Rod Stewart & Cyndi Lauper, Spark Arena April 9, 2023 (Concert Review)

Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper (and Jon Stevens) teamed up for a hit-filled night of nostalgia and and fun at Auckland’s Spark Arena, closing out their tour in style.

Sorry Jon Stevens fans, but we missed the former Noiseworks front man as Easter commitments prevailed, although we did catch him duetting with Cyndi Lauper on Money Changes Everything.

Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper

Speaking of Cyndi, the 69-year-old she-bopper was in much better form than when we last saw her, which was opening for Blondie back in 2017 at this same venue. Back then, Cyndi LauperLauper struggled to remember lyrics and hit high notes.

There were no such issues tonight as she dazzled the crowd in her bright yellow suit. Clocking in at just under an hour Cyndi and her band powered their way through 11 tunes, including all the hits…She Bop, Time After Time, I Drove All Night, Girls Just Want To Have Fun and True Colors.

Ever the feisty one, Lauper engaged in a bit of banter with “Mr Security Guard” reminding the security staff that this was a rock & roll show and not a jazz concert in her distinctive New York accent.

She urged the crowd to follow the rules, don’t dance in the aisles but by the time of Girls Just Want To Have Fun, the audience was having its own way with the aisles.

It wasn’t all fun and games, Cyndi got serious when addressing women’s rights, health care and abortion laws before singing Sally’s Pigeons (preface by a bit of Rod The Mod’s Sailing).

Not My Father’s Son, from Kinky Boots was an unexpected and welcome highlight to the set, which, by the time Cyndi and Co finished, felt like her own headlining gig.

Good to see (and hear) her doing so well.

Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart

And then there’s Rod.

The 78-year-old rocker-turned disco star kicked his nearly-two-hour set off with….a cover of Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love, complete with six sparkly hot pants-wearing women….three vocalists, two violin players and one on keys…along with his usual band.

Rod StewartVisually, the show was magnificent…whoever designed the lighting and video monitors deserves a medal. And the setlist began on a high note (after Addicted To Love) with classic hits like You Wear It Well, Faces chestnut Ooh La La, and Some guys Have All The Luck, featuring a fine sax solo by Jimmy Roberts who gets my vote for MVP on the night.

It just got better from there…Sam Cooke’s Twisting The Night Away was awesome as was the old Motown goodie, It Takes Two, featuring vocalist Beka Potter and then we got CCR’s Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

Great songs one and all (Rod’s always had a flare for picking a good tune) but I was starting to hanker for some of Stewart’s own material.

I became a fan back in 1971 when Every Picture Tells A Story topped the charts, and for me, Rod’s first 4 solo albums are all solid gold.

Sadly we only hear a handful of tunes from them, including a spine-tingling version of I’d Rather Go Blind with another stellar turn from the sax man.

The same can be said for Rod’s version of Tom Waits’ Downtown Train, and the acoustic set, featuring Danny Whitten’s I Don’t Want TO Talk About It, was wonderful.

Rod Stewart

So, what am complaining about?

There were times when this felt like a karaoke show…Rod would slip off stage (for a cup of tea and a lie down?) And the girls would sing Labelle’s Lady Marmalade or The Pointer Sisters’ I’m So Excited.

The sounded great…but this is supposed to be a Rod Stewart show.

Rod paid tribute to Christine McVie, but not to his old bandmate Jeff Beck

And I still can’t listen to Do You Think I’m Sexy.

Rod Stewart

My improved setlist would have him singing People Get Ready and Stay With Me and losing Young Turks and Baby Jane (and performing all of Every Picture Tells A Story).

That said, I had a great time, Rod looked and sounded in fine form and there’s something about seeing a 78-year-old man flanked by a half dozen beautiful blondes that is, well, so very Rod Stewart.

Some guys have all the luck.

Marty Duda

Click any icon to view a full gallery of both Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper. All photos by Veronica McLaughlin.

Rod Stewart
Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper Setlist:
  1. Hole In MY Heart (All The Way To China)
  2. She Bop
  3. The Goonies ‘R Good Enough
  4. Into The Nightlife
  5. Time After Time
  6. I Drove All Night
  7. Money Changes Everything
  8. Sailing/Sally’s Pigeons
  9. Girls Just Want To Have fun
  10. Not My Father’s Son
  11. True Colors
Rod Stewart Setlist:
  1. Addicted To Love
  2. You Wear It Well
  3. Ooh La La
  4. Some Guys Have All The Fun
  5. Twistin’ The Night Away
  6. It Takes Two
  7. Have You Ever Seen The Rain
  8. Forever Young
  9. First Cut Is The Deepest
  10. Maggie May
  11. I’d Rather Go Blind
  12. Young Turks
  13. Downtown Train
  14. Rhythm Of My Heart
  15. I’m So Excited
  16. I Don’t Want To Talk About It
  17. Tonight’s The Night
  18. You’re In My Heart
  19. Have I Told You Lately
  20. Lady Marmalade
  21. Baby Jane
  22. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?
  23. Sailing