STEVIE NICKS LIVE!
(Photos copyright 2007 by Chris Downing. Do not use without permission).
Stevie Nick's Crystal Visions tour pulled into the Constant Center in Norfolk, VA on Thursday, June 28, to what appeared to be a sold out audience. We were on the floor of this beautiful, modern arena and it seemed like we were practically on stage with her, seated about five or six rows back from the stage. After more than 30 years of touring with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist, a Stevie Nicks concert is a well-oiled, precision machine and the Norfolk show was no exception. That doesn't mean it didn't rock, because it most certainly did.
Looking half of her 59 years -- not to mention fit and gorgeous -- Stevie opened with "Stand Back" and the audience was instantly on its feet. Her band and longtime back-up vocalists -- Lori Nicks, Sharon Celani and Jana Anderson -- were tight and perfect. I'd never seen Stevie in pants before, but she looked every inch the rock star in her leather trousers, fitted jacket, boots and shimmery scarf. Her voice is still flexible and was strong. When she did her high kick at the end of the song, the crowd went nuts.
Since this was a greatest hits tour, Stevie gave the audience exactly what it wanted doing powerhouse versions of "Dreams," "If Anyone Falls," "Rhiannon" and "Enchanted." I was pleased to see her throw in some songs I'd never heard live, including "How Still My Love" and "Sorcerer." There were numerous costume changes, as Stevie slipped into different dresses and her impressive collection of impossibly tall platform boots. The giant video screens along the back of the stage offered up giant images of Stevie's drawings, clips from her old videos and photos from her life. Those photos were used in a moving tribute to her late father in the song "Landslide," which she also dedicated to the Navy members in the audience. It was a very moving moment and she sounded heavenly.
The stand out moments of the show were "Gold Dust Woman," which raised the roof off the joint. Waddy Wachtel's guitar was in fine form during this number and was the percussion Lenny Castro and Jimmy Paxson. The screen was filled with golden dust floating and the stage lights cast and eerie glow on the stage. "Edge of Seventeen" had everyone dancing in the aisles (much to the dismay of security, who was trying to get overexcited fans back to their seats). Stevie did her now customary walk along the edge of the stage accepting flowers and presents from the fans. There was a huge stack of offerings once she took her bow.
For the encores, Stevie brought out her opening act Vanessa Carlton to join the backing vocalists for a storming cover of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll." The song might say "it's been a long time since I rock and rolled..." but Stevie was totally rocking her ass off during this number. The jaunty top hat, black riding habit-styled jacket and white skirt were oh-so Stevie. There was another brief pause while Stevie disappeared to change into a long flowing gown for the final number, the elegiac "Beauty and the Beast." While she sang, images from Jean Cocteau's classic film were shown on the giant screen. Stevie's voice during this song was so full of emotion and I was biting my lower lip. It really is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.
If you're a fan of Stevie and she's coming to your town on this tour, get a ticket. It's totally worth your time and money. She's still the goddess of rock 'n roll.