Monday, March 28, 2011

(Review) Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks are naturals for a double bill

Stewart, Nicks in Nostalgia Showcase
By THOMAS KINTNER, Special to The Courant
The Hartford Courant

Photo by: Khoi Ton
With decades-old heydays and sandpaper vocal signatures in common, Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks are naturals for a double bill. In practice Sunday night at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, the pairing was a nostalgia showcase, spun by each artist in a notably different way.

Headliner Stewart fostered a party atmosphere with a strong whiff of camp around its edges, reveling in the role of '60s-style lounge denizen as he paraded forth in a shiny orange dinner jacket, shiny black shoes and spiky peroxide-altered hair. He has extended his recording career with middle-of-the-road soul interpretations of familiar favorites and the American Songbook, and kicked off his show with a lively push through someone else's hit, grappling gamely with the chugging "Love Train."

Nicks featured recent material alongside stalwart hits, with the throbbing "Secret Love" and powerful "If Anyone Falls." Her singing retains its singular nasal quality, but has little flex or finesse leaving its high end sharp but not particularly expressive in the Fleetwood Mac hit "Dreams."

The contrast between the two singers was particularly evident when Nicks joined Stewart for a pair of songs in his set, among them a sprightly "Young Turks" in which his singing was cool and genial, hers hearty but stiff. He toyed with tunes while easing through his performance, shrugging off his 66 years to play the good-natured sex symbol as he swiveled into the supple flow of "The First Cut is the Deepest."

Nicks' stagecraft began and ended with the slow-motion twirling within "Stand Back," fluffing one of several shawls that remain her particular accoutrement. The toughest part of her package to swallow was her blunt vocal instrument; she had to dig deep to pull anything out of a stripped-down acoustic reading of "Landslide," and sounded like she was in the right place only when hammering at her outsized closer "Edge of Seventeen."

Stewart hurling himself at "Downtown Train" while his 13-piece band filled ample sonic space. A country lilt from decorative fiddle and acoustic guitar lines colored "Reason to Believe," while Stewart leapt into a sturdy Chuck Berry vibe to rasp gamely across the horn-peppered "Sweet Little Rock and Roller."

Stewart changed jackets multiple times, ultimately landing in a glistening purple suit as he plowed through the treetops of his deep hit catalog, booting soccer balls into the audience while barking the sturdy "Hot Legs," and turning the mandolin-trimmed "Maggie May" into a lively sing-along. His encore of "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" was offered with an amusing slice of bravado that came with at least some expectation he wanted everyone to believe it remained true.

Stevie Nicks' Sunday set list: "Fall From Grace," "Secret Love," "If Anyone Falls," "Dreams," "Sorcerer," "Gold Dust Woman," "Stand Back," "Rhiannon," "Landslide," "Edge of Seventeen," (Encore) "Love Is."

Rod Stewart's Sunday set list: "Love Train," "Tonight's the Night (Gonna be Alright)," "Havin' a Party," "Passion," "Young Turks," "The First cut is the Deepest," "Forever Young," "Downtown Train," "You Wear it Well," "Reason to Believe," "You're in my Heart (The Final Acclaim)," "Sweet Little Rock and Roller," "Rhythm of my Heart," "Proud Mary," "Have I Told you Lately," "Hot Legs," "Maggie May," (Encore) "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?"

No comments:

Post a Comment