"This is going to be a very, very unique evening," Rod Stewart said while introducing his old pal Stevie Nicks at the March 26 NYC stop of their joint Heart and Soul Tour. And that it was, in almost all the right ways. Both offered up hits-heavy sets, leaving very few crowd pleasers off the setlist, and sparking non-stop cheers from the sold-out masses inside Madison Square Garden.
Oddly enough, the one major hiccup was when these two legends took the stage together shortly into Stewart's set in the second half. Of all the songs in their respective treasure troves, Stewart announced that Nicks had personally selected two tracks from his moribund '80s years, "Passion" and 1981's "Young Turks." Really, Stevie? You couldn't have dusted off true classics like "First Cut Is The Deepest" or "Maggie May?" (which Rod handled perfectly well on his own in the end). Needless to say, Nicks seemed entirely out of place, had little onstage chemistry with Stewart and was even reduced to trying to awkwardly share a mic with Stewart's backup singers on the latter. Fail.
But no matter. Thank the rock gods for their stellar solo sets, starting with Nicks, who launched the show with a rambunctious "Fall From Grace" (though the geriatric crowd was surprisingly loathe to rise to their feet. This is a rock show, right guys?). She then easily glided through classics like "If Anyone Falls In Love," a showstopping "Gold Dust Woman" (featuring a luscious extended guitar solo), "Stand Back" and, of course, Fleetwood Mac standards "Rhiannon" and "Landslide." The ageless chanteuse also found time to knock out a stellar "Edge Of Seventeen" before closing with a heartwrenching rendition of "Love Is," a little-known ballad penned on 9/11 off 2001's Trouble In Shangri La disc. Nicks also revealed that she "never had kids or got married" to write the song (and others like it). A worthy sacrifice, especially because letting Nicks' timeless, braying voice make most of the noise instead of her full-blast band seemed to work best.
For Stewart, it was a night to let loose after having his eighth child, son Aiden, six weeks ago and suffering a major flu that caused the cancellation of the tour's opening night in Fort Lauderdale less than a week ago. Thankfully for most fans, the remedy was veering completely away from his recent standards set to focus on a non-stop jam session of his rock catalog -- "Tonight's The Night," "Forever Young," Tom Waits' "Downtown Train," "You Wear It Well" (which Stewart admitted he played on his very first of an overall 42 Garden shows!) and 1971's "Reason To Believe," "You're In My Heart," "Rhythm Of My Heart" and "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" (which followed a rollicking version of "Proud Mary" courtesy of the aforementioned backup singers).
Of course, Stewart didn't leave the crowd hanging and finished things off with the unavoidable "Hot Legs"-- accompanied by soccer balls being bounced around by the crowd to celebrate Stewart's fave sport -- "Maggie May" and "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" Did they? Sure, as long as he kept the spotlight on himself.
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