Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stevie Nicks Show Pleasant, Padded

By THOMAS KINTNER Special To The Courant
April 22, 2008

Stevie Nicks has seen more than her share of ups and downs over the last two decades, but the music she made with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo act has seen its popularity endure and given her any number of second chances. The 59-year-old singer's show Sunday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville played on that still-considerable nostalgia.

Settling comfortably into the raspy bark at the high end of her voice, Nicks belted her way through the opening "Stand Back," its thick synthesizer pulse rising from her 10-piece band's driving backdrop. True to the singer's long-established image, her multiple costume changes were largely exercises in donning new shawls and lace wraps, and though she kept her shows of agility to the barest of minimums, when she did extend her arms and spin in slow motion, the notably enthusiastic audience roared as though she were turning handsprings.

Her singing came largely in two packages, either the nasal bleating with which she batted at the chorus of "If Anyone Falls," or the more conversational manner with which she delivered verses like those of "Rhiannon." There was frequently an unbecoming monotony to her delivery, an evenness that played on her familiar sound in tunes such as "Gold Dust Woman," but never quite captured any mood.

During her cover of Dave Matthews' "Crash," she sang comfortably alongside the acoustic guitar rhythm laid down by Carlos Rios. Also pleasantly nuanced was Nicks' navigation of "Landslide," its wistful character enriched by her gentle vocal quaver.

Nicks was almost bubbly as she chatted between tunes, and took her time telling stories before the likes of the expansive "Sorcerer." Between her reminiscing and curiously long trips through the likes of "How Still My Love," there was room for only 13 songs in a set that ran just short of two hours.

Nicks muscled her way through most of the show's highlights, such as the buoyant sway of "Dreams," but her show-closing trip through "Edge of Seventeen" was bloated from its too-long guitar and percussion introduction to its expansive finish. She was the least dynamic element onstage during an undistinguished encore take on Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll." She closed the show with the piano ballad "Beauty and the Beast," its lyrics prodded and stretched as she took her time getting through one last number.

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