Rod Stewart made quite an entrance on Wednesday night as he took the stage at Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park to the sound of the Champions League anthem.
"Good evening, thank you for coming, I'll be here for an hour and 40 (minutes)," announced Stewart, "It's a little more than a football match and a twice the fun. The most important thing is that you enjoy yourselves."
In a silver suit and his blond mane of hair, the 72-year-old Stewart demonstrated impressive fitness in the humid Tel Aviv air, but soon succumbed to environmental conditions and got rid of the jacket.
Stewart got the crowd excited with the hit Tonight's the Night and then transitioned to the song that jumpstarted his lengthy career, Maggie May.
"Is the sound back there okay?" He inquired politely. The British singer then left the stage for a costume change, with a band of dancers keeping the crowd company until his return with a black outfit to sing Forever Young, probably his motto in life.
He dedicated the next song, Rhythm of My Heart, to soldiers, wishing that they "are healthy, as long as they are on our side." Pictures from his knighting ceremony ran on the on the video screens behind him, with the British flag waving in the background.
But beyond self-glorification, there was a fine performer here. Stewart sounds great, just like in the beginning of his career, with a rougher voice that sets him apart and the ability to flirt nonstop with the audience, getting them excited even for his less familiar songs.
It's a shame the sound was not optimal for a singer with a voice like his, and it's a pity there were no video screens on the sides for the more distant audience members. A pretty basic, yet lacking, feature.
The park was still hot with Baby Jane, and cellphones came out in force to document the 80s hit that still plays beautifully.
Stewart then got off the stage, once more to return with a third outfit, a golden suit that drew applause from the crowd. Here the exciting part of the evening began, with touching ballads like First Cut, You're In My Heart, I Don't Wanna Talk About It, and Have I Told You.
Stewart then got off the stage again and came back with a fourth outfit, a different kind of silver jacket and black pants, and proceeded to sing Do You Think I'm Sexy, perhaps his most recognizable and iconic song.
He was also joined by well-known Israeli singer Rita, and together they performed Sailing as a beautiful duet that got the crowd excited and re-lit the park.
Strangely, there was no encore, and the audience waiting for one was left disappointed. But hey, at least ours was the last word.
(Translated & edited by Lior Mor)