RATING: **** (4 outta five)
Rod Stewart/Stevie Nicks - Air Canada Centre, April 2, 2011
The Toronto Sun
By JANE STEVENSON, QMI AGENCY
Two raspy-voiced, blond-haired rock legends for the price of one
Not bad for an evening of music at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night as Fleetwood Mac vixen Stevie Nicks - still looking and sounding great at 62-years-old - co-headlined with rockin’ Rod Stewart, now 66, who was also in good voice and great flaxen hair.
Stewart, ever the British gentlemen, popped out on stage early to introduce Nicks, who he called “one of the greatest rock voices of the era and the 21st century.”
Nicks’ 80-minute set was composed of solo, Fleetwood Mac and Buckingham-Nicks hits plus Secret Love, the first single from her new solo album, In Your Dreams, due May 3.
“Welcome Toronto - I’m so glad you’re here,” said Nicks, backed by a nine-piece band. “We don’t get to come up to Canada that often. It’s so exciting to be up here in this beautiful city.”
Nicks, in a sequined, corsetted and ruffled black dress, and wedge-heeled black boots - a downgrade from her signature black suede platforms of the ‘70s - could also still move, if more gingerly, as she performed a signature twirl just minutes into her set opener, Stand Back.
And with her interpretive dance moves, long hair, and numerous accessory changes in a little black tent at the back of the stage that saw her work her way through two gold shawls - including one for set highlight, Gold Dust Woman - she conjured up her image from Fleedwood Mac’s heyday, especially when she hovered around guitarist Waddy Wachtel with her arms outstretched.
Other set standouts included Fleetwood Mac’s classics Dreams and Rhiannon - which included a video of unicorns and produced the first crowd clap along of the night - the poignant Landslide, which featured pictures of Nicks family including her late father, and Edge of Seventeen with a loving, long walk around the stage by Stevie, waving to her fans and paying tribute to her musicians.
Stewart, meanwhile, transformed Nicks stripped-down stage into an impressive gleaming white production reminiscent of ‘60s British music variety show, Ready Steady Go!, with 13 musicians joining him, including three horn players (two women in heels), for his set opener, a cover of The O’ Jays’ Love Train.
“Good evening my friends, what a night!” said Stewart dressed in a gold blazer, white shirt, black tie and black dress pants, a shiny black patent shoes.
He then delivered his own, Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright), prompting a major crowd singalong, before returning to another cover with Sam Cooke’s Havin’ A Party.
Then it was time for two collaborations with Nicks (now in her signature black suede platform boots) with one slightly improved over the other but neither great - Passion (not so good), and Young Turks (only marginally better).
How about them doing Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, Whenever I Call You Friend, or Leather and Lace - i.e. a proper duet from Nicks’ back catalogue - instead?
Stewart, who ditched the blazer and untucked his shirt pretty early in the show, also dug deeper into his five-decade long stash of well-known covers with Cat Stevens’ The First Cut is the Deepest and Bob Dylan’s Forever Young, the latter which he dedicated to his six-week old son - and eighth child - Aidan.
But mainly he seemed intent on having a good time over the course of an hour and 40 minutes, dancing around the stage, and swigging red wine, as he returned to such covers as Sam Cooke’s Twistin’ The Night Away, Tom Waits’ Downtown Train - complete with a Brooklyn Bridge backdrop - Tim Hardin’s Reason To Believe, and Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Rock And Roller.
“I do love my job!” said Stewart after changing into a light blue blazer and matching tie.
And when someone threw up A Celtic Football Club scarf to him on stage, he prompty threw it around his neck and belted out You’re In My Heart while footage of the club played on the video screen behind him. (His drum kit also said The Celtic Football Club.)
Stewart second dedication of the night was “to all servicemen, past and present,” during Rhythm of My Heart, which prominently featured his three female back up singers.
His standout outfit, however, was a purple suit and lavender shirt, which he donned for his cover of Van Morrison’s Have I Told You Lately, his own Hot Legs, the latter which saw him kick soccer balls into the crowd in his trademark move, the show-ending Maggie May and the encore number, Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?
STEVIE NICKS SET LIST:
If Anyone Falls
Gold Dust Woman
Fall From Grace
Edge of Seventeen
ROD STEWART SET LIST
Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)
Havin’ a Party
Passion (with Stevie Nicks)
Young Turks (with Stevie Nicks)
The First Cut is the Deepest
Some Guys Have All The Luck
Twistin’ The Night Away
Reason to Believe
You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim)
Sweet Little Rock and Roller
Rhythm of My Heart
Knock On Wood (by his backup singers)
Have I Told You Lately
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?