Views on pop culture through my eyes

Like Seeing Old Friends

Rod Stewart/Stevie Nicks in Concert
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Hollywood Bowl

The Heart and Soul Tour

Songs performed: “Stand Back,” “Outside the Rain,” “Dreams,” “Secret Love,” “Sorcerer,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Fall From Grace.” “Rhiannon,” “Landslide,” Edge of Seventeen,” “Love Is” (Stevie); “Love Train,” Tonight’s the Night,” “Having a Party,” “Young Turks,” “Leather and Lace,” “Forever Young,” “You Wear It Well,” “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” “Twistin’ the Night Away,” “Some Guys Have All the Luck,” “Downtown Train,” “Reason to Believe,” “You’re in My Heart,” “Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Roller,” “Rhythm of My Heart,” “Have I Told You Lately,” “Hot Legs,” “Maggie May,” “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” (Rod)Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks

Comments: Attending this concert was like seeing old friends you haven’t seen in awhile. You marvel at how good they look, and realize that not much has changed since you last saw them. So, yes, this was a bit of an oldies show.

Rod came out at the beginning and introduced Stevie Nicks. Amazingly, this is the first time these 2 have worked together. He praised her and her artistry. Stevie started her career with Fleetwood Mac and emerged as a solo superstar in the 80’s. She started her set with “Stand Back” and covered solo hits, album cuts, and Fleetwood Mac classics as well as giving us a glimpse of her new CD “In Your Dreams” and it’s lead single “Secret Love” (both produced by the great Dave Stewart). I would have added a few more hits in her set like “Talk to Me” or “Gypsy”, but overall she gave us a good overview of her career. She even got in some good spinning like we know she loves to do. “Landslide” featured a slide show of images of Stevie and her parents — she has always said that song was for her father. I love that Stevie added that we should all pray for the world during these troubling times.

A curtain featuring a funky 70’s inspired illustration of a train and the words “Rod Stewart” on it were lowered after Stevie’s set. I guess that was his take on a “Love Train” which was the first song of his set. Featured on his recent “Soulbook” covers album, it gave a rousing start to the show. Rod had a good stage set-up including a large video backdrop with a video screen in the middle of it. The whole feel of the stage set was like a 60’s mod soul revue. He had a lively band with some sexy female horn players dressed in red, as well as some sexy back-up singers in black too. The lighting was good too, as they used the rings of the Bowl for different lighting effect also. Rod’s had a long career, from the late 60’s with Faces to his singer-songwriters days in the 70’s to disco to 80’s hit maker and corporate rocker to his recent make-over as a purveyor of the Great American Songbook and all the sequels and other cover albums (soul, rock classics and I hear there is country one in the works). Rod is a guy who likes to have fun, and kept things moving along at a fast clip. His wardrobe is now stylish suits and sport coats, but he’s kept his trademark haircut.

His voice was not as strong as I remember from seeing him in 2004. His vocals went up and down in volume during the evening. He was strong on the choruses, but during the verses his vocal was often lost in the mix with the band. I was wondering if it was the sound at the Bowl in the upper sections, but when he turned the mic over to a background singer to sing “Knock on Wood,” it was obvious that it was Rod, as her voice was clear the whole time. Like Stevie, he has quite a few hits in his career… he covered all phases except for the Great American Songbook era, which is surprising considering how successful it has been for him (no great loss for me though). He has a lot of songs that the crowd knows word for word and he had them singing them to him a few times during the night. I am sure it is a great ego trip to hear 18,000 fans singing your songs.

Highlights for me were: “The First Cut Is the Deepest” (which he reclaimed as it was remade by Sheryl Crow a few years ago), “Rhythm of My Heart” (which he dedicated to the troops), “Tonite’s the Night,” “Forever Young” (which he dedicated to his children, including a new son born this year), “You’re in My Heart,” “Reason to Believe,” “Having a Party,” his duets with Stevie on “Young Turks” and “Leather and Lace”, “Maggie May,” “Have I Told You Lately” and “Hot Legs” (during which he kicked soccer balls into the crowd).

I found it interesting that he chose to end the night with “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”. Not that it isn’t a fun song, because it is. But because it seems so insubstantial compared to some of his other hits. Did I enjoy myself at this concert? Yes, absolutely. Did I feel as jazzed as when I saw Lady GaGa last year? No. But it was still a solid show, showcasing some classic songs and timeless artistry. Thanks to Rod and Stevie, 2 rock icons for taking us down memory lane on a warm spring night at the Bowl.

Rod is now performing at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas… In a new show called “The Hits.” I hope we can get there to check it out.


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