Stevie Nicks, still enchanting at 50 |
By Michele Amabile
HOLMDEL -- Despite pouring rain and a broken water main that closed the restrooms on one side of the newly renovated PNC Bank Arts Center on Saturday night, Stevie Nicks managed to pull off the impossible.
She created an enchanted evening.
It is a true testament to a performer's power when fans choose to stick it out in a slow downpour. Some concertgoers on the lawn were caked in mud, others wisely brought panchos, but all were entranced by Nicks who, at age 50, is still the golden haired goddess of the forests.
Nicks is on tour supporting the release of "Enchanted," a box set on Atlantic Records that showcases her entire career.
Without her Fleetwood Mac counterparts, Nicks appeared relaxed and in control. Most importantly, she was visibly happy, with a smile so wide that any discomfort the weather brought (even the amphitheatre seating had puddles) was quickly forgotten.
"Welcome and thank you so much for coming," a beaming Nicks told the audience. "This is the only tour I get to talk to you and tell you what I love, because this is the box set tour."
When was the last time any audience has seen Nicks this personable in concert?
She was warm and open, telling the crowd that they were the same as invited guests in her living room.
She graciously accepted flowers and shook hands when hundreds of fans rushed the stage for the encore of "Edge of Seventeen," a rocker from the '80s that Nicks delivered with a power not seen since her solo tours in that decade.
Plus, she looked magnificent.
Fans expecting her flowing outfits and glittering shawls were not disappointed, and Nicks took the role of the gypsy entertainer, swirling and posing for her most haunting work, "Gold Dust Woman."
A row of female Nicks fans dressed in full Stevie attire, complete with flowers in the hair and glitter, mimicked her every move during her most moving songs. Yet, Nicks can still rock like the bluesy diva she was 23 years ago.
Her band backed her ably, adding flavor to favorites such as "Stand Back" and "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," and Nicks played off them like a true leader and professional.
No wonder today's modern rockers like Smashing Pumpkins, Tori Amos, and Hole have chosen to cover her songs.
Still, there is nothing like watching the original in all her splendor.
An added bonus was the inclusion of her Fleetwood Mac-era material, such as "Rhiannon" (sung in a lower register) and "Dreams."
Nicks looked only too pleased to perform those songs, especially "Landslide," with the lyrics "Time makes you older/even time makes you older/ and I'm getting older, too."
Nicks dedicated "Landslide" to her father, and explained that it had special meaning to her.
Many times, Nicks' show had the feel of a VH-1 Storytellers special, letting people in on the inspiration of her most popular works. Most notable was what Nicks described as an "acoustic-electric-acoustic" set, anchored by personal versions of "After The Glitter Fades" and a song about her favorite performer, Greta Garbo.
It was her chance to show just how much she has grown as a lyricist, performing "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden," a song she wrote when she was just 17 years old.
"This is a trilogy of songs that mean something to me," she said. "It is all about Hollywood and what it did for me."
If ever there was a time to see Stevie Nicks on tour, this is it.
It is not only a joy for the fans, but for an artist who is clearly ready to open up her heart to her audience.
Opening for Nicks was the under-appreciated Boz Scaggs.
Scaggs, who delivered his style of blues, jazz, and classic hits, is a wonderful performer.
His performance of his songs "Lido Shuffle" and "Dirty Low Down," still sound great today, and his band (especially bassist Richard Patterson), displayed a touch of class.
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