REASON TO BE PEEVED
By DAVE HOEKSTRA
Chicago Sun Times
By DAVE HOEKSTRA
Chicago Sun Times
The Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks “Heart & Soul” tour landed Saturday night at a nearly sold-out United Center with the Las Vegas glitz of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme.
Fancy clothes? Check. Stewart changed from gold to powder blue to purple suits. Wild light shows? Check. Wacky jokes? Check. When Nicks and Stewart dueted on the 1981 Nicks/Don Henley hit “Leather and Lace,” Stewart stood in the background pretending he was removing a lace undergarment. It took some luster off the cowboy ballad that Nicks wrote for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. Stewart also looked as if he was pulling a latter-day Frank Sinatra and singing from a TelePrompTer.
But if you looked hard enough there were poignant moments beyond the ’70s excess that found Stewart and Nicks, with Fleetwood Mac, at their peaks.
Sheryl Crow joined Nicks for “Sorcerer” and locked into the harmony of the Mac hit “Landslide.” Singing spot-on as the song was recorded (which legacy music fans love), Nicks was in comfortable vocal range while a screen featured a photo montage of her growing up. Crow was in town to tape an Oprah Winfrey episode that includes Nicks, Joan Jett, Miley Cyrus and others. The show airs Wednesday. Nicks took time to thank Winfrey for “being so fantastic.”
The night’s most meaningful irony was the sizzling Nicks-Crow encore of Led Zeppelin’s 1971 hit “Rock ’n’ Roll.”
Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant was just a few miles away at the Auditorium Theater reinventing himself with his country-rock Band of Joy. With the exception of a couple of songs from Nicks’ upcoming “In Your Dreams” album, Nicks and Stewart sang their hits note for note as the originals. Fans loudly sang along to the slow songs.
Nothing is as familiar as a memory.
In all their debauchery and grit, the Faces were my favorite rock ’n’ roll band growing up. They inspired bands like the Black Crowes and Georgia Satellites. But I gave up on Stewart after his underrated 1975 “Atlantic Crossing” record. On Saturday he sacked his best-selling “Great American Songbook” series and stuck to honest covers from his own songbook. After spending the afternoon watching soccer at the Globe Pub, he paid homage to Chicago soul legend Sam Cooke by covering “Twistin’ The Night Away” (a Faces standard) and “Having a Party.”
Stewart, 66, moved the crowd with a picture of his seven-week-old son before launching into an anthemic “Forever Young.” Like Plant, Stewart can’t hit the emotive high notes of rock ’n’ roll, especially after his 2000 bout with thyroid cancer. His sandpaper voice still wears well on ballads and mid-tempo numbers. He slogged through “Some Guys Have All The Luck” as a roulette wheel with photos of Robert Palmer spun on the background stage. Stewart found time for a mandolin-driven version of “Maggie May” and closed his polished 95-minute set with “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy,” which is even more stupid now that Stewart is a sexagenarian. If this is the last time I see Stewart in concert, it is deeply unfortunate this was my final song.
She sorta gave me the creeps.
She twirled around in a long black gypsy dress and shawl, at one point wearing dominatrix-like black gloves with tassles. That nasally voice is hard to take in long doses. Fronting a nine-piece band, Nicks opened with “Stand Back” and hit a classic-rock crest with “Edge of Seventeen.” Set against menacing trap drums, the direct, elongated lead guitar riff was delivered by Waddy Wachtel, who cut his 1970s chops with Jackson Browne and Warren Zevon. Wachtel’s been working with Nicks since her 1981 “Bella Donna” release.
An adventurous, musically spontaneous evening could have inspired a final number with Nicks, Stewart and Crow in tow. It was not to be. Like a revue on the Las Vegas strip, this was a money grab. Towards the end of his set, Stewart smiled and said, “Thank you for your time ... and money.” So much for heart and soul.