July 11, 2001
a review of the July 10th concert in the Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
Nicks' hard road hones her verve, adds maturity
Fleetwood Mac might be a mess of egos and romantic disasters, but the band does bring together some undeniable talents. In fact, it was the addition of the California couple Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, a songwriting package of studio savvy and charisma, that transformed the British group from blues-rock stalwart to international superstar.
When it came time for the inevitable solo excursions, however, there was only one member able to escape the group's gravitational pull and find stardom, and that was Stevie Nicks.
Although the famous excesses encouraged by massive success could have killed her, the singer soldiered on. Destiny's Child sampled Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen" for their current hit "Bootylicious," but any fan of VH1's "Behind The Music" knows that the R&B group's previous hit "Survivor" suited Nicks better.
Nicks' latest disc, "Trouble In Shangri-La," arrived after a seven year wait, during which she kicked all her bad habits, reunited with Fleetwood Mac and regained some confidence. Like she needed it.
An iconic female presence in rock 'n' roll's boys club, Nicks has influenced a younger generation of diverse singer-songwriters, ranging from Courtney Love to Sheryl Crow—who was on hand as an unbilled band member at Allstate Arena Tuesday night, where they breezed through three decades of West Coast rock.
Crow, who produced and played on much of Nicks' new album (and who may replace Christine McVie on a coming Fleetwood Mac tour), entered mid-set to assist on a chilling rendition of "Gold Dust Woman," a dark Fleetwood Mac track that Love has also covered. While Crow primarily played the foil to Nicks, she got the spotlight for renditions of her "Every Day Is a Winding Road" (featuring Nicks) and "My Favorite Mistake."
But the focus remained on Nicks as she ran through so many hit songs that it was baffling to consider all the hits she didn't perform.
On the rock side was "Outside the Rain" and "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." Nicks' disco-influenced '80s classics "Stand Back" and "Edge of Seventeen" sounded as fresh today as they did two decades ago, with "Edge" transformed from a song of innocence to one of experience. "Dreams" and "Rhiannon" missed only the onstage drama fueled by Nicks' Mac-mates.
The new "Too Far from Texas," a duet with Crow, sounded more country than Nicks' earlier stab at twang, "Enchanted."
"Sorcerer" and "Planets of the Universe" audaciously but smartly recycled some of Nicks' familiar witchy themes, but "Every Day" came across as too sappy for the edgy artist.
Fortunately, at 53 Nicks still knows how to play the ingenue. Trading shawls and spinning in place, she seemed as entranced by the longevity of her songs as the audience itself.