Rod Stewart live in London, ON 2022There’s only one word to describe the Rod Stewart concert at Budweiser Gardens on Saturday night (July 23, 2022) – WOW. That’s it, my work is done – there’s nothing more to say.

The last time I saw Rod Stewart in concert was more than 30 years ago when the English hitmaker was in his prime, visiting Ottawa for his hugely successful Vagabond Heart album and the current hit singles of the day, Rhythm of My Heart and The Motown Song. Flash forward to July 23, 2022 and Sir Roderick surprisingly had the goods to deliver a legendary show. Much like a finely aged bottle of 1926 Macallan, Stewart is the consummate performer and he didn’t let the sold-out crowd down at all during a show that lasted nearly two hours.


After reading a recent review by the St. Paul Pioneer Press about his show in that city only weeks before this one, I have to wonder what they were watching and listening to. The newspaper claimed Stewart’s voice had lost a lot of its power and that he needed breaks to catch his breath. It wasn’t what Londoners got to witness – we saw a man with a solid voice prancing around the stage like an honorary knight of the monarchy. I wonder what the Pioneer Press would have thought of recent shows by Burton Cummings, White Snake or KISS – none of these bands have anywhere near the vocal power Stewart had tonight.

At 77-years-old Stewart was in great physical shape for his age (and much better and healthier than I am at 54), dancing around the stage like a much younger man, and chatting up a storm with the audience in between songs. His voice sounded remarkably well for someone that wasn’t voice tracked – his vocals cracked during one of the songs, so he made the band extend the music so he could do it properly from the start. That, and a slight wipe of a tissue as he coughed, were the only missteps in the show, otherwise, it felt like a performance being conducted by someone 20 years younger.

The band, which comprised about a half a dozen members, including an occasional second drummer, packed a pretty good punch, performing the background to 22 iconic hit songs. Accompanying Stewart was a collection of five or six woman, dressed to mimic Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love music video. The girls gave the show a bit more pomp and pageantry than anyone expected, but it was suitable for the concert being billed as Stewart’s farewell to rock shows. Once the tour ends, he says he’ll leave his rock days behind to concentrate on swing and old-time favourites.

For this show however, Stewart stuck to hits like You Wear It Well, Some Guys Have All The Luck, Forever Young, The First Cut Is The Deepest, Maggie May, You Turks, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and Hot Legs, among many others. There was even a four song acoustic set in the later half of the show, performed with everyone sitting on white leather-looking stools.

The set was a massive display of lights, LED signs and a shiny black floor. It had the look of those big stadium shows The Rolling Stones are known for, but on an arena scale. The band wore pink jackets, the girls white shirts, black shorts and black nylons, and Stewart changed a few times with white and leopard jackets, a cowboy hat, and some of the coolest rocker pants around.

With that in mind, Stewart was in London to give it his all – to make it a farewell to remember – to rock out one last time. The memories of this “farewell-to-the-hits” concert will stay with the fans for a long time. To them it was one for the books and one of the biggest rock spectacles to ever visit the Gardens.

Cheap Trick London, ON 2022

Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick at Budweiser Gardens in London, ON on July 23, 2022. Photo by Dan Savoie

Supporting act Cheap Trick sounded superior to when they visited The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor prior to the pandemic, but were a bit loud for many in the crowd. Vocalist Robin Zander One thing for certain is that you never know what they’ll pull out for their setlist – no two shows are really ever the same. London received a few golden nuggets including Elo Kiddies from the band’s 1977 debut album and Light Up The Fire from their latest release, along with the big hits Dream Police, The Flame and I Want You To Want Me.

Rod Stewart Setlist:

  • Addicted to Love
  • You Wear It Well
  • Ooh La La
  • Some Guys Have All the Luck
  • Having a Party
  • It Takes Two
  • Forever Young
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest
  • Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
  • Maggie May
  • I’d Rather Go Blind
  • Young Turks
  • Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?
  • Rhythm of My Heart
  • Call Me (Sung by Backing Singers)

Acoustic Set:

  • People Get Ready
  • Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)
  • You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)
  • Have I Told You Lately


  • Hot Stuff (Sung by Backing Singers)
  • Hot Legs


  • Stay With Me

Cheap Trick:

  • Dream Police
  • Elo Kiddies
  • California Man
  • If You Want My Love
  • Southern Girls
  • Ain’t That a Shame
  • Light Up the Fire
  • Downed
  • I Know What I Want
  • The Flame
  • I Want You to Want Me
  • Surrender
  • Auf Wiedersehen
  • Goodnight

Rod Stewart / Cheap Trick
Budweiser Gardens
London, ON
July 23, 2022
All photos by Dan Savoie

Rod Stewart

Cheap Trick

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