Stevie Nicks proves she is Rock n’ Roll Royalty on the 24 Karat Gold Tour with Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders.
It must be a thrill to hear a sold-out arena of 18,000 adoring fans yelling your name. It has to stroke your ego to experience thunderous applause before you ever take the stage. It’s got to be exhilarating when the audience hangs on every word you say or sing. That’s only part of the reason why most kids want to grow up to be rock stars.
On Halloween-Eve, a bewitched audience was mesmerized as Stevie Nicks walked onstage and took a bow to acknowledge the love shown to her. Her first song, “Gold And Braid,” let the crowd know this tour was was going to feature songs that had a special affinity for her, in addition to some of her biggest hits.
As has always been her custom, she talked between songs. Whether telling the genesis of the song, a story that accompanied the music, or a tidbit from her remarkable career, Steve Nicks kept the audience enthralled all night capturing their collective heart when she said, “There’s no place to play more fun than Texas,” before singing “If Anyone Falls.”
Chrissie Hynde came out to sing a duet on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” The contrast of Stevie’s poetic voice and flowing, black dress, and Chrissie’s raspy sound while wearing jean and a T-shirt was rock at its finest.
Waddy Wachtel was amazing on guitar, and Ms. Nicks moved gracefully on “Belle Fleur,” a personal song about leaving your boyfriend behind when you become a star. Emotion was a key component of “Outside The Rain,” and also contained beautiful harmony with backup singers Sharon Celani and Marilyn Martin.
It segued into “Dreams,” an audience singalong that was the only No. 1 single by Fleetwood Mac. Stevie somehow danced in 6-inch heels for “Wild Heart.” She left the stage to put on the shawl she first wore for “Bella Donna.” Nicks twirled, moved theatrically, and used all the power in her voice for the deep cut “Annabel Lee.” The beat-driven “Enchanted” followed.
Hurricane Katrina was the inspiration behind the poem-turned-song “New Orleans.” “Starshine,” a song written in Tom Petty’s basement (which stayed a demo until 2014) had a Fleetwood Mac vibe and excellent solo work from Waddy and keyboardist Ricky Peterson.
A piano spotlight began the the mysterious “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream).” Stevie sang with pure emotion as a backdrop of snowfall cascading in front of a full moon over water set the mood.
The crowd erupted at Waddy’s unmistakable opening chords for “Stand Back,” a song she wrote while listening to Prince’s Little Red Corvette. A tune from Buckingham Nicks, before they joined Fleetwood Mac, was next. The 43-year-old “Crying In The Night,” another rarity, has only been played on this tour. She followed that with the intimately private “If You Were My Love.”
Ms. Nicks then became the Twirling Goddess for which she is known on “Gold Dust Woman.” She emphasized the words to offset a resounding cheer from the crowd. Waddy began the distinctive beat of “Edge Of Seventeen,” with it great harmonies and individual solos. The audience, in turn, roared in approval to their closing song.
A standing ovation lasted until they came back for the encore. It became deafening when Stevie began singing “Rhiannon.” She twirled, danced, and pranced, and her fans couldn’t get enough.
Nicks explained how she wrote the love duet “Leather And Lace” for Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings. But, when the pair broke up, she recorded with Don Henley instead. The three girls again sang both parts and the harmony was heavenly. It ended a Hall of Fame night of music.
Ms. Nicks engaged the audience, relating well to her fans going to great lengths to put on a good show for them. It’s obvious that she has no intention of slowing down her illustrious career. After 100 million+ albums, she is still writing and recording meaningful material and touring solo and with Fleetwood Mac.
Stevie always puts together a band of gifted musicians, starting with longtime collaborator Wachtel. Ricky Peterson has been with her the past few tours, as has bassist Al Ortiz. Drummer Scott Crago, guitarist Carlos Rios, and pianist Darrel Smith rounded out her band.
The early-arriving crowd was restless as they were eager for a night of terrific music. Chrissie Hynde, the mainstay of the band that has experienced frequent turnover, was joined by original drummer Martin Chambers as The Pretenders kicked off a night classic 70s and 80s rock.
With no introduction, the band came out, replete with Chrissie in blue jeans and a cowboy hat. She danced around without her usual guitar and immediately developed a rapport with the crowd. Their first song, “Alone,” on the just-released album of the same name, set the tone for the night.
James Walbourne led the guitar-heavy”Gotta Wait,” also from the new record. A song from Chrissie’s solo album. “Down The Wrong Way,” also featured James prominently. He was a star performer all night.
Ms. Hynde’s vocals highlighted “Private Life,” as well as a three-person guitar front that also included bassist Nick Wilkinson. She engaged the crowd much more than usual, and the audience reciprocated the affection.
The fans stood as one as the first few notes of “Back On The Chain Gang” played. The cameras flashed or recorded the song as it still sounds as fresh today as when it was new.
After “Talk Of The Town,” Chrissie had the quote of the night. She took off her jacket to reveal an “Everything is bigger in Texas” T-shirt (sleeveless, of course), then pointed to her chest and said, “Well, not everything!” After the laughter had died down, Hynde showed just how powerful her vocals still are on “Stand By You.” She sang it as an anthem to love.
The whole band was playful on “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” a track made even better by scintillating guitar work of Walbourne and bassist Nick Wilkinson. Chrissie’s voice was the highlight of the cover of The Kink’s “Stop Your Sobbing.”
Ms. Hynde told of the emotion involved in writing about her hometown in “My City Was Gone.” Another new song, “Holy Commotion,” had an almost pop beat, but her distinctive voice kept it a rock song. She danced again, a rarity for her, during the spirited guitar solo.
A throbbing drum solo led into the classic “Middle Of The Road.” Chrissie brought out the harmonica, and it turned into a jam session on the stage. It didn’t slow down any when she suddenly said, “I’m special!” The crowd immediately cheered as they knew it was time for “Brass In Pocket.” It turned into another jam session and was a concert-goer’s dream song to end a memorable show.
The audience was thrilled with the 15-song setlist from the 2005 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee. She played songs from a career that has spanned nine studio albums and sold over 25 million copies.
The songs from the new album show they still have the chops to be a force in music and not settle for their glorified, past achievements. The music is fresh and will add to the legendary standing.
Their catalog of songs are timeless and are mainstays on classic rock stations. Chrissie has become more genial with audiences over the years and continues to gain new fans.
Catch the 24 Karat Gold Tour until Christmas. It’s not to be missed if you’re a fan.
Special thanks to American Airlines Center for all their help.
Joe Guzman was on hand to record the event for National Rock Review.
Event Date: 30-Oct-2016