Legends and Legendary Rod Stewarts

We’ve seen Rod Stewart in concert four times. Maybe five. Okay, six. It’s like we’ve watched him grow old — no, we’ve watched him age — as we have. John Anthony? We’ve seen him once. On stage (left), he is Rod Stewart…or at least he plays Rod Stewart, which passengers sailing the Norwegian Epic these past three months already know.

John is the only “nearly Rod” we have seen, so we have no idea how he stacks up against the other tribute acts of the same name. For us, he was good, very good, and that at least in part explains why he works with Legends in Concert, playing a super star who’s about 20 years older than him. He leaves the Epic next week — as do “Britney Spears” and “Michael Jackson” — when a new cast of Legends boards NCL’s mega ship.

These were his first shows at sea. Anthony started playing Rod Stewart (right), in a modest way, as part of a band in Boston, his hometown (How does somebody from BAH-sten sound like a Brit from North London?). The more Stewart songs Anthony’s band played — and he sang, the more demand there was from the audience.

“I wasn’t a huge fan of his at first,” he says, “but the more I listened to his music, the more I realized that he’s really good. I’ve seen him in concert three or four times, and I’ve seen lots of film. But it took a little convincing to get me to do it.”

Somebody from Legends called when a “Rod Stewart” opening came along, and a career was launched. That was 12 years ago. Over time, Anthony incorporated all the moves (kicking soccer balls is a must, as is wielding the microphone like a baton) and all the props (like the spikey hair and the flashy clothes), but the looks and the skills were obviously there from the beginning.

When John disembarks next week, he’s heading to Las Vegas, home base for a company that’s built this business for more than a quarter of a century, booking its tribute acts all over the entertainment world. As one of two Rods on the roster, he’s played The Strip before, but this visit to Vegas was going to be different. He’d hoped to meet Stewart for the first time…the icon occasionally plays at Caesar’s Palace.

However, the performing schedules of A-Rod and B-Rod don’t match.

“If they had, I just assumed that I’d get to meet him soon,” he says, “because I’d be working directly across the street from him at Harrah’s. Plus, I know his sax player.”

Another time. Or as Rod might one day say…Tonight’s The Night.

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