Stevie Nicks, Pretenders thrill Mohegan Sun Casino crowd (review)
By Chris Dondoros
By Chris Dondoros
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – More than four decades into her musical career, Stevie Nicks has a lot of stories to tell.
Fleetwood Mac's most recognizable voice stopped by the Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday night, treating concert-goers to a career-spanning set – and career-spanning anecdotes – as part of the "24 Karat Gold" tour.
Known as the "Reigning Queen of Rock 'n' Roll" to fans, Nicks lived up to that title early on in her set, with a humble demeanor juxtaposed against a voice that – despite decades of touring – sounded nearly identical to recorded versions of songs such as openers "Gold and Braid" and "If Anyone Falls."
Nicks also wasn't afraid to hit some of Fleetwood Mac's most memorable tunes early on in her 19-song set, including a memorable performance of "Gypsy," complete with Lindsey Buckingham's memorable guitar melodies performed courtesy of longtime guitarist "Waddy Wachtel," who Nicks said she has known since 1971 and whose discography as a session guitarist spans from James Taylor to Iggy Pop.
Unfortunately, however, fans hoping for a performance of "The Chain" or by-the-book "greatest hits" concert would be disappointed.
Instead, Nicks and her backing band took a fresh look at "deep cuts" from her first two solo efforts – 1981's, "Bella Donna" and 1983's "Wild Heart" for much of her set, alongside tracks off Nicks' 2014 effort, "24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault," which were accompanied with stories from Nicks about how each song was written and subsequently "lost" over the years.
Notably, according to Nicks, "Starshine" started off as a 1979 demo written and originally performed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers between album cycles, which left the song unreleased until 2014.
In one of the night's most notable moments, Nicks invited Chrissie Hynde – who opened the show with seminal New Wave band the Pretenders – on stage for a performance of another Petty tune, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," with Hynde and Wachtel providing Nicks support during the song's choruses, originally sung by Petty.
With much of her set moving along at a slow pace, Nicks would save some of the night's best performances for last, starting with a brooding rendition of 2011's "Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)," which Nicks said was inspired by the film "Twilight: New Moon" and inspired her to release her first solo album in nearly a decade. She also offered the one-two punch of Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Woman" and an extended rendition of solo effort "Edge of Seventeen."
Nicks rounded out the show with a pair of encores that aptly paid respect to the two distinctive eras of her career: concert favorite "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac, which Nicks said she has performed at every concert since 1975, and "Leather and Lace" from 1981's "Bella Donna."
Hynde and the Pretenders opened the show with a lengthy set to an already-full arena that included back-to-back performances of hit songs "I'll Stand By You" and "Back on the Chain Gang" along with "Brass In Pocket."