by Jeff Niesel
OK, we get it. Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks are both classic rockers. But their differences are more striking than their similarities, something that was certainly true last night at Quicken Loans Arena, the first stop of the summer installment of their “Heart and Soul” co-headlining tour. Even when they performed together during the middle of Stewart’s set, each appeared a bit out of sorts. Nicks wore sunglasses as she and Stewart sang his “Young Turks,” and Stewart, who didn’t seem to know the words, sang only a few verses with Nicks on her “Leather and Lace.” Still, the two seemed to really appreciate each other (Stewart referred to Nicks as his “dear friend”) despite their differences and each delivered a strong performance.
Nicks opened the show with a 90-minute set that benefited from the fact that she had such a strong backing band. Led by guitarist Waddy Wachtel, the ensemble confidently blazed through Fleetwood Mac tunes such as “Dreams,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Rhiannon.” Nicks’ raspy voice has held up well and she appeared genuinely engaged while singing “Stand Back” and “Edge of Seventeen,” hits from her solo career. A beautiful acoustic version of the Fleetwood Mac tune “Landslide” brought the set to a close. While they’ve become one of her defining traits, the wardrobe changes detracted from the overall performance. Between each song, Nicks would duck into a white tent to change shawls and dresses, but each outfit had a similar Goth-inspired look that made the singer look as if she were stuck in the ’70s.
Stewart’s stuck in the past, too, but the guy has loads of energy for someone who has just entered his late sixties. He got the party started with a cover of “Love Train” and then never let up during a 90-minute set, delivering hits such as “Some Guys Have All the Luck” and “Forever Young” while occasionally dropping to his knees, shaking his ass, and vamping with the band. During the middle of “Downtown Train,” he changed from a blue pastel suit into a pink pastel suit without missing a beat. He brought a few local string players onto stage for an acoustic segment that concluded with the Faces’ “Oooh La La,” and he then let the backing singers take on “Proud Mary” as he put on a paisley sport coat and proceeded to kick soccer balls off the stage and into the audience during “Hot Legs.” He closed off what he called a “remarkable evening” with “Maggie May,” “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and the Elmore James’ tune “Shake Your Money Maker.” Like Nicks, his raspy voice also sounded intact, even though it was often buried in the sound mix.