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Old 11-30-2017, 12:58 AM
ricohv ricohv is offline
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Default NY Times review of "Heart & Soul" Tour w Rod Stewart

Awhile ago I saved a bunch of articles from the NY Times archives that I post here on occasion when the board is sort of slow. Hopefully you guys like reading these things too. I like to see in retrospect if I agree with them, and in this article I have to agree: the Stevie/ Rod duets on this tour were pretty unexciting! Ricoh V.

MUSIC REVIEW; Two Rock-Radioers With Their Differences Intact
By BEN RATLIFF
Published: April 9, 2011

The ''Heart & Soul'' tour, a pairing of Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks, is pure nostalgia, a valentine for the middle-aged and what they listened to from 1976 to 1978. Not a judgment, just a fact. But the really outmoded part about the concert is that the link between them is the radio.
Remember the radio? We submitted to it completely. It made the connections for us. Besides Los Angeles, teased blond hair and a tremendous talent for the exaggerated courtly stage bow, what Mr. Stewart and Ms. Nicks really have in common is that they are singer-songwriters, articulating consciousness through words and melody, and they are fundamentally different at that job.
Ms. Nicks, 62, who performed first at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, is the goddess of indirection. ''Do you know what this is?'' she sang in ''Love Is.'' ''No I don't/but whatever it is/it's very powerful.'' This could be her organizing principle. The referents of her lyrics flicker in and out; she suddenly omits the subject of a sentence, asks a rhetorical question or moves from first to third person without warning. Most pop songwriters don't do this anymore. But Ms. Nicks is a woman who can put on a black shawl, raise her arms and spin, and the audience roars. Whatever that is, it's very powerful.
Wednesday's set was a tight group of greatest hits, so there was ''Edge of Seventeen'': ''Just like the white winged dove/sings a song, sounds like she's singing.'' And ''Sorcerer'': ''All around black ink darkness/and who found the lady from the mountains?'' Who or what is like the dove? Who did find the lady? Essentially it's you: the listener and her own experiences fill the gap between what is to be understood and what is not.
Ms. Nicks's voice narrowed a long time ago, forcing her to write melodic detours away from the upper register, but her sound and phrasing remain the same. She drones and under-enunciates, the better to be misunderstood, and with several band members who have been a constant for decades -- the guitarist Waddy Wachtel and the percussionist Lenny Castro -- she fitted the songs to the audience's memory.
People forget that Mr. Stewart, now 66, is a songwriter: he's been privileging people's material for so long and so effectively -- not just the last decade of his ''Great American Songbook'' albums, but also his previous covers of the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Tim Hardin, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and others. Let's treat it all as one project. He seems to.
As opposed to Ms. Nicks, there's usually a straight-forward narrative in Mr. Stewart's songs and the ones he chooses to cover; there's also very little wondering or regret. As for love, he hungers, consumes, dispatches. Sometimes he fails: oh, well. (He's good at cheery leave-takings: ''Maggie Mae,'' ''Forever Young.'') He sees no crystal visions.
Mr. Stewart's voice is pretty damaged, too, sometimes dropping beneath the line of audibility as his longer set wore on, swerving away from high notes and turning to a wheeze. But of course he's had a rough voice forever, and the whole point of Rod Stewart is finessing a light engagement with one's own material. In a succession of bright raw-silk jackets, he swiveled and high-stepped just enough to convey that he was having an all-right time, while his band and production provided the rest: a rugged rhythm section, tall female soloists in red dresses (on trumpet, tenor saxophone and fiddle), and a stage like an enormous mid-'60s television show set, clean and beautifully lit.
The stars performed two songs together, unexcitingly, during Mr. Stewart's set -- his ''Young Turks,'' her ''Leather and Lace.'' But whereas Ms. Nicks remained her own entity, Mr. Stewart traced his enthusiasms to and connections for what came before and around him. He sang songs by Sam Cooke and Chuck Berry and Hardin and Mr. Waits, and repped once again for the Celtic Football Club, as he's been doing since the early '70s. It's unclear who's heart and who's soul. But it is clear who's an idol and who's a fan.
The ''Heart & Soul'' tour continues on Saturday at the United Center in Chicago and on Sunday at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit
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Old 11-30-2017, 01:09 AM
ricohv ricohv is offline
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OOPS-I put this in the Rumours page instead of the Stevie page & I don't seem to know how to move or delete it-SORRY!
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Old 11-30-2017, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ricohv View Post
Ms. Nicks, 62, who performed first at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, is the goddess of indirection. ''Do you know what this is?'' she sang in ''Love Is.'' ''No I don't/but whatever it is/it's very powerful.'' This could be her organizing principle. The referents of her lyrics flicker in and out; she suddenly omits the subject of a sentence, asks a rhetorical question or moves from first to third person without warning. Most pop songwriters don't do this anymore. But Ms. Nicks is a woman who can put on a black shawl, raise her arms and spin, and the audience roars. Whatever that is, it's very powerful.
This is bitchy, accurate, and hilarious.
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:03 AM
lbfan lbfan is offline
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The referents of her lyrics flicker in and out; she suddenly omits the subject of a sentence, asks a rhetorical question or moves from first to third person without warning.
If Bob Dylan did this, would someone try to correct him?
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:17 AM
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The heart and soul tour is the worst thing Stevie has ever done in her career IMHO. She allowed concert promoters to talk her into touring with Rod Stewart and she became an opening act. She did not need this. Rod completely disrespected Stevie. He never came on her stage but she came on stage for him. They only did one Stevie song (Leather and Lace) in only a couple cities. Rod did not even know the words and it was terrible. When Stevie toured together with Don Henley she showed him the respect he deserved and came on stage during his show to sing. Rod clearly thought he was too big of a star to do this and Stevie was reduced to an opening act.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:07 PM
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The heart and soul tour is the worst thing Stevie has ever done in her career IMHO. She allowed concert promoters to talk her into touring with Rod Stewart and she became an opening act. She did not need this. Rod completely disrespected Stevie. He never came on her stage but she came on stage for him. They only did one Stevie song (Leather and Lace) in only a couple cities. Rod did not even know the words and it was terrible. When Stevie toured together with Don Henley she showed him the respect he deserved and came on stage during his show to sing. Rod clearly thought he was too big of a star to do this and Stevie was reduced to an opening act.
I wish this could be moved to the Stevie forum....

The difference between Rod and Don is that she aborted Don's baby(it was Don's, right?). So they have a bit more history...

Who knows, maybe she slept with Rod, too. Mama got around, for sure...
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Old 12-03-2017, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Macfan4life View Post
The heart and soul tour is the worst thing Stevie has ever done in her career IMHO. She allowed concert promoters to talk her into touring with Rod Stewart and she became an opening act. She did not need this. Rod completely disrespected Stevie. He never came on her stage but she came on stage for him. They only did one Stevie song (Leather and Lace) in only a couple cities. Rod did not even know the words and it was terrible. When Stevie toured together with Don Henley she showed him the respect he deserved and came on stage during his show to sing. Rod clearly thought he was too big of a star to do this and Stevie was reduced to an opening act.
Agree 100 percent. Worst tour decision of her career. Ironically she did a few of these shows the same year as maybe her best tour of the 20th century (until this most recent one) the in your dreams tour with 6 (sometimes 7) new songs and interesting,funny and reasonable lengthed stage banter.

Thank god she's corrected this monstracity with maybe one the greatest double bills of all time with the pretenders. And I'm saying that as someone who had no interest in the pretenders whatsoever beforehand. I still don't find their radio songs that good at all, but boy did they put on a great performance. And their quick punch style of playing songs is th perfect compliment to Stevie's long winded story fest (albeit with an equally great performance in between stories)
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Old 12-03-2017, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by aleuzzi View Post
This is bitchy, accurate, and hilarious.

Yea, it is accurate and hilarious. But do you like or dislike that aspect of her? Because I wouldn't want her lyrics any other way. I love the unconventional sentence structure she uses in her songs and then takes to another level usually in live performances ("well I would" what stevie...., you complete the sentence in the studio version of stand back but said f*ck it for the rest of your career ) but again while that bothers my OCD a. It I also kind of love it that she has her own way of talking (singing)


There's tons of examples but off the top of my head the one that always puzzled me the most is gate and garden: "you know nothing about what?" But I enjoy just going with it, and in her own words, it does sound great.
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Old 12-03-2017, 12:51 PM
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Agree 100 percent. Worst tour decision of her career. Ironically she did a few of these shows the same year as maybe her best tour of the 20th century (until this most recent one) the in your dreams tour with 6 (sometimes 7) new songs and interesting,funny and reasonable lengthed stage banter.

Thank god she's corrected this monstracity with maybe one the greatest double bills of all time with the pretenders. And I'm saying that as someone who had no interest in the pretenders whatsoever beforehand. I still don't find their radio songs that good at all, but boy did they put on a great performance. And their quick punch style of playing songs is th perfect compliment to Stevie's long winded story fest (albeit with an equally great performance in between stories)
Stevie just came off the most successful world solo tour of her career. She did not need to be an opening act. Stevie has more talent in her big toe than Rod has in his entire body. The arrogance of Rod going out of his way to let everyone know.......Stevie is the opening act. I don't sing on someone else's stage. They must come to me.
Even in his own words state what an idiot this guy is. Remember the story he told when Stevie was in his house in the 1970's. Stevie had a glass of wine and told her "don't go in there" .....meaning don't go in the living room....you might spill it.
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:04 AM
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Yea, it is accurate and hilarious. But do you like or dislike that aspect of her? Because I wouldn't want her lyrics any other way. I love the unconventional sentence structure she uses in her songs and then takes to another level usually in live performances ("well I would" what stevie...., you complete the sentence in the studio version of stand back but said f*ck it for the rest of your career ) but again while that bothers my OCD a. It I also kind of love it that she has her own way of talking (singing)


There's tons of examples but off the top of my head the one that always puzzled me the most is gate and garden: "you know nothing about what?" But I enjoy just going with it, and in her own words, it does sound great.
I wouldn't change a thing about her lyrics. "Throw Down"--the song lyrics that led to the notorious Bob Dylan argument--is perfect the way it is. It does everything this critic is saying her songs do, but the sudden ungrammatical shifts and unconventional structure actually enhances the experience of the song.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:15 PM
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There's tons of examples but off the top of my head the one that always puzzled me the most is gate and garden: "you know nothing about what?"
Where does she say this in Gate and Garden?
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:53 PM
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Where does she say this in Gate and Garden?
I believe they're referring to the "nobody knows nothing bout it" line.
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:42 PM
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I believe they're referring to the "nobody knows nothing bout it" line.
Yeah--it's the hook from the chorus. As a kid, I used to love that line because "it" could be anything I wanted it to be. The vagueness (which is usually a sign of bad writing) was appropriate for me. I was secretive, living in a semi-fantasy world that many teens live in when they are afraid to be themselves. A couple years later, the slogan for her Rock a Little tour was "Set your secrets free." I connected that, too, to my life.

As a lyricist, on paper, Stevie's songs are opaque and incoherent. But her commitment to elliptical phrases, sudden shifts in voice, and unconventional use of conventional images is powerful--and all of it works because of that commitment. She delivers any number of ambiguous sentiments with a force that's hard to deny.
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:39 PM
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Yeah--it's the hook from the chorus. As a kid, I used to love that line because "it" could be anything I wanted it to be. The vagueness (which is usually a sign of bad writing) was appropriate for me. I was secretive, living in a semi-fantasy world that many teens live in when they are afraid to be themselves. A couple years later, the slogan for her Rock a Little tour was "Set your secrets free." I connected that, too, to my life.

As a lyricist, on paper, Stevie's songs are opaque and incoherent. But her commitment to elliptical phrases, sudden shifts in voice, and unconventional use of conventional images is powerful--and all of it works because of that commitment. She delivers any number of ambiguous sentiments with a force that's hard to deny.
Not always. Dreams, on paper, is one of the most coherent and structurally balanced things she's ever done. Rhiannon on paper is fine, so is Landslide. (see a pattern here? Mr. Grammar Police had more influence on her stuff then). (actually, I also think she was still trying to prove herself as a songwriter then, and tried harder, before thinking she was a goddess and every word that she wrote was gold. Ask the hoteliers in Italy). (oh, and one more add-- Don Henley was just as harsh in correcting her songs as Lindsey. She describes working on L&L when going with him and playing versions for him and says he would tell her, "it's not good enough, fix it". She used to say in interviews how she strove for her work to be good enough for the Eagles. Very different mindset today).

Back to the point at hand-- Storms is totally coherent and fine on paper. Beautiful Child. Sleeping Angel. Garbo. Fall From Grace is good on paper. I could go on.

Part of it is, after she's played and rehearsed a song so many times and done so many takes in the studio, she gets bored and starts fiddling around with the lyrics and improvising things, and then suddenly words pop in that don't make as much sense. But too late, that's the take that gets used for the album.

Also, people misquote her lyrics. Sometimes she has to pause in a line for a breath or to fit with the beat of the music, and people are too stupid to understand this. For example, on Dreams she sings "listen carefully to the sound" and then pauses, then "of your loneliness..etc etc". The thought she is expressing doesn't stop at "sound" it's very clear the thought is "listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness".For some reason people get this on this song, but don't get it on other songs.

The one that drives me absolutely batsh&t crazy is Think About It because people refuse to understand this concept. On TAI, she sings "and the heart says danger" then sings "and the heart says whateverrrrrr" and the pauses for a breath, before finishing the line with "it is that you want from me, I am just one small part of forever." Sooooo many journalists clearly don't listen to the whole line, even one recently where the chick is supposedly a big Stevie fan. They just go on and and on about 'omg that's such a Stevie Nicks line where she sings 'the heart says, whatever." THAT IS NOT THE LINE people. The freaking line is "and the heart says, whatever it is that you want from me, I am just one small part of forever". She just pauses for a break. But then that doesn't fit their narrative that "omg she's such a kook and listen to her wacky lyrics!"

Listen, she's got plenty of wacky lyrics that you don't need to go making sh&t up.

"Don't hide behind your hair that way"
"Sometimes the real color of my skin, my eyes without any shadow"
"and the dream says I want you, and the dream is gone.....well at least there is a dream left"
"would you say stop for a second so that you could think for a minute I think you should think for a moment" (ok that's not how it is on the record but it is pretty hilarious how it flummoxes her in live performances)
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:08 PM
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As an editor, I often roll my eyes at the opaqueness, odd phrasing, poor grammar, and repetitiveness of some of Stevie's songs; however, I forgive her because she's really an artist by nature who follows her muse wherever it may take her. To me, Stevie's intent with every song she writes is to leave an impression, to create a feeling, not necessarily to tell a coherent story through a straightforward narrative.

That said, many of Stevie's songs are beautifully structured and perfectly acceptable from a language perspective.... "Leather and Lace," "New Orleans," "Gold Dust Woman," "Dreams," "Sisters of the Moon," "Rhiannon," "Think About It," "After the Glitter Fades," "Kind of Woman," "I Miss You," "Love Changes," "Say You Will" are all wonderfully crafted songs with clear narratives and cogent lyrics.... Unfortunately, I think Stevie's image as an airy-fairy California witchy-woman has often undermined her intelligence as a songwriter. When she puts her mind to it and shows some discipline, this woman can write just as well, if not better, than the Freys, Henleys, and Pettys of the world.
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