Sunday, March 10, 2024

Review Stevie Nicks & Billy Joel Arlington, TX March 9 , 2024

Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks’ show in Arlington a ‘Rage against the Dying of the Light’ 


When one of the two headliners is 74 and he isn’t the oldest one on the stage you have a show more appropriate to end by 5 p.m. rather than 11. 

Stevie Nicks is 75 years old, but she forever remains Fleetwood Mac’s middle finger, while Billy Joel, 74, is simply happy to play songs he could perform in a coma, and his audience has heard 3.4 trillion times. 

On Saturday night at AT&T Stadium, the two music icons whose respective careers have combined to span about 100 total years did whatever they wanted, which is exactly what the predominantly over 50 crowd came to hear. 

They performed some covers. A duet. Some ZZ Top. A little opera. Some Tom Petty. Led Zeppelin. 

The every single one of the approximately 55,000 in the place is at that stage where they really don’t care what someone else thinks, which ultimately makes for the ideal night out. You want ice cream for dinner, kids? Here’s five bowls. 

That’s what a Steve Nicks/Billy Joel concert is; bowls of chocolate chip cream you’ve had since you can remember. 

This show was originally scheduled to play last spring, but it was canceled after Nicks was diagnosed with COVID. 

She played 13 songs, and she still sounds like Stevie Nicks. For the most part. It helps her voice has always sounded like it’s crusted with cigarette smoke, so she was never apt to embarrass herself by going for a few high notes that were never her thing. 

Part of Steve Nicks’ appeal is a voice that she doesn’t need to trademark. Even with autotone, no one else can sound like Stevie Nicks. 

She ripped through her hits, and had no problem going to her Fleetwood Mac roots. She can still do “Gypsy,” “Stand Back,” “Seventeen,” “Gold Dust Woman” and the rest. Her cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” was an unexpected twist, but she pulled it off. 

There was an undeniable bittersweet undercurrent to her set. So many of the people she performed with are gone. People like Tom Petty and Christine McVie. 

Nicks performed a cover of Petty’s “Free Fallin,” and Joel joined her on stage for “Stop Dragging My Heart.” That song became a hit with Petty and Nicks. 

After performing her final song, “Landslide,” she spoke lovingly of McVie. 

Joel didn’t take too much time before taking the stage wearing a Cowboys hat. Not a Cowboy hat. A Dallas Cowboys baseball cap. 

“Hat or no hat?” he asked the crowd before taking it off revealing his bald head. “I am Lex Luthor.” 

“Luthor’s” set lasted 2 1/2 hours that was a mashup of classic songs that became American staples. Since he’s only recorded one new song in the last 20 years, he all but acknowledged to the crowd that he was going to play what they wanted to hear. 

He even went off script to play some of the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up,” complete with Joel standing on stage mimicking Mick Jagger’s hip moves. A noble effort, but Billy Joel will never be Mick. Billy Joel will always be a more diverse, energetic version of Paul Simon. 

Name it, and Joel with his eight-member band played as if it was their final performance ever. “Don’t ask me why,” “Allentown,” “New York State of Mind,” “The Entertainer,” “It’s Just a Fantasy,” “All for Leyna,” and on and on. 

This was as much of a throw back rock concert as you could have in 2024, right down to the distinct whiffs of marijuana smoke circulating on the floor. 

Just when the audience was settled into Joel’s greatest hits, he had guitarist Mike DelGuidice perform a cover of ZZ Top’s “Tush” in the middle of “River of Dreams.” DelGuidice also performed “Nessun dorma,” an aria that today’s audiences associate with opera singer Luciano Pavarotti. (Since Pavarotti died in 2007, he couldn’t make it to Arlington). 

Even if Joel is 74, listening to him perform “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” and “Piano Man” still move any audience. They are brilliantly written poems, or short stories. 

Joel has never had the best voice, but his ability to craft lyrics for a song is what allowed him to remain relevant in a brutal industry for several decades. He closed his 21-song set with a few encores, and ended the night with “You May be Right.” 

By that time, everyone had given him a smile ‘cause he knew that it’s him they paid to see, to forget about life for a while.

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