There's no question that Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart are legends in the music industry. One was a member of Fleetwood Mac, and was once called "The Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll" by Rolling Stone Magazine- not an accolade to be taken lightly. The other is one of the best-selling musicians of all time, both domestically and in the U.K., where he's spawned an obscene 31 Top Ten singles.
It's also pretty obvious that the masses understand what it is to have two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers touring together. Consol Energy Center was decidedly packed on Saturday night, from the folding chairs on the floor space far up into the nosebleeds. And despite what was likely a higher average age than most concerts at Consol, many came out in full dedication, sporting Stevie Nicks outfits or Rod Stewart hairdos.
However, the concert- which never featured the two singing together- took some time to get going. Nicks was the first to don the stage to the tune of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll"- a fun song, to be sure, but not necessarily well-suited for the rock singer. After playing through "Enchanted" and "Secret Love," both of which seemed to be more suitable for her style, it was time for one of the big hits.
Described by Nicks as Fleetwood Mac's only number 1 single, "Dreams" brought the crowd to its feet as soon as the song started. However, it was in this particular track that it became apparent how much her vocals have changed: She was unwilling to hit some of the high notes required of the track, and her approach to singing has taken on an undesirable evenness. Essentially, her voice is still there, but its scope has begun to diminish.
However, the dark and electric "Gold Dust Woman" was able to infuse her performance with more energy than previous tracks. The following "Stand Back" brought some welcome 80's sound to a crowd eager for some dancing (even if it was often awkward).
Stevie Nicks then took a moment to explain the inspiration for the song "Soldier's Angel:" a visit to a military hospital. However, the description left a sour taste -- she seemed to emphasize her sacrifice of "7 or 8 hours" there more than the sacrifice of the young men putting their lives on the line.
But regardless, she finished her set with a trinity of blockbuster hits: Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon," and her own "Leather and Lace" and "Edge of Seventeen (Just Like the White Winged Dove)." By the time the last song played, the blatantly un-raucous crowd was singing and clapping along, and Nicks executed the songs with distinct accuracy. An encore of "Landslide" was clearly the highlight of her performance as it normally is, and the message was all the more powerful for a musician looking back on her career.
The curtain (which featured a technicolor steam engine) lifted for the ever-jacketed Rod Stewart about a half hour later at 9, though he maintained that they would play for as long as they could. And, true to his word, his performance ended close to the 11 o'clock curfew.
Starting with a cover of the O'Jays "Love Train," Rod exuded his seasoned showmanship throughout the set. He continued with "Tonight's the Night," a song that would perfectly complement a suburban summer night.
The swinging piano of "Having a Party" was countered by the slowness of the following "You Wear It Well." And after the Vietnam War feel of "Rhythm of My Heart," "Young Turks" did well to juxtapose increasing age with trying to maintain youthful fieriness.
Rod then brought out the "Pittsburgh Strings" to perform a few more songs, including Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" A rendition of "The First Cut Is the Deepest" employed the entire section, giving the song a depth of flavor.
Rod ended his night with two of his biggest hits: "Hot Legs" (during which he punted soccer balls into the crowd) and the classic "Maggie Mae," which the crowd began singing even before Rod himself.
An encore of "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" finished his enthusiastic set. For the night as a whole, Stevie Nicks' more subdued style was countered by Rod Stewart's always-animated performance- a well-executed one-two for the seasoned veterans.
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Elliot Alpern: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1911.