[The Nicks Fix]

In Style
May 2001

Nicks at Night

It was an evening of trills and chilled champagne

By Stephanie Tuck

Anyone who has seen VH-1's Behind the Music special on Fleetwood Mac knows that Stevie Nicks and her bandmates loved partying nearly as much as performing. She has long since traded in the rock and roll lifestyle for a decidedly more conventional existence, but when this legend of leather and lace invited a few close friends "to join her on a magic carpet ride"--a listening party for her new CD, Trouble in Shangri-La--it was some enchanted evening, albeit low-key. In fact, she chose as the setting for the record's formal début her own private Shangri-La--the Pacific Palisdes home where she wrote many of the songs. While Sheryl Crow, Macy Gray, Sarah McLachland and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines all made cameos on the album, only Crow and a pair of Nicks's longtime backup singers live close enough that they could join the dozen other guest and share in Stevie's obvious enthusiasm for the project. "I can't do any better than this," Nicks said by way of introduction as she loaded up her CD player. "I am as proud of this record as I am of Bella Donna," she added, referring to the multiplatinum classic that ignited her solo career back in 1981.

Preferring to focus on the music, Nicks tapped party planner Lulu Powers to handle the catering. ("I cooked for Lindsey Buckingham for five years," Nicks recalls. "I can do it, but I choose not to.") Still, she couldn't resist overssing the mood lighting, which she considers the key to creating the perfect ambience. "Lighting provides me with endless amusement," she said with a laugh as she paused the playback to adjust the way a green bulb shone on a Buddha statue. And she picked out the deep red roses as decoration too. "Don Henley has sent me these roses for 20 years," she said of the centerpiece. "I love them so much I finally called his assistant to find out the name of the florist so I could get them myself!" ("Stevie has gone out with the coolest rock and roll stars ever," mused Crow.) Once wine and a round of hors d'oeuvres had been served, guests prepared to enjoy the real treat, as Nicks cranked up the volume on her stereo and began to sing along, harmonizing over her recorded vocals. At one point Crow couldn't resist chiming in for an impromptu duet, much to the delight of the other revelers. "This evening was so joyous," she later said, as Nicks bid goodnight with hugs and chocolate for the road. "Thanks for letting us celebrate you big moment." Sheryl's good wishes echoed those of everyone who had attended. Clearly, on this night there was no"Trouble" to be found other than what came from Stevie's speakers.

The elements

the event: A small listening party for Stevie Nicks's new album, Trouble in Shangri-La. "I prefer intimate gatherings," says the veteran singer-songwriter.

the setting: Nicks's Los Angeles residence, a Spanish-style, hilltop hacienda overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

the decor: The home resembles a cozy museum of mystical art--paintings, illustrations and figurines representing dragons, witches, fairies, angels and gypsies abound.

the flowers: "Make the house smell wonderful," Nicks instructed L.A.-based party planner LuLu Powers, who chose especially fragrant blossoms such as tuberose, freesia and Stargazer lilies. "We wanted the scent of flowers to be the first thing guests noticed when walked in the door," says Powers. "Our goal was to evoke the feeling of walking outside on a spring night." Freesia-and tuberose-scented candles from the Illume added to the aromatic setting, as did scented oils of Nicks's own creation (using Neutrogena oil as a base, she mixes essences of tuberose or gardenia with musk and patchouli).

the lighting: Nicks collects Tiffany lamps and has outfitted them all with dimmers as well as a range of colored bulbs, so entire rooms are saturated in rich, romantic hues. "I'll get up in the middle of the night and spend hours walking around the house changing the lighting," she says.

the surprise hit: Crow brought Nicks a package of Ferrero Rocher chocolates from her Grammy goody bag, and Nicks shared the wealth as her guesets departed.

the feast: Hors d'oeuvres included oyster-chanterelle- and lobster-mushroom risotto cakes with white truffle crème fraîche and chives, and salmon tartare on scallion potato chips. For dinner Powers prepared a mesclun salad with walnuts, Stilton and cranberries, with a shallot vinaigrette, followed by grilled tarragon chicken, seared mustard salmon and steamed asparagus. For dessert she served chocolate pâte with vanilla bean sauce and raspberries. Guests sipped St. Francis merlot, chardonnay or Kir Royales made with Domain Carneros champagne and Chambord.


captions with the photos:

Above: Nicks's Gibson, Right, from top: the hostess and Crow; the view from the living room; hors d'oeuvres and a photo album from Fleetwood Mac's White House gig.

The concert and dinner begin. Below: Nicks's Yorkie, Sulamith, poses next to a poster for Trouble in Shangril-La.

Clockwise from top left: One of the many Tiffany lamps that illuminate Nicks's house; Crow chats with friend Lee Ann Jarvis (behind them a dragon statue guards the stereo equipment); the living room fireplace, surrounded by Eastern artifacts, blazed throughout the party; Nicks is flanked by her backup singers, Sharon Celani (left) and Lori Nicks, her sister-in-law. "Stevie provides such a comforting atmosphere," says Crow. "This house has a strong presence of femininity."


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