folk undertones remained present throughout, 'Rhythm of My Heart' was accompanied by a sobering video montage dedicated to the D-Day Veterans while 'You're in My Heart' played homage to his beloved Celtic Football Club.

All the while he plays to his crowds and ensures each of the band has their own time to shine, even the missing ones, paying tribute to one of the singers forced to return home owing to her father being taken ill.

Having played and produced chart-topping albums for more than 50 years covering an array of genres popular music, from rock to folk, soul and the classic American Songbook, one might assume in his mid-70s Rod might want or even deserve to slow things down.

Crowd pictures from Friday night:

His Lytham outing was anything but a scaled down production. There's plenty left in that distinctive voice that has kept Rod at the top and as the sparks of Saturday night's epic firework display flew high during finale of 'Sailing' he knew exactly how to leave his loyal audiences wanting a little bit more.