A COUPLE of numbers after taking to the black and white checkerboard stage, Sir Rod Stewart tells Tuesday's audience, “We’re going to be here two hours. Enjoy yourselves, ladies and gentlemen, it’s later than you think”.

The show covers, predictably, Stewart’s entire career, and while he might not be able to hit the notes he could 40 years ago, he’s still showman enough to paper the cracks in a way the crowd loves and which gives his band and backing singers the chance to shine.

Not to say his voice isn’t what it used to be, though it's occasionally lost under the music, and the vast 13,500 seater arena carries the music brilliantly, with fans seated in the gods afforded the same quality of sound as those ignoring their seats and surging to the stage – though slightly less likely to dance.

Typically, Stewart’s performance is laced throughout with humour. During the intro to Tonight’s The Night, for example, the video screens read “Viagra is now available in teabags. It doesn’t improve performance, but stops your biscuit going soft”. Likewise, before Ooh La La, he talks about three members of his former band The Faces being dead, before realising to much amusement he’s got his maths wrong. Only two are gone, but he gets up and glances back at his seat and says, “I’m still here… aren’t I?”

Family is also clearly a big deal for Stewart, and his support act – Sisterhood – is a two-girl Nashville act, one of whom is his daughter Ruby. During the show, the screens show home videos and pictures of Stewart with his children; he dedicates recent single Can’t Stop Me Now to his late father for all his support, while Rhythm Of My Heart features video of him receiving his knighthood from Prince William.

Special credit should go to the band, with – again, in typical Stewart fashion – beautiful and talented female violinists, harpists, mandolin players and backing singers, and stunning work from the male guitarists, drummers, bassist and sax player, who occasionally get to break free with extended solos or duels, while Stewart nips off stage for an outfit change.

And then, seemingly without warning, it’s all over. The footballs have been kicked into the crowd, balloons have fallen from the ceiling, and a black and white checked curtain falls, then raises to show the performers all face down on the stage.

They’ve enjoyed themselves almost as much as the crowd, but there are no real goodbyes. It’s abrupt, and nobody’s really sure if it’s over until the lights come up.

Still, two hours of solid hits from an iconic performer have flown by, and everyone enjoyed themselves – even if it wasn’t quite as late as we’d expected.