For Stevie Nicks,
Nostalgia is a Good Thing
June 29, 2005
By Chris Varias
Stevie Nicks performed Tuesday night at Riverbend.
At this point in her career, it's hard not to label Stevie Nicks a
This isn't discrimination. It's less a case of ageism (the fabled
Fleetwood Mac alumna turned 57 last month) than one of
no-big-hits-in-a-mighty-long-time-ism. There wasn't one significant
new song performed during her show at Riverbend Tuesday night,
probably because she hasn't recorded a significant song in at least
However, as far as the crowd was concerned, the last two decades
don't matter, and nostalgia is a good thing. As long as Nicks' 2005
singing voice resembles the 1975 version, and the old tunes deliver
those bygone chills, she will continue to twirl her way into her
Backed by a seven-man band and two singers, Nicks belted her way
through a 16-song set that focused on her solo career, with
occasional nods to the Mac. The band was outstanding, stacked with
lace session players like guitarist Waddy Wachtel and longtime
Fleetwood Mac collaborators like multi-instrumentalist Brett Tuggle
The hit parade began with "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," her 1981
duet with Tom Petty. Wachtel helped out on vocals for Petty's parts.
It was soon followed by the one-two Fleetwood Mac punch of "Dreams"
and "Rhiannon." Nicks played with each number's phrasing a bit, but
never to the point of getting in the way of the song. She knew
better than to spoil what was for the crowd a moment of
back-to-back, adult-contemporary, yesteryear magic.
The lesser-known "Sorcerer," with its fanciful imagery, offered
Nicks the opportunity to switch into witchy-woman mode, as the video
screen flickered with medieval visions of crystals and skeletons and
wizards and such.
The next song, "Stand Back," began with a long percussion intro,
which served as the moment for Nicks to fetch her black and gold
shawl from backstage. She would need the shawl to accentuate her
many twirls (unofficial count: 18 360-degree turns) during the
song's guitar solo and climactic ending.
Other highlights that measured up to repeated spinning included a
version of "Gold Dust Woman," with its tick-tock drum opening
immediately setting off cheers; a true-to-the-original acoustic
version of "Landslide"; an epic "Edge of Seventeen," with a lengthy
percussion piece starting things off and few great Wachtel guitar
solos along the way.
Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" was an interesting choice for an
encore song. "It's been a long time since I rock and rolled," she
sang, which could be her way of telling the world she's a nostalgia
act and proud of it.
Singer-piano player Vanessa Carlton, a 24-year-old who sings as
pretty as she plays, did a 30-minute solo opening set that included
familiar songs like "A Thousand Miles" and "Ordinary Day" plus a few
new and unreleased tunes.
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