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Stewart and Nicks a perfect pair — apart

Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks played a sold-out Phillips Arena last night, Thursday, March 24, 2011.

Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks played a sold-out Phillips Arena last night, Thursday, March 24, 2011.

It turns out that the interesting-yet-odd pairing of Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart is more odd than interesting (for visual proof, check out our photo gallery from the show).

Separately, they’re terrific.

Together? Meh.

At Thursday night’s Philips Arena show – only the second date of the “Heart and Soul” tour after the kickoff in Fort Lauderdale was scotched Sunday due to Stewart “having the flu” – the venerable duo dazzled during their respective sets.

At 7:28 p.m., Stewart waltzed out on stage in his best boat captain getup to introduce “one of the truly great, iconic voices of rock ‘n’ roll…and I’m not talking about myself.”

Unfortunately for Nicks, whom he was talking about, the arena was about half-filled at that point, with many fans likely assuming that a 7:30 ticket meant an 8 p.m. or later start. When was the last time you attended a rock concert that started on time?

But Nicks, in her trademark layers of black ruffles and sequins, was undeterred as she barreled through a muddy “Fall From Grace” and a much cleaner-sounding “Secret Love,” the dreamy new single from her upcoming May release.

A seven-piece band and her two longtime backup singers sizzled with Nicks through a well-balanced set that started languidly, hit a sustained peak and ended with Nicks-ian introspection.

Fans of her solo work and Fleetwood Mac couldn’t have been disappointed with a song selection that included “If Anyone Falls,” “Sorcerer,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Stand Back.”

And since Nicks hasn’t exactly been a mobile performer for years, it was especially gratifying to watch her gamely twirl through segments of “Stand Back,” a gesture that sent the Nicks groupies in the crowd to a new level of screeching.

Her distinctive bray of a voice veered from haunting (“Rihannon”) to gritty (“Edge of Seventeen”), and, as taut as her band was, the best moments came with Nicks backed by a single instrument.

“I hope this song brings you some peace and love,” she said as an introduction to “Landslide,” a truly timeless ballad that continues to reach fresh generations thanks to its numerous cover versions (hello, “Glee”).

As an array of family photos floated on the video screen behind her, including many from her early Mac days and even more with her father, Nicks crooned the sentimental lyrics, coloring the “I’m getting older, too” line with the perfect dab of wisdom.

Though she may be (unbelievably) in her 60s, not much has changed about her, from her hairstyle to her voice to her festooned mic stand.

Stewart wants to know, "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?"

Stewart wants to know, "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?"

The same can be said of Stewart, except substitute his spastic dance moves for a decorated mic stand.

Those are the elements that make sense about this pairing.

After a brief intermission following Nicks’ 75-minute set, Stewart and his nattily attired nine-piece band and trio of female backup singers arrived on a stage that looked more like a headliner’s platform compared to Nicks’ sparsely decorated playing field.

With a gleaming, two-tier white stage dotted with lights perched on columns behind him, Stewart, 66,  instantly projected a party vibe by bopping and sliding across the stage for the opening “Love Train.”

Hard to believe he was laid up with the flu four days earlier given his extreme activity. Though midway through the 90-minute set, the perpetually hoarse-sounding singer pulled out a handkerchief to blow his nose and apologized for missing some of the notes on “Reason to Believe,” attributing the gaffe to his recent illness.

But first, those duets.

Pairing like-minded or audience-sharing acts on the same bill isn’t a novelty – half of the summer shed tours are stocked with ‘70s and ‘80s throwbacks who fit that description.

But they rarely share a stage.

The gimmick here was to see how well these two rock vets would gel and, as about 15,000 audience members learned…not too well.

Nicks returned to the stage – in black leggings instead of a dress! – and Stewart mentioned that the two songs they would sing were her choices.

“Passion” immediately sounded like a mistake (why, Stevie, why?) with raspy, half-sung lyrics, but “Young Turks,” while spirited, was the bigger train wreck.

Neither seemed completely sure who was handling which lines and watching Nicks awkwardly stand still as Stewart engaged in his usual frisky-lad skittering around the stage made you want to give her a hug. At least Stewart’s backup singers finally rescued Nicks, coming over to sing and engage her in some simple choreography.

Despite their similar vocal tones, nothing clicked between them harmonically, either.

With that obligatory moment out of the way, Stewart, who remains a pre-eminent showman, dove into “The First Cut is the Deepest” – which he’s really made into his own over the years – and Tom Waits’ “Downtown Train.”

The wonderfully watchable Stewart is such a jitterbug, he nearly propelled himself off the stool he was sitting on for the ballad from pumping his feet so hard.

After getting a bit vocally foggy on “You Wear It Well” and “Reason,” Stewart, who left the stage several times to change into different vibrantly colored suits or jackets, soared again on “You’re in My Heart” and “Have I Told You Lately.”

And when the time came for “Hot Legs,” performed with record precision, out came the soccer (er, foot) balls, which Stewart enthusiastically booted into the crowd.

No doubt, fans received a comprehensive night of music from two of rock’s biggest hit machines. But better to keep those hits separated.

Stevie Nicks set list

  • Fall From Grace
  • Secret Love
  • If Anyone Falls
  • Dreams
  • Sorcerer
  • Gold Dust Woman
  • Stand Back
  • Rihannon
  • Landslide
  • Edge of Seventeen
  • Love Is

Rod Stewart set list

  • Love Train
  • We’re Having a Party
  • Passion (with Stevie Nicks)
  • Young Turks (with Stevie Nicks)
  • The First Cut is the Deepest
  • Forever Young
  • Downtown Train
  • You Wear It Well
  • Reason to Believe
  • You’re in My Heart
  • Rhythm of My Heart
  • Proud Mary (sung by backup singers)
  • Have I Told You Lately
  • Hot Legs
  • Maggie May
  • Da Ya Think I’m Sexy

–By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene blog

Follow me on Twitter: @ajclifestyle

40 comments Add your comment

jessic a j

March 25th, 2011
1:56 pm

i thought the concert was great but was upset when we arrived to find out that our section had been closed and we were assigned different seats…..made us miss first two stevie songs and stevie was who we were there to see!! thanks phillips arena!!! but at least stevie did two songs with rod which i though were good!!! hope to see stevie again!!!!

were u at the same show?

March 25th, 2011
2:07 pm

Uhm – your setlists seem incomplete

Didn’t I hear Proud Mary?

Also, I enjoyed the two duets – not the songs I would have choosen but didn’t deem them as horrible as you noted. I was happy to see them onstage together and trying out a few duets; as both of their catalogs present good opportunities for these.

If you check out reviews of the Tampa show from the night before, you’ll also see that did not do any duets or share the same stage…they were also criticized for this…I guess in some cases you just cannot please everyone

Melissa Ruggieri

March 25th, 2011
3:14 pm

You did indeed hear “Proud Mary,” but since Rod didn’t sing it, I didn’t include. I’ll make note that it was sung by his backup singers.

Mike

March 25th, 2011
4:22 pm

Good show. Rod’s portion was clearly better. Stevie has not aged as well as Rod. Did not realize that Nicks was “opening” for Rod. Thought it was more in line with Elton John and Billy Joel.

But if you had a truckload of Metamucil, you could have financed your kids education last night. Definitely an older crowd.

Stephanie

March 25th, 2011
4:27 pm

I thought it was a really good show from Rod’s standpoint. I have seen him about 7 times now and the man never disappoints, even when getting over the flu.

Not a huge Stevie Nicks fan, but her set was ok.

I would have liked to have had another encore from Rod, but it seemed like he was running out of steam a bit at the end.

All in all, it was worth my $$.

Mary Ann Hall

March 25th, 2011
4:33 pm

You just cannot “mess up” ROD STEWART! He can do no wrong in my eyes. I have loved, loved his music since I was 16 years old. Was not really looking forward to Stevie Nicks but am now a big fan of hers. Any lady that salutes her Dad and her Country (quote “Please pray for our Country” unquote)is worthy of my adoration. Rod’s stage, dancers, brass, and those guitars! From Stevie’s to Rod’s I was just awestruck. I would buy just the guitar solos. Oh, and don’t let me forget the beautiful lady with the fiddle! What a talent. I hope every venue is sold out for them. This is one concert I would love to see again.

My Two Cents

March 25th, 2011
4:33 pm

I was amazed how many people came in late! It seemed that all night long people were leaving their seats and coming back. The newly arrived appeared to not know where they were supposed to sit and eventually wound up standing in the aisles It was so annoying especially because the tv screen was constantly blocked. The performances by Rod and Stevie were wonderful. The musicians in both camps were so talented. However, the two female musicians in Rod’s band were tops both visually and in musical accomplishments. Rod was enthusiastic and never missed a beat to demonstrate his great showmanship.During his sets there was not a still foot in the house. Most admirable was his mention of the down turned economy and thanking people for still spending their money to see the show. He certainly knows how to dazzle a crowd!

Teri Adams

March 25th, 2011
4:43 pm

Rod Stewart blew me away. He is one of the finest, most energetic, personable performers I have ever seen (on par with Steven Tyler!). Stevie Nicks needed a shot of pep, but her songs took me back, especially “Landslide”. Her and Rod need to prtacice a bit more to make their styles blend better. Most certainly an older crowd, but thanks to the damned economy, the boomers are probably the main ones who actually have the $$ to spend on a night like this. I thank Rod from the bottom of my heart for such an amazing performance!! I loved the train theme since I know what a huge model railroader he is (I am a railroad model “widow” myself!).

kerstin cox

March 25th, 2011
4:47 pm

my husband treatet me to the best birthday ever ! loved the concert so much . it was amazing !!! i will never forget that. love rod , stevie and of caurse my husband greg!!!!

Doc Joe

March 25th, 2011
4:53 pm

Great night for me…seven grandma’s needed hip replacement surgery today from all the dancing they did at the concert last night ! Just kidding…I took my parents and we all had a great time…Rod was a lot more enjoyable than Stevie….

Jerry

March 25th, 2011
5:10 pm

I enjoyed the show more than I expected too, although we missed the first half of Nicks’ set due to Philip’s staff taking so long to find our will-call tickets. I was more interested in seeing Stevie perform, but was much more entertained by Rod’s set. He and his band were great! Such an excellent performer and showman. Did anyone else get the impression that Stevie was either high on something, or at least very tired? Love her music though. And I definitely want to see Rod Stewart perform again sometime.

Jerry

March 25th, 2011
5:21 pm

Becky Guzman

March 25th, 2011
5:26 pm

The show was amazing! Stevie Nicks is mystical! She has inner and outter beauty, classy lady. Love her music. And what can you say about Rod Stewart, he just gets better with age. Wonderful show wouldn’t have missed it for the world!! Thank you Rod and Stevie.

Lindsey Hughes

March 25th, 2011
6:31 pm

I am 27 years old and have seen Rod Stewart when I was 8, 18, and then again last night. I had a fabulous time!!! I couldn’t help but stand up and dance with him! I hope I didn’t offend too many of the “walking dead” behind me. I don’t know how they couldn’t have been on their feet. He is a great performer and really set the mood for an entertaining night. I could have stayed and listened for 90 more minutes! I was disappointed that he didn’t have another encore song. Stevie was o.k. It was cool to see her and Landslide brought me to tears. The rest was sub par. I think I might have picked different songs for them to do together as well, and perhaps rehearse them a little better next time…

Mike Schinkel

March 25th, 2011
6:37 pm

The concert was generally good.

Nicks was flat and not very energetic and it was obvious that her backup singers helped her hit the high notes (also wondering about those hair extensions!) And the background visuals were uninspiring at best. But she’s a legend and if I’m half that good at what I do when her age I’ll be happy.

Stewart surprised me though and had the energy of someone half his age. His visuals on the back screen were vibrant as were his backup singers and performers (natty? srsly?) Proud Mary was awesome as were most of the solos of Stewart’s backup singers and artists,especially the violin player (damn that was a big smile; wonder what she was smiling about?) After the show I tried to find a list of the performers but couldn’t; would be great if someone could list them here.

One thing I couldn’t get over was how far Stewart was able to kick those soccer balls with a one-handed setup; he almost made the top tier twice!

My only real complaint was not about the performers but the sound system and the camera handling. You could barely hear their voices as the instruments were boosted so much as to be overpowering, and none of the sound had any real clarity. And they never actually zoomed in on the faces of the singers so you couldn’t really see their faces as they sang. It’s probably the venue (I don’t go to a lot of concerts there so I don’t know) but that made the night not nearly as good as it could have been.

All in all on a scale of 1..10: Nicks – 7, Stewart – 9, and Phillip’s Arena – 2 at best.

kathy&jody

March 25th, 2011
6:38 pm

WOW!!!!! What an amazing concert!!! Stevie was awesome as usual (we’ve seen her many times) and Rod was wonderful. This was the first time for us to see Rod and we were pleasantly surprised!!! We will definitely add him to our must see list.

Dan Companion

March 25th, 2011
6:43 pm

The show was terrific and I believe these legends gave us much more entertainment of the money than what you would get with many modern day performers. Always special when 15,000 strong can bellow out your lyrics, it brings it to a different level of entertainment and community. Also, take into effect that most of the crowd was in there 40s and up, made for a more mature environment but still great energy. Legend performers in their 60’s give us their timeless classics will always have a special place in my heart!

irrelevant flower children

March 25th, 2011
6:47 pm

i cant wait for burt bacharach and carole king

Steve

March 25th, 2011
7:55 pm

A generally accurate review, though I didn’t think the duets were horrid – perhaps a little ragged and underrehearsed, but that simply added to their charm in my opinion.

Rod’s set list also included “Reason To Believe” just after “You Wear It Well”.

Donna

March 25th, 2011
8:47 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed the concert! Rod Stewart has to be the best crowd pleaser-musician I have ever seen. He dances around and plays to the crowd while singing in that awesome manly voice! Really put on a great show and the suits he wore…totally classy!
Kudos to his band/backup, dressed in classy suits and very nice dresses. A superb show all around! Rod Stewart concerts are a must see!

Kristi M

March 25th, 2011
10:57 pm

What a night. We drove 5 hours to see the show. Stevie Nicks has been my musical hero for many years, and I do my best to imitate her at karaoke (pretty good, too). I felt like my heart broke a little last night after seeing her. Not sure if her stage show was intentionally down-played because she opened, but it appeared that way. Her voice is the same, still the best. Glad I got to see her one last time. Then Rod came out, and WOW! Blew us away. Always liked his music. But now I’m a true fan. And their duets were really special. It may not have been the most fabulous performance, but just to be able to watch two of your favorite icons perform together like that was truly amazing. Thank you Stevie and Rod for giving this show to us. Worth every mile and dollar.

Stevie Fan

March 25th, 2011
11:50 pm

I love you Stevie Nicks, I always have and I always will. You are my magical mystical queen. XOXO :)

PS
Hi Melissa,
Thank you for the review. I am in another city which will see this show soon and although I always appreciate it, I rarely see a proper review with proper set lists included. Nice to see a proper, well written reviews, thank you.

Loved Rod

March 26th, 2011
12:19 am

I loved the show, especailly Rod. I would have enjoyed it more, but some girls in front of us wouldnt sit down. They kept going and getting more beer, coming back, standing up dancing spilling their beer . I’ve seen Rod several times and always loves his shows, but I do wish others would have some respect for others when they want to stand up the whole time and dance and block others behind them . I was trying to take pics and everytime Id get a good shot, there would go the arms in the air. It was very frustrating. Some of us cant get up and dance due to some health issues. My advice to those that want to dance. Why not get seats on the floor that way everyone is standing up and dancing.Im for everyone having a good time, and wish I could have gotten up and danced, but I can’t .

NELL Irminger

March 26th, 2011
2:51 am

LOVED ROD LOVED THE SHOW . WHAT AN ENTERTAINER THE ENERGY HE HAS ALTHOUGH NOT FEELING WELL AWESOME. HE ALSO HAS THE GREATEST BAND. HURRY BACK TO ATLANTA ROD, CAN’T WAIT TO SEE
YOU AGAIN. PHILLIPS AREANA ‘S NOT SUITABLE FOR CONCERTS. PLEASE PLAY ANOTHER VENUE NEXT TOUR.

Tom McMahon

March 26th, 2011
2:54 am

I just loved seeing Stevie perform live. This was my first time seeing her live even though she is the most favorite artist of my life. Her songs accompanied me through the best and worst moments and I could always turn to her music as I did almost every day.

Seeing her live in Atlanta was a dream come true that made me feel my music journey is now complete. I love you Stevie. Your music has been with me from the beginning and it will always be in my life. You are so special to so many of us.

Thank you for visiting us in Atlanta. You gave us a special evening to remember and touched me, and i’m sure everyone else, in your special way with your presence and beautiful performance.

gary bubble

March 26th, 2011
12:45 pm

I thought Stevie was only suppose to open for Rod until her album dropped. It’s a warm-up for her. She said it was his tour. She goes on tour by herself after her album drops. As far as the duets are concerned, Rod does not like to rehearse and Stevie wants to rehearse. They are not a match made in heaven. He has also been so sick, so how much time did they actually rehearse. I wish they would of sung Leather and Lace together. That would of been perfect for them.

Let’s face facts here. Rod has been basically a lounge singer for almost two decades, refusing to put out any of his own material. He just sings standards and his old hits. She’s putting out a new album with brand new material and is including material from her last album in her set. I mean he is geriatric, she’s not. Most of the people who went to that concert just went to see him and that was fine with her. The concert helps promote her new album and then after it drops, she tours alone with it.

A. Coleman

March 26th, 2011
3:05 pm

Awesome concert all the way around. Wish Rod could have sang all night. Thank you for the great time and music.

Sarah

March 26th, 2011
6:20 pm

Stevie Nicks puts on a rock concert, Rod stewart puts on a show. The energy is very different.
From the videos I have seen, Stevie is high energy, really engaged and confident. Cant wait to see her!

Lester

March 26th, 2011
7:57 pm

A friend and myself drove four hours to see the show, and we were not disappointed! Nicks and Stewart were absolutely fabulous.

After Stevie sang with Rod on two of his songs, I somewhat expected Rod to substitute for Don Henley on “Leather and Lace.” It would have been great.

Birthday Fan

March 26th, 2011
9:10 pm

My husband treated me to this concert as birthday gift… I’ve ALWAYS LOVED Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, and Rod Steward. This was the first time I’ve ever seen them live and I hope it is not my last. Frankly, I never dreamed I would be able to see them in the same venue and it was truly a treat. I wish I could have bottled it, because I’ve been playing it over and over in my head since Thursday night. I actually liked the simplicity of Stevie’s set… it was fitting for her and I was quite pleased with her performance. I now love them both more than ever. I was hoping the duet would have been either “Leather and Lace” or “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” but I was just so happy to hear “Passion” that it didn’t bother me at all. I also wanted to hear “My Heart Can’t Tell Me No,” “Baby Jane,” “Love Touch,” and the “Mowtown Song”, but again, I got more than my money’s worth. ROD STEWART PUT ON SHOW!!!!!!! The only thing that would have made it any better for me is catching on of those soccer balls.

Teresa Parrish

March 27th, 2011
1:11 am

I absolutely loved the show! I was there for Rod and I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen Rod live, six times now. ROD STEWART PUTS ON A SHOW, and he NEVER disappoints! I am stunned to hear that he was down with the flu four days prior to this concert, which only make me more in awe of him. Anyone (especially a man of Rod’s wonderful age) who can perform like that, four days AFTER the flu, is a true professional and showman! It makes me love him all the more. I’m curious why some people are giving Stevie a hard time about NOT moving around? She’s never moved around from what I can remember, she has always stood, stick still, right there at the mic. But, Stevie really impressed me. She hasn’t changed one bit, and her voice is still the same, which is wonderful; not everyone is as lucky. I was very pleased with her performance.

Think about it. These two performers are both OVER 60 years old, and their performances were outstanding . Rod is far from being “geriatric”. Please, what an insult. Both performers have my greatest respect, but only Rod has my undying LOVE!!!!

Tim Burritt

March 27th, 2011
1:49 pm

Thanks to everyone for the reviews.Except for the metamucil-geriatric comments. Some of us were there at the beginning! Still devoted fans today! I have to wait till the Seattle show so I appreciate your comments. So happy to hear there are duets–this will probably never happen again. You whipper-snappers! If you don’t like it get your legends! Lol Enter your comments here

Barb C

March 27th, 2011
3:31 pm

MSG is THE best place to see a show! Loved it ! They sounded and looked awesome. My only critique is I wish they came out together to sing “Leather and Lace” and /or “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Other than that…great music that I grew up with…Keep on Rockin’ Stevie and Rod and I will too!

billie

March 28th, 2011
12:50 pm

Loved the show and Loved Rod Stewart! Rod Stewart is absolutely the sexiest man on earth. I have loved him since I was 18 years old, I am now 50 years young. He stole my heart in the 70’s and renewed that flame in Atlanta.

Rod Stewart is the epitome of class! From his stage, to his bandmembers, to the wardrobe, every aspect of his show is over the top and 1st Class.

Rod Stewart, “you are every love song ever written”, thank you for the memories I live, every time I hear your music. Thank you for an incrdible show in Atlanta!

Lisa Callaghan

March 28th, 2011
10:14 pm

I just saw the show at Mohegan Sun and was most struck by the difference in sets. Or the fact that Stevie didn’t appear to HAVE a set. You’d think the concert promoters would have come up with something pretty at least. I understand that all that glitz that Rod had is not Stevie’s style, but SOMETHING? She is an icon as well! White drapery or lace on the sides or off the ceiling that they could have backlit to change colors with the songs, something very ethereal, candleabras perhaps or morrocan-like lanterns hanging off the ceiling that change colors to create some sort of ambiance… I felt BAD for her once I saw Rod’s set, like she was second RATE……
I didn’t go to see Stevie, she is not my idol, like Rod is, but she is still an icon and quite talented and I think she deserves to be treated as a partner in this tour.
That being said, I’ve seen Rod Stewart maybe 6 or 7 times in my life and he NEVER disappoints. He is the ultimate showman, always has tons of energy and you KNOW you are the best there is when the entire stadium can sing your song FOR you, and you can just listen! He was so truly awesome last night and my answer is YES, Rod, I DO think you’re sexy!!!

MatthewC

March 29th, 2011
3:12 pm

Enter your comments here

MatthewC

March 29th, 2011
3:15 pm

Rod Stewart is amazing.. never seen his show though.. Was just thinking as well.. that Rod Stewart would be perfect as a judge in Simon Cowells show X Facto… Think he would do great.. But i guess will find out the judges soon.. cause audtions in Miami is in April 7th

UPDATE: Rod & Stevie Duets

March 29th, 2011
3:40 pm

[...] (Courtesy of Melissa Ruggieri – Access Atlanta) [...]

Dot

March 29th, 2011
11:16 pm

I haven’t seen this show, but have been enjoying all of the comments. I have seen Rod on another tour and agree that he puts on a great show and he feels the room with electricity. What energy that guy has. Good going Rod! You still got it buddy!

Debra Robeson

March 31st, 2011
12:19 pm

My husband Keith and I fly to Atlanta from North Carolina for our 17th wedding aniversary, my present to him along with celabrating his birthday, it was great, Stevie was good and Rod was Rockin’. Crowd did come in somewhat late, show started on time. Rod’s background show was awesome, so colorfull and fun, really put you in the dance mood. T-shirts and collectables were very pricy. But well worth the trip.