This live event has finished
- British rock legend steps on stage in Taunton
- 18,000 fans descend on Somerset County Cricket Ground for hotly-awaited open-air concert
- Fantastic picture-filled supplement out in shops next Thurs
- Tweet using #rodstewarttaunton
AND that's it for our live coverage tonight. We hope you had as much fun as we did.
Huge congratulations to Ann Lee and the rest of the St Margaret's Hospice team for bringing Rod to Taunton!
Check back here tomorrow for a sparkling, gleaming gallery of Rod pics, and find your face in the crowd!
(I think we saw the best of Rod's suit collection tonight, don't you?)
Drive safely everyone.
Fans are piling out to their nearby homes and cars for the long journey back.
Have a safe trip home and we hope you all enjoyed the concert.
Wheelchair user Kieran Vile was chuffed with his vantage point at The Colin Atkinson Pavilion.
"It's a good view, because if I was on normal sitting down level, it would be difficult to see everything because everyone would be stood up."
Friend Jake Sharland said: "We arrived quite early, and it was very busy then.
"It's very difficult for a disabled person to get a good view, but I think they've done well, and to get so many people here from Taunton., it's nice to see."
ROD takes a breather for a costume change while his fiery ladies get rollin':
YES Rod, we think you're sexy:
ONE of my favourite shots of the night! (@GazetteDaisyB)
My soundtrack to walking to Tesco was Rod Stewart singing Baby Jane live.— @Draculara 18 June 2014
Very happy that the parentals loved their present to see Rod Stewart @SomersetCCC tonight. #60th #birthdaypressie— @Pagita1 18 June 2014
Considering his age, rod stewart was brilliant tonight, loads of energy at the cricket ground. 69 and not out! http://t.co/eUKJ5oi1aT— @andy_ajbwelding 18 June 2014
AND now for a few snapshots from the night just gone...
Tracy Frankham and Kristen Holmes travelled from Yeovil to try and get Rod to have a selfie with them:
SO it's all over! Revellers are reminded to think of local residents and be as quiet as possible coming out of the County Ground.
Lots of great pictures coming in from the concert, nice to see so many out supporting a great cause and enjoying some live entertainment.
Rolling On The River: these fiery souls give Rod a quick breather!
You're In My Heart up next.
Maggie May bellows out from the County Ground stage and from near enough everyone in Taunton.
Rod has brought an orchestra on stage for a golden sound to match his suit for The First Cut Is The Deepest.
Rod now performing Forever Young
Rod's down to shirt and tie (to whooping) and singing a song about being in the music business.
A refrain from the seventies, and it's going down like the best, sweetest spoon of honey.
Rod performs Wear It Well to the happy, bouncing crowd at the County Ground, Taunton.
Onto the swaggering chilled blues version of Tonight's The Night which was finished off for him a capella.
Rod addresses the crowd:
"Good evening my friends! Oh what a gorgeous evening. Unbelievable.
"Thank you first of all, before we get into our two hour set, thank you for coming. Especially those who've travelled a long distance, and it's definitely going to be worth your while."
Straight into a Motown hit - This Old Heart Of Mine Is Weak For You.
The main man, Mr Rod Stewart, is on stage and has kicked off his performance with Infatuation.
Dixie Mix now doing a fab swing fling version of When the Saints Go Marching In, with a raspy voice a la Louis Armstrong.
And guess what! it's their last song.
Massive Rod fans, Lorraine and Guy Beale from Blackbrook, are still very much enjoying the view from the back of the County Ground, despite having a sit apart, having been away when tickets went on sale.
Guy says: "I'm a bit worried about the outfield though. We're doing quite well at the moment and I'll never forgive Rod if he ruins it."
Dixie Mix are threatening to get us all dancing, singing, "n' all sorts of things", and they're doing exactly as promised: this is music you can't help but move to, from these men in their black and red.
With the sun still beating down, this place has got an incredible festival feel to it; everyone's got pints on hand, chatting on excitedly.
Update: 3.5 hours after the gates opened, Rod's support steps on stage:
Dixie Mix, all the way from New Orleans, and they sound awesome - all trumpet, double bass and boogie.
County Gazette reporter Daisy Blacklock is at the County Ground.
She said: "What a beautiful evening - people are still piling in, the sun is beaming down and St Margaret's dream has come true.
"Congratulations to the team for all their tremendous hard work."
Ann Lee, St Margaret's Hospice's clinical director and deputy chief executive, and the brains behind the Rod Stewart concert group, told the County Gazette: "Two years ago we had a staff conference. At it, Chris Akabusi, the famous olympian, came and said to us that we needed to raise our ambitions, and raise the bar as a charity, to engage people in the community.
"As part of that, I was given the challenge of attempting to raise £100,000 in a day, and to reach 18,000 people, who by 2020, would represent the number of people we would need to care for.
"The concert money from Rod's concert will go into direct patient care. We want to continue to strengthen and develop our community service. At the moment we are giving care seven days a week, 365 days a year to Taunton and Yeovil.
"We want to be able to sustain the existing service that we provide, and in this time of financial challenge, that's hard, so an event like this will help us.
"We're the fourth largest hospice in the UK. We've got people from London, Germany and from other hospices in the South West to come and see how we have raised the bar."
Sam Stewart, development director for St Margaret's, reflects on the scene before her at the County Ground.
She said: "It's just incredible, an amazing achievement, and we feel very proud.
"It's great to see just so many people here enjoying the atmosphere. It's great for Taunton, great for Somerset and it's great for St Margaret's.
"We've been dreaming of this moment for the last three years, and it's just something seeing all those people out there."
It sounds like a 'great' evening of entertainment over at the County Ground.
THE gates are open!
DON'T FORGET: Extra park-and-ride bus services are running from both Taunton Gateway and Silk Mills sites.
The following roads are closing for tonight's open-air concert:
- Priory Bridge Road between St Augustine Street and Dellars Wharf junctions between 4pm and midnight
- Priory Avenue between Canon Street and the Gyffarde Street junctions between 4pm and midnight
- Bridge Street and North Street will be closed between 9pm until midnight
The AA is also placing "no waiting" cones on the following streets:
- Priory Avenue
- Canon Street
- Magdalene Street
- Duke Street
- Canal Road
Victoria Park is being used for parking with access from Priory Avenue, with egress, after the concert, via both Priory Avenue and Victoria Gate.
Weather still set fair - a tad better than for Elton two years ago...
MOTORISTS, don't forget a number of road closures are in place tonight to help things run as smoothly as possible as an expected 18,000 descend on the county town.
Taunton looking stacked out for Rod Stewart tonight. Average age of attendee looks 50+ so I fit right in 😄— @nic_police 18 June 2014
ST Margaret's Hospice may be the first adult hospice to stage a full-blown rock concert with a legend topping the bill, but with £10 million a year needed to deliver its service, the bucket collectors are still out in full force.
Pictured are St Margaret's Denise Murrell and Jo Stewart, who says she is sadly "no relation" to Rod.
Here are ten other Rods to keep you entertained while you wait for the main Rod...
1. Rodney Trotter – from Only Fools and Horses, aka Dave according to Trigger. Comedy gold – an excellent Rod.
2. Rod Hull – less vicious half of Rod and Emu. But when it comes to an Emu, Rod ‘you wear it well’.
3. Rod Laver - Australian former professional tennis player who holds the record for most singles titles won in the history of tennis, with 200 career titles – giving him ‘every reason to believe’ in his talent.
4. Rhod Gilbert - Welsh comedian – superb at stand-up and a regular on TV and radio panel shows. If the Welsh listen carefully tonight, they might just catch a few bars drifting across the Bristol Channel.
5. Rod Wallace – a key member of the team when Leeds United won the old First Division in 1992 (hurragh! – Ed) – the last piece of silverware won by the Yorkshire team (sob – Ed). Often captioned as his brother Danny in the national papers.
6. Fishing Rod – Great for catching fish if you are ‘sailing’ in calm seas. Ahem.
7. Lightning Rod – If ‘tonight’s the night’ for a thunderstorm, you’ll need one of these.
8. Dyno Rod (this is terrible – Ed) – ‘Have I told you lately’ that your drains are blocked?
9. Erm, that’s all the Rods we can think of – use the Comment box below if you can help. Sorry.
STEVE Letchford from West Quantoxhead queued from 3.30pm to be one of the first to pass through the gates.
"I got my tickets as soon as they went on sale. The queuing hasn't been too bad, we've had some entertainment from security."
KIM and James Rigby from Ilminster were among those right at the front of the queue before Somerset County Ground's gates opened a few minutes ago, and say the scale of their Rod fandom is "definitely 10/10."
"Only The Stones can beat him," says James.
The queue of ticket holders waiting to see @rodstewart in Taunton now extends beyond St James' Church.— @GazetteMColl 18 June 2014
ROD STEWART BY NUMBERS...
- 10/01/1945 – The date on which Roderick David "Rod" Stewart was born (making him 69 years old).
- 6 – The number of consecutive UK number one albums he has had.
- 62 – The number of hit singles Rod has had, including 31 that reached the Top 10, and six which hit the #1 spot.
- 18,000 – The number of people expected at today's concert.
- 1962 – The date Rod Stewart's career is said to have begun, when he took up playing the harmonica.
- 59 – The place Rolling Stone magazine awarded Rod in its 100 Greatest Singers of all time.
- 3 – The number of times Rod's been hitched.
- 16/06/2007 – The date Rod and his third wife Penny Lancaster (pictured) got married in the cloistered medieval monastery La Cervara in Portofino.
- 8 – The number of children Rod is father to.
- 7 – The number of bands Rod Stewart has been a member of in his life: Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions, The Hoochie Coochie Men, Steampacket, Soul Agents, Shotgun Express, The Jeff Beck Group, and the Faces.
- 3,500,000 – The attendance at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro in 1994, listed as one of the largest concert attendances of all time. SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA.
Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey has an older brother, Randy, who makes a living as a Rod Stewart impersonator.— @FactsInYourFace 18 June 2014
ROD should open the concert tonight with a Wurzels' track! a few of you have suggested on social media.
@GazetteDaisyB just put this to Wurzel TOMMY BANNER, who lives in Taunton, to see what he'd make of rock legend Rod doing just that.
"What a great idea! It'd be absolutely magic, that would be, not half.
"I've seen him at Cardiff Castle - my wife is Welsh and she still has a lot of family over there - and he did a brilliant show.
"If it were me, Handbags & Gladrags is my Rod Stewart choice.
"In our song, 'Rock Around the A38', it opens with the line, 'Way down Taunton on the A38', and it's got a rock feel to it, completely different years and years ago - that would be a great one for him to open with."
Don't forget Rod Stewart in Taunton today. Road closures start at noon so plan carefully or #parkandride. More here: http://t.co/xDhxr5gcj0— @SomersetCouncil 18 June 2014
Still not sure where to park for Rod Stewart tonight? We have plenty of parking space available @£3 per car, about 15 min Hot Leg to venue.— @TauntonTownFC 18 June 2014
Just waited one hour for lunch -bars busy and town is thronging #rodstewarttaunton— @GazetteDaisyB 18 June 2014
Sound check at the Ground ready for Rod Stewart! https://t.co/l3lI8hIuZS— @SomersetCCC 18 June 2014
AND some DON'TS:
- DON'T bring umbrellas into the arena.
- DON'T smoke in the arena.
- DON'T bring food and drink into the arena.
- DON'T leave valuables on display.
WITH concert gates opening at 4pm, here are some 'Dos and Donts' for those of you heading, ticket in hand, to Somerset County Ground...
- Keep your ticket with you at all times.
- Arrive in good time before the start of the concert.
- Give yourself plenty of time to take advantage of the toilet facilities.
- Check the weather forecast, and bring suitable clothing.
- Be sure to bin your rubbish.
- Avoid unlicensed traders.
- Be considerate of others while moving around the concert.
- Think of local residents when entering the County Ground.
- Keep up-to-date with the Somerset County Gazette site for traffic and travel updates.
UBER-LUCKY Somerset County Gazette competition winners, Susan and David Ridge from Watchet, are going to be in the FRONT ROW for the Rod Stewart concert for St Margaret's Hospice tonight.
Susan, who works for Somerset County Council, told the Gazette:
"It's obviously lovely having front row tickets - because of my age I know him from the seventies; his start era, really.
"He's gone with the times, and I just find him really good at what he does.
"My favourite song is 'The First Cut is the Deepest', which is lovely, and Maggie May. I like all the old ones really."
WHICH song do you think Rod will open his open-air concert with tonight? Tweet @GazetteDaisyB
ROAD closures have now begun in and around Somerset County Ground in anticipation of Rod and 18,000 concert goers.
Don't get caught -- click here for the large version of Somerset County Council's colour-coded map, below.
Gates open at 4pm for #RodStewartTaunton some roads will be closed round the ground, so leave plenty of time. Follow the diversions.— @ASPTaunton 18 June 2014
FOR Taunton worker Denise Wiltshire, a director's secretary at Viridor on Priory Bridge Road, tonight is all about the nostalgia, and she's going with a group of friends.
"It's such a big thing for Taunton, I remember him from when I was 17.
"A long time ago I was buying all his vinyl, which sadly I had to get rid of when I moved house.
"I think it brings back memories for a lot of people.
"Maggie May is the big one for me."
Denise, this one's for you!
SOME key Rod information below if you're headed to the concert at Somerset County Cricket Ground tonight (thanks for tweeting @ZestPayroll)...
- Gates open at 4pm at Somerset County Ground in Taunton.
- Refreshments will be available on site.
- Toilets will be in reach of the arena and stands.
- All bags will be checked on entry to the arena and the stands for containers, cans, or any other objects "deemed dangerous to the public".
- TICKETS: You can proceed to the ticket scanners if you have a ticket. Tickets are vouchers are individually bar-coded. And there are no "pass-outs" - once you're in the Ground, you're in!
- First Aid: Points will be clearly flagged and dotted around the arena.
- No umbrellas are allowed inside the arena.
- The Box Office is open from 1pm on the Priory Bridge Road gate entrance.
- Small hand-held cameras and recording equipment are permitted, but professional cameras, visual and audio equipment, isn't.
- Got a Disabled Viewing Platform ticket? Enter via the Priory Bridge Road gate entrance.
- Paid-for car parking is available at Victoria Park, with other car parks still open around Taunton.
- Park & Ride is operating from Silk Mills and Taunton Gateway.
lovin life at the rod stewart box office lol http://t.co/zVZaj43gfQ— @xsophiebrown_ 18 June 2014
LOOKING for some top nosh to power you through the rock-out with Rod tonight?
OUR forecast is reading 0% chance of rain...
Some cracking phone calls coming in today: "My husband will be late because of work. Can you delay Rod going on stage please?"— @SomersetCCC 17 June 2014
Classic phone call #3: "I know we are not allowed to bring food and drink into the Ground but can I eat food outside of the Ground......?"— @SomersetCCC 17 June 2014
IT seems @SomersetCCC have been receiving a few funny calls re: Rod...
Loving these! RT @SomersetCCC: Phone call #4: "I've got pitch seating. Does that mean I have a seat?"— @missJSkinner 18 June 2014
PAUL Bryant will be stewarding the car park at Victoria Park in Taunton to help things run as smoothly as possible for Rod Stewart's appearance tonight.
He said: "I like Rod's music - it'll be great for Taunton and I love Maggie May."
RT @57deacon: A unique day in the life of Somerset CCC. Rod Stewart plays @ Taunton while we play Middlesex @ the Oval! #sccc #oval http://…— @NicCrossman07 18 June 2014
Who's going to see the legend that is Rod Stewart tonight? Tweet me or hashtag your tweets with #RodStewartTaunton as we count down!— @GazetteDaisyB 18 June 2014
THE County Ground gates will open at 4pm today with the concert expected to start at 6pm, and end no later than 10.30pm.
PHOTO: New Somerset County Gazette Photographer Aisling Magill.
RT @SomersetCouncil: Don't forget Rod Stewart in Taunton today. Road closures start at noon so plan carefully or #parkandride. More here: h…— @SymSamLottyF 18 June 2014
SEEING Rod Stewart at the County Ground tonight? Tweet @GazetteDaisyB #RodStewartTaunton or email firstname.lastname@example.org
EXTRA park and ride buses are running today in anticipation of heavy traffic around Rod's appearance.
A council spokesman said: "With thousands of music fans set to attend, there is likely to be a significant increase in the number of vehicles on the road and several roads will be closed to allow the event to take place safely.
"This has been agreed by the event organisers, the police and the county council.
"To encourage concert-goers to leave their cars behind, arrangements have been made to run extra park-and-ride bus services from both Taunton Gateway and Silk Mills sites.
"Road closures will affect Priory Bridge Road, Priory Avenue and other streets near the cricket ground from midday to midnight, while Bridge Street and North Street will be closed between 9pm to midnight."
ROAD closures will begin from noon today in the vicinity of Somerset County Cricket Ground.
Click here for the colour-coded map of affected roads from Somerset County Council.
BRITISH rock legend Rod Stewart steps onto the stage at Somerset County Cricket Ground today for his hotly-awaited concert in aid of Taunton-based charity St Margaret’s Hospice.
Thousands of Rod fans – 18,000 to be exact – will flock to the county town, with general tickets long sold out.
Rod’s visit is the third large scale concert to have been staged by the County Ground in recent years, following the coup of Sir Elton John’s two Taunton performances.
The concert is hoped to raise a significant sum for St Margaret’s Hospice, which has organised the concert, and depends on £10 million a year in fundraising for its service.
Anne Lee, St Margaret’s clinical director, said: “Staff have been working behind the scenes on this for two years.
“What’s more, we’re the only adult hospice in the country who have done something on this scale – arrange a rock concert to raise money.”
The County Ground gates will open at 4pm, with the concert expected to start at 6pm and end no later than 10.30pm.