Saturday, August 07, 2010

Stevie Nicks

click to enlarge

Last night I attended my first Stevie Nicks concert. I saw her once before--in 1981, at a Tom Petty concert, she came onstage and did the two songs, one from her album and one from his, that they'd done together. It wasn't enough.

So last night, almost three decades later, I finally saw her in concert. Sadly, I was less than completely impressed.

Oh, there was plenty of classic Stevie all right. Some of the things you'd expect at one of her concerts--the voice, the shawl, the spinning--those were there, and much appreciated. It was mostly her playlist that sucked.

It was a bad omen when I didn't even know the first sang she sang. I knew the second song, Outside The Rain, but it was a very minor song of hers; in fact, I doubt it was ever even on the radio. Dreams was the first big song of hers that she sang.

We got Dreams. We got Rhiannon. We got Edge of Seventeen. We got Stand Back. And we got Landslide. But really, no Sara? No Seven Wonders? No Gypsy? No Rooms On Fire? No Silver Springs? She could do some song by Bob Seger that nobody's ever heard of, and do a Led Zeppelin song, but couldn't do one of those? Really? Compare the list of songs she did to the list of songs she didn't do--is the latter the lesser list? And to add to all that, it seemed a short concert--didn't have my watch so I couldn't tell for sure, but the warm-up act started well after 8, and we were in front of another casino asking for the time at quarter to 11.

Before the show started I was telling the friend I went with that I'd bet she'll have the two backup singers she's had on all her albums, Lori and Sharon. And I hoped against hope that she wouldn't have that nasty, grungy individual, Waddy Wachtel, as her guitarist.

As soon as everyone was on stage, I recognized Wachtel immediately. I don't like him, never have, never will. He may even be a good guitarist, but I don't like him as a person. I was disappointed that he was there.

I couldn't see one of the backup singers, but I could tell the other had dark hair. I asked my friend if the one I couldn't see had lighter hair, and he confirmed she did. Sharon and Lori. Nailed it.

Stevie's over 60 years old, but she still put on a good show. She didn't hit every high note in the songs--didn't even try--but it was still her voice that I heard. It sounded good. She sounded good. I felt good.

I'm not disappointed I went. I'm just disappointed that it could have been so much better.

The show was at the Harvey's outdoor amphitheater, very near to the lake itself. It was about 80 degrees during the day in Tahoe yesterday, which is about as close to perfect weather that you can get there. And even though by the end of the concert there was a slight chill in the air, it wasn't cold at all. For a summer concert series, it's a prime venue.

I had a much better view of Stevie with my eyes than I apparently did with my camera, and the sound was much better in person than what my instant camera recorded, but here are a few short clips:


If Anyone Falls



Guitar intro to Edge of Seventeen just won't load. Sorry.

Update, 8/12/10: Linked by the New York Times:


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Just for the record... I want to point out that Stevie never does Silver Springs, Sara, Gypsy Solo have to go to a Fleetwood Mac show for those. And she never does Seven Wonders, and why?.. because she can't hit the notes. Be gentle on her, You should've seen her back then and just missed it... She's getting older too.

Darren said...

She won't do those, but she'll do Rhiannon and Dreams? OK, didn't know that.

And the folks at Nickslive don't like that I was "less than completely impressed". Wow, some of the fanboys really got butthurt by my commentary!

Anonymous said...

What someone else said isn't actually true, she HAS done "Sara" and "Gypsy" at her solo shows, but she hasn't done them since 1986, she has done them with Fleetwood Mac as recently as last year.
You're not wrong with your commentary at all, fans have been begging her to switch up her set list for years. I'll be seeing her at the end of the month, I've seen her on nearly every tour with and without Fleetwood Mac since 1986 and I would love the set list to change, but for some reason Stevie would rather do cover songs over her own material.

Anonymous said...

First off, never feel bad for sharing your opinion, thats what blogs are all about, just be open to people returning their opinions as well. I'm going to disagree with the blogger and some of these comments as well. Stevie produces a great set list. All the pros know that when you have an extensive catalog, you do about 60 to 70 percent of the big hits and then split up the other 30 to 40 percent with obscure (for the die hard Nicks fans) and any new material that you may want to start having people hear. Some even throw in a cover song. I believe Stevie opened with LED Zeppelin's "Been a long time since I Rock & Rolled" which is a rock and roll classic to say the least. From what I saw on Youtube, the set list rocked. An extended Edge of 17, Sorcerer which she wrote and Marilyn Martin, one of her backup singers performed on the movie Streets of Fire, several Fleetwood Macs like Gold Dust Woman and Landslide, and i'm not sure about any new songs, i didn't notice any on Youtube. I think it is an excellent mix and remember she can't please 100% of everybody, that's impossible.
Stevie does do Sara in her solo shows sometimes, it's even on her 2008 dvd Stevie Nicks live in Chicago. I would have to agree Gypsy should for sure be a part of the set list, she's missing the boat on that one as that is one of her signature songs.

As far as the high notes go, most singers that are still around performing in their 50's and 60's learned very early in their careers that it's a good idea to preserve the voice by having their live arrangements a little lower in range. Pat Benatar who's 57 and Donna Summer 60, both like Stevie are still in excellent voice also preserve the voice this way.
Just my two cents. Rock On!

Anonymous said...

For the record... Stevie doesn't do Seven Wonders, because it's a FleetwoodMac song, not because she can't hit the notes! She does Dreams, Landslide, Rhiannon, and we would be disappointed if she didn't. She does 3 covers, apparently because she likes them! For pity sake... give the woman a break!!!! I've see her show when the audience could have cared less when she did a new song that they weren't familiar with... it's not what the die-hard fans want! Besides, she hasn't put out a new cd for 10 years... Apparently, you went to a "Stevie Nicks" concert, expecting"FleetwoodMac!" Too bad. Because you've never really seen Stevie, it seems you didn't come with an open mind. She really truly is one of the greats (but that's just my opinion).
As far as the length of the show... FleetwoodMac does a 2-1/2 hour show (with 2 singers)... Stevie does 1-1/2... how much more do you want one singer to do???
Oh, and as for that "nasty, grungy individual"... he is her Musical Director (I think she referred to him as her "muse")... if you don't like that fact, go to another concert!
You said you weren't disappointed.. but you slammed every aspect of the show... make up your mind, dude! Just admit it.. you liked the show, and Stevie... you just didn't want to!
Stevie gave her audience what THEY came to see and hear.... and it was the Stevie we ALL love!
Good for her... and good for her band!!!!!

Jimmy said...

You'll have an opportunity to hear new material when the new CD Dave Stewart is producing comes out. I'm sure she will tour it next summer. This was a charity event with a band that has been off of the road, so the list was reflective of that. "Outside the Rain" was a hit in '81/'82, trust me.

A Seger song no one has ever heard of?? Clearly, you're not a RnR fan. The opening song, "Fall from Grace", is a rocker and a good choice to open the show with. I'm sure the crowd was elated.

Whatever your problem with Waddy is, it is most definitely your problem. He is one of the greats.

Darren said...

Regarding the comment 2 above: I liked the show but didn't want to? I wrote this much, posted back and forth this much (here and at the Nickslive site), put this much into it--because I didn't want to like the concert? You, sir or ma'am, are an idiot.

Keep in mind that this post, which is far more controversial than it should have been, was not some harsh commentary on Stevie Nicks. I was just sharing my observations of the show with my readers, and some people seem to have taken great offense at that. Maybe they need to get out more, or something. I'm not suggesting Stevie change her set list, I'm not denigrating her, I'm just sharing my thoughts on the one show I saw.

Let's review what I wrote near the end of my post, before the video clips:

Stevie's over 60 years old, but she still put on a good show. She didn't hit every high note in the songs--didn't even try--but it was still her voice that I heard. It sounded good. She sounded good. I felt good.

I'm not disappointed I went. I'm just disappointed that it could have been so much better.

And I stand by that. So some of you can just Stand Back.