Sunday, August 29, 2010

(Review) Stevie Nicks' Voice Left Something To Be Desired At MGM Grand

By THOMAS KINTER, Special To The Courant
Hartford Courant

Stevie Nicks holds one of the most substantial 1980s pop music legacies thanks to her work alone and as a member of Fleetwood Mac. Her show Saturday night at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods casino in Mashantucket was her final stop on a brief run of summer dates, a fresh chance to polish up that chest of memories, even if Nicks is not quite capable of getting them to shine like they once did.

A husky, nasal edge is still her voice's defining trait, but a tool with fewer fine motor skills than it once possessed. The 62-year-old Nicks hammered away in the most general of fashions at her opener, "Fall from Grace," though she had some trouble competing with the robust chug of her 9-piece band.

Nicks sang with an almost detached quality, tugging at the long fabric strands that dangled from her microphone stand while floating through "Outside the Rain" with a nonchalant remove from any spark it may hold. Her phrasing had a scattershot quality, doing the popular Fleetwood Mac song "Dreams" no favors.

Nicks draped her voice over lyrics like it was a horse blanket, which made for a shapeless inflation of "Sorcerer" and a rasp-lined meander through "Gold Dust Woman" that was more insistent than artful. Her singing was the least melodic component of "If Anyone Falls," splattering against its roomy sway.

The show was a dawdler, taking nearly two hours for 15 songs, among which were covers of Tom Petty's "You Wreck Me" and Bob Seger's "Face the Promise," each a feasible vehicle for the percussive jabs that remain within her vocal range. Songs from her own history are much as they ever have been, but her stewardship of them has changed, to the point that she was most effective when she dialed back her singing, resorting to nearly spoken-word handling to make "Landslide" a cool, understated treat.

Nicks remains one of rock's most prominent shawl advocates, sporting them for a number of tunes and holding one aloft while spinning slowly to the bounding pulse of "Stand Back" when not trumpeting its lyrics. Her closing delivery of "Edge of Seventeen" was so much filler in a rendition that had more than its share, from the dragged-out drum solo that preceded it to the flabby jam that extended its back end.

She avoided tunes from her forthcoming album in the encore as she had during her show — she has spoken out against posting of clips online as spoilers for new work, and so isn't giving anyone the chance. Instead, she served as more of a passenger than driver in Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll," but moved to a comfortable finale with a stroll through the puffy "Love Is," evoking hints of the past without ever quite recapturing it.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope this reviewer gets cancer in his balls.

Anonymous said...

^^There goes my diet coke! LOL!!

Performingsys said...

The question is.. why does the reviewer hate Stevie Nicks? A review such as this only shows dislike of Stevie Nicks and a prejudiced overtone. Get a life writer..

Anonymous said...

The Hartford Courant over the years is notorious for slamming Stevie in their reviews, whether solo or with FM - particularly towards her singing... Not surprised by their review... Only bad review of the 5 shows too!

Anonymous said...

From what I have heard from several friends, that moved heaven and earth to attend the concert, this jerk, was either at the wrong show, drunk. or is completely tone deaf. Personally I vote for all 3. Also, from the videos available of the live performance it is obvious he didn't see the show at all...
Thank You Stevie!!! Please NEVER Stop!!!

Anonymous said...

Hummmmm
Now Donnie Moorhouse, writing over at The Republican seems to have got it right.. He even appears to have attended the show and watched and listened....
Check it out:http://www.masslive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2010/08/stevie_nicks_at_the_mgm_grand.html

doctorjim51 said...

Ok...First question I have is how do you become a "reviewer?" Send .50 cents in with 2 box tops to a cereal company and they send you a certificate saying you're an official reviewer? OMG..Stevie has always had one of the most steady and outstanding voices in the business and to see adjectives such as "horse blanket", used to describe her talent, is just unbelievable! I wonder if this gentleman can sing and if he can, why isn't he up on stage doing what Stevie has done for years! In other words...Put up or shut up! However...This is just my opinion!
DOC (The wanna-be reviewer :) )

Anonymous said...

Hey, she is NOT a great singer at all, she has a certain style but really bellows and croaks her way through a lot of her midtempo work.

Anonymous said...

This article sounds truthful to me. I saw her on tour last year with Fleetwood Mac and I thought she was just going through the motions—almost as if she was timing herself and just glad to get through it. I'm going to buy her record, of course, but I have to say I'm very concerned about her vocals. I hope she gives it everything she's got. Going through the motions will not cut it anymore. Her voice has lost so much edge. She really better try hard. She may be an entitled rock star, but people are entitled not to buy her record.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed in her performance solo in 07 and with FM in 09. I really think she should stick to studio recording, where technology can compensate.

Anonymous said...

Her voice is actually in the best "live" shape it has been ever. It's just her stage presence has slowed down, but c'mon, she's 62 years old!!! Give the woman a break, she is still able to put on a great show.

Anonymous said...

I was at the MGM Grand Sat night, and this has been the 15th show in the past six years that I have seen Stevie Nicks. She was GREAT--one of the best shows I have seen!!! This reviewer obviously doesn't like Stevie Nicks and probably the only one in the audience who doesn't. Was he blind and deaf to how the audience reacted to Stevie? Her voice was GREAT and so was she. No one can come close to this classy lady!!!

Robert said...

"Her voice is actually in the best "live" shape it has been ever."

Oh COME on. It's true that the review was harsh, but Jesus, anyone who thinks Stevie sounds even as good as she did in 1997 must be smokin' the good stuff. If you're not familiar with her work, her vocals would probably be quite jarring. Stevie's band is ALWAYS too loud, and when she tackles If Anyone Falls, it just sounds like a loud mess if you don't know the song.

Anonymous said...

A lot of her songs done live are loud raucous messes, except the ballads.

Anonymous said...

Robert:
Trust me, I am just a harsh a critic as you or anyone else. I have seen Stevie several times since "The Dance" and her voice really is just as strong if not stronger than in the 90's and definately better than in the 80's!

Anonymous said...

Well I work for the Hartford Courant and I wish I didn't. This has been the only bad review of Stevies shows. It figures, this is why sales are so low for the paper. Maybe if they got rid of some of these horrible reporters and got some with some taste it would make for better reading, Thanks to the Hartford Courant for another Wrong and shamefull review! Stevie put on a great show and I am so glad she took the time out of her schedule to bless us with another great performance. Can't wait till March when she tours with her new cd. Maybe my then the Courant will hire someone that will get the review right!!

Anonymous said...

Hey budy get the shit out your ears and the stick out your ass ! Please don't ever write about her EVER again , you know about the Witch rumors that follow her ? well she may not be one but alot of her fans are you better watch out !!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Kintner,I'm a dedicated fan of Stevie and her art,but I read your review with sadness. Yeah, I do mourn the loss of her once-honeyed singing voice.She's had some ups, she's had some downs, so what? She writes about it,and does so with panache and class. She's still an incredibly gifted and prolific artist,with a consistently positive message.Mr. Kintner,you really don't know what you're talking about! Aging voice or not,Stevie will always be a class act who inspires millions of people. ~ JP.

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