July 16, 2001
THE STEVIE & SHERYL SHOW: NICKS AND CROW ENCHANT AUDIENCE AT MEADOWS
By Greg Brown
HARTFORD: The nostalgia of Friday's Stevie Nicks concert was overshadowed by a sense of freshness and rebirth, as the bewitching singer presented an unusual tandem performance with her new partner, Sheryl Crow.
On a stage decorated with gorgeous floral arrangements before a backdrop of an ethereal nature scene, the pair played to an enormous, wildly receptive crowd at the ctnow.com Meadows Music Centre. With a powerful, heavily rhythmic band of troubadours and a couple of backup singers, Nicks opened with 1981's "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" which immediately set the tone for the evening with its empowering lyrics, driving rhythms, and the lead guitarist's deep vocals on Tom Petty's part of the duet. The show was a peculiar combination of reminiscence and resurgence. To the crowd's delight, Nicks performed wonderful versions of "Dreams", "Gold Dust Woman" and "Rhiannon" the latter two with able assistance from Crow. But the women also offered many selections from Nicks' latest release, "Trouble In Shangri-La", a CD that Crow helped produce. While there were many sweet, sultry interludes where the pace was slowed down, the performance was primarily a rock showcase, with singing and playing that was decidedly forceful and driving, if not edgy. An awesome conga introduction began the rendition of "Stand Back" and the fantastic lead guitarist let loose during Crow's "Everyday Is A Winding Road". The 53-year-old rock legend was in top form, looking incredibly young for all her life's travails. She remains a warm and charismatic stage presence whose costumed and bejeweled fans appeared more zealously devoted than your average music lovers. Her voice was as strong and distinctive as ever, but she was unable to hit the higher registers and relied heavily on Crow and her pair of backup vocalists for some of the memorable high parts, most notably during the Fleetwood Mac songs. A tip of the hat was given to Tom Petty with the raucous encore rendition of "I Need To Know" Singer songwriter Jeffery Gaines opened with a tight, entertaining set that featured his latest radio hit, a cover of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes".