Joss Stone and Dave Stewart are having a moment. Last year the English soul singer hired the former Eurythmics member to produce her latest solo disc, LP1. Then Stewart drafted Stone into SuperHeavy, the globe-tripping all-star outfit that also includes Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, reggae scion Damian Marley and Bollywood film-music giant A.R. Rahman. And last night at the Troubadour in Los Angeles the pair unveiled yet another project, the More Love tour. “We wrote a film, and we wrote a soundtrack,” Stone told the capacity crowd by way of explanation. “But we never made the film.”
The duo’s new show – which hits California’s Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on Saturday before a Valentine’s Day appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson – does indeed contain some fresh material: bluesy acoustic tunes like “What Are We Fighting For,” “Who Are We” and “Nowhere But Your Arms,” more than one of which seemed to make a rhyme last night of “together” and “forever.” (These two are serious about increasing the peace.) But More Love also draws from both artists’ back catalogs, including Stone’s 2004 hit “You Had Me,” stuff from LP1 and – perhaps most excitingly – a handful of Eurythmics’ ’80s-pop classics.
Like all singers not named Annie Lennox, Stone didn’t quite conjure the deep mystery of Stewart’s former partner, even as she nailed the yodel-y bit in “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” But the young singer did tap a convincing melancholy for “Here Comes the Rain Again” and sounded great in an appealingly stripped-down version of “Who’s That Girl?” At the end of the 70-minute gig Stewart revved up the unmistakable punk-gospel guitar riff of “Missionary Man,” for which they were joined by Michael Jackson’s former guitarist Orianthi. (Hey, it’s Grammy Week in L.A.– what do you expect?)
Stone cut loose during the closer, working her melisma and flailing her long blonde hair like some kind of post-hippie love child. Behind his signature sunglasses-at-night, Stewart looked pleased as punch.