Stevie Nicks, Pretenders Lived Up to Their Legacies at Colonial Life Arena
By Erika Ryan
By Erika Ryan
Stevie Nicks, Pretenders; Colonial Life Arena, Columbia; Nov. 12, 2016
Over the screams of hundreds of middle-aged women, many in black shawls, a familiar voice told the crowd, “This is not the same Stevie Nicks set you’ve seen a hundred times.” And it wasn’t. After performing Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits for 40 years, it was clear Stevie Nicks wanted us to know she’s also a solo artist, and has been for a while.
While Saturday night’s show spotlighted her September 2014 release 24 Karat Gold, she still touched on a few classics — Nicks’ renditions of “Gold Dust Woman” and “Dreams” sounded as timeless as ever. But for someone with a career as monumental as hers, sheer star power can often overpower the fact that some of the songs are unfamiliar.
“It’s a brave new world when you get to be my age — you get to do whatever you want,” she told the crowd.
24 Karat Gold is Nicks’ Songs From the Vault, so the majority of her set comprised older, lesser known songs and solo tracks she wrote years ago. She was a personable performer — throughout the show she told stories about her career and the background behind many of her songs; she even brought out one of the original shawls she wore in photos for her 1981 solo debut, Bella Donna.
Nicks took breaks between songs to talk about musical peers that influenced her, specifically Tom Petty and Prince, which later led to a Prince tribute during “Edge of Seventeen” — “I’m so sad that he’s not here with us,” she said, “but he is here with us.”
Although the Pretenders were technically Nicks’ opener, they still put on an impressive show. Frontwoman Chrissie Hynde came out with a jam-packed set, featuring plenty of songs off the band’s new album, Alone, released in October, as well as some familiar favorites.
“We’re going to play a song off our new album, you probably haven’t heard it,” Hynde joked at one point.
Alone still feels like the Pretenders, containing a modern update to their New Wave roots. The catchiness of the album translated seamlessly to the stage, as the band displayed the same infectious energy they always have — especially Hynde, whose intensity hasn’t waned.
Unlike many opening acts, the Pretenders held the crowd’s attention and enthusiasm just as well as Nicks. After only being on the stage for two songs, Nicks brought Hynde back to duet on the crowd favorite “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” sung on record with help from Tom Petty.
Both Stevie Nicks and the Pretenders delivered performances that were a tribute to long, successful careers, which was exactly what the crowd wanted. After years of touring, not every rock legend retains a fire for playing live. But Hynde and Nicks left no doubt that they still have it.