Last Night: Rod Stewart & Stevie Nicks at Toyota Center
I really wish that Rod Stewart is recording the past few years of tours he's had under his belt, because he's in essence setting the bar for how to grow old in rock and roll without looking like a granny doofus or a stuttering clown. At 67 years old, Stewart may look weathered and perma-tanned (he sleeps on the Sun?) but at least he's still got the stones and humility to put on a capital-S show without a net, virtual or otherwise.
Plus, a 67-year-old who can expertly kick two dozen or so regulation-sized soccer balls into the crowd at a nearly sold-out arena show while singing "Hot Legs" without missing a beat is a hero in my book.
"No one is miming or playing to a tape, this is real," said Stewart after ending a mid-show acoustic-slash-orchestral set with his band and members of a local string section from Houston. OK, there was a teleprompter somewhere in front of him, but I am starting to think that every major touring act over the age of 30 uses them now.
Co-headliner Stevie Nicks opened the show with Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" as pictures of rock icons of yore -- that she probably partied "serious" with -- flashed on a giant screen behind her and her band. It was cool to see guitarist Waddy Wachtel in action next to Nicks after years of reading his name in biographies and liner notes, too.
Nicks' set was heavy on the solo big guns ("Stand Back", "Edge oOf Seventeen"), her newish In your Dreams material, and the mammoths from her Fleetwood Mac catalog. She also has a cool little tent onstage that she changes into different goth gear every few songs too.
Houston's August music calendar is getting another dose of Mac with Lindsey Buckingham playing Fitzgerald's in a few days, and the band itself should be here in 2013.
The witchy woman told a great story about visiting injured troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, before introducing "Soldier's Angel." During the middle of her story -- a moving one -- someone on the floor of the arena bellowed "Boring!" which was pretty classy.
Thursday night was Nicks and Stewart's last show on this tour together, but she promised more touring in the future. The duo makes for strange concert bedfellows, and they didn't end up taking the stage together as they had on some previous dates.
She closed her portion of the show with a perfect version of "Landslide" with Wachtel. Give us them Mac dates already. Also, her "Landslide" means more at 64 years of age than it ever did when it was written, and she said as much onstage too.