REVIEW: Apart From Rod, The Brook, Southampton.

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Anyone with a co-writing credit on I Was Only Joking - arguably the finest song Rod Stewart has ever recorded - is surely touched by genius.

That anyone is Pagham’s Gary Grainger, part of the triumvirate of guitarists behind a new tribute band - not a tribute to Rod, but a tribute to themselves, the men who made Rod the star he was at the absolute pinnacle of his career.

Gary is joined by Jim Cregan and Robin LeMesurier, veterans, all three, of the original Rod Stewart band from the golden days of the late 70s and early 80s.

And what a night they delivered in Southampton - brilliant from first to last, a succession of great tracks all played to perfection in the most perfect of venues.

Gary is the understated, unassuming lynch pin; Cregan gives it the chat; and LeMesurier, surely Keith Richards’ and Ronnie Wood’s lovechild, oozes all the rock and roll charisma.

Together, they soar, that great Rod Stewart sound conjured up by the guys who created it.

The icing on the cake is vocalist Jim Stapley, not even the remotest glimmer of a twinkle in anyone’s eye when Messrs Grainger, Cregan and LeMesurier first hammered out those hits - and yet what a natural he is when it comes to those vocals.

There’s no effort, thank goodness, on his part to look like Rod. Instead, he lets his own personality shine through to offer vocals which are sufficiently Rod, sufficiently himself and absolutely right.

Phil Hewitt