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Not Coachella: Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks revive their hits at the Hollywood Bowl

“It's Saturday night, so let's enjoy ourselves,” Rod Stewart suggested from the stage of the Hollywood Bowl, and his typically affable directive raised an important question: On which night of the week exactly does Rod Stewart not enjoy himself?

This 66-year-old English singer, at the Bowl on Saturday for the first of two odd-couple gigs with Stevie Nicks, has spent well over half his life honing a scruffy superstar insouciance. You'd call him a roué if he appeared to put any effort into the pursuit of pleasure; rather, Stewart's style is to encourage pleasure to come to him, which has kept his act remarkably free of the desperation that can sour a show composed, as this one was, of familiar material.

Leading a 13-piece band that included several female instrumentalists wearing red-fringed cocktail dresses, Stewart paired old hits such as “Maggie May” and “Rhythm of My Heart” with covers of even older songs by Sam Cooke and Chuck Berry. The music wasn't bashful about cycling through the styles that have marked the progression of Stewart's career: “Reason to Believe” had stand-up bass and fiddle, and “Young Turks” rode a crisp new wave pulse; later, a disco ball appeared for “Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?”

Whatever he was singing, though, Stewart exuded the same low-impact charm, shuffling across the brightly lighted Bowl stage as though he were on his way to dinner. (He changed colorful suit jackets several times even though he never worked up much of a sweat.) As for the singing itself, Stewart's signature rasp continues to edge toward a wheeze; it wasn't always audible Saturday over the sound of his band's pumped-up accompaniment. No matter: It's unlikely that anything he might have uttered would have said more about Rod Stewart than the sight of his kicking several dozen soccer balls into the crowd during “Hot Legs.”

Performing first at this hometown stop of what she and Stewart are calling the Heart & Soul Tour, Nicks, 62, revealed that she's lost a portion of her vocal range as well: The Fleetwood Mac frontwoman dodged high notes in “Dreams” and “Rhiannon” and took a low harmony line in “Edge of Seventeen,” leaving her backup singers to do the song's heavy melodic lifting.

Yet where Stewart used old-pro stage business to distract us from his limitations, Nicks turned hers into an asset, the rough grain of her voice concentrating the weird imperiousness of her music.

“Stand Back,” “Sorcerer,” “Gold Dust Woman” — these were powerful invocations of a type of mystery we rarely get from artists who've put in as much time as Nicks has in the public eye.

“There's no one that can take my place,” she sang with fists shaking in “Outside the Rain,” and it wasn't desperation she was expressing. It was total confidence.

--Mikael Wood

Photo: Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks take their bows at the Hollywood Bowl Saturday night. Credit: Barbara Davison/Los Angeles Times


Comments () | Archives (8)

Love stevie nicks shes a beautiful rock goddess

The most amazing show on Saturday night, at the Bowl. The two filled and rocked the Bowl, 101%. Incredible time, perfect weather, loved every second!

I was at Saturday's show, and I must admit to being a bit disappointed by the audio during Rod's set. Sure, he jumped around and danced a lot, but it didn't seem that the technicians were prepared for that. His voice went in and out, and was often inaudible. However, he did sound great when he stood still. Stevie's voice was as good as it's ever been -- chill-inducing. I would've liked to hear fewer Fleetwood Mac standards and more rarities, but maybe that's just me. I went with two friends and they were raving about how great her voice was. I saw her 8 years ago with FM for the "Say You Will" tour, and her voice is MUCH more powerful now. She really does just keep getting better.

Was at Sunday night show -- incredible. Rocked the house.

I had the honor of attending Rod's show last night with three of my G-Friends,
it was absolutely amazing.. We had 3rd row seats , my yellow cowboy boots ended up on stage , Rod invited me to join him on stage to retrieve my boots. He was so charming and just when I thought it couldn't get any better he handed me a autographed soccer ball.
Did anyone from your staff get any photos of the show last night?

Attended the show Sunday night - one of the best concerts. As for Stevie not
being able to hit the highest notes - she's never been a soprano - I didn't even notice - her voice so much more powerful than her earlier days. (She did sing the higher harmony on Leather and Lace with Rod taking the lower harmony that Stevie orginally recorded). I agree with the other review that Rod's band overpowered his vocals often, but he and his entire show is all about having fun and singing along (which he let us do alone on numerous occasions-loved it). Stevie is the mystical queen of rock - still going strong, better than ever - her live versions of Gold Dust Woman and Edge of Seventeen are sooo much better than any album versions and are absolutely incredible. She is still singing with her original back up singers from Bella Donna along with Waddy Wachtel as her musical director - so the band is very tight and amazing. I also loved how Rod highlighted many members of his band and they were amazing too - both singers know the importance of a great band and really seem to appreciate them - very classy. Stevie's show was way too short - another half hour would have been perfect. - One criticism - for the audience - I don't mind if you sing along for the big numbers - i can't hear you anyway - but when Stevie does Landslide - I paid to hear her sing it - I don't want to hear you, after too many drinks singing as loud as you can - you can do that all the way home in the car !!! ay yi yi!!!

Well.. only one thing I feel compelled to correct about this review....

I have to assume you've never seen Stevie in concert before.... ??
Stevie does NOT sing ANY low harmonies on Edge of Seventeen... (but it's nice to see back up singers ever getting credit for anything!!!!!)
And... anyone who has seen Stevie in the last 25 years, knows that she hasn't sung those high notes on "Dreams" and "Rhiannon" in as many years... she hasn't lost anything... she's stronger than ever!!!! But then, I may be just a fan... but I have seen every show she has done since her solo career started 30 years ago... and I think she is the bomb!!!!!

I was at Sunday nights show and I thought it was amazing!!! They both did a fantastic job. I have seen them both a few times and together they were great and put on an amazing show!!! Nice atmosphere, great time and nice night!!!


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