Sunday, June 15, 2008

Stevie Nicks - St. Louis (Review)

Stevie Nicks
By Daniel Durchholz

Midway through her concert at Chaifetz Arena Friday night, Stevie Nicks showed a side of her persona rarely seen during her decades onstage as a member of Fleetwood Mac and as a solo star: that of barroom rocker.

Nicks cut loose with a rip-roaring version of Bob Seger’s “Face the Promise,” a song she identified as a “highway driving song.”

Such a tune wouldn’t be that much of a stretch for most singers. But consider that only moments before, Nicks, clad in a lacy shawl, was twirling with abandon in front of a giant video screen depicting gamboling unicorns.

That was Nicks’ two-hour, 15-song set in a nutshell: It dealt with things both earthy and ethereal, from love and loss to the singer’s dreams and “crystal visions.”

Nicks is the third Fleetwood Mac principal to visit here in recent times. Lindsey Buckingham packed the Pageant last year, and Mick Fleetwood brought his blues band to the Sheldon a few months back. But Nicks remains the Mac’s biggest solo star and she got to play the biggest room, even though the place was far from full.

That didn’t stop her from performing a crowd pleasing greatest hits revue that included the Mac hits “Rhiannon,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Dreams” and “Landslide,” plus solo smashes “Stand Back,” “If Anyone Falls in Love” and “Edge of Seventeen,” among others.

She paused after “Dreams,” which contains lines about rain and thunder, and wondered aloud how she could perform that song in Iowa, given the recent floods there. “I’m serious,” she said. “Pray for ‘no rain.’”

Meanwhile, “Landslide” contained a nice twist, with harmonies added by two of her backup singers transforming Nicks’ version of the song into the Dixie Chicks’ countrified cover.

An even better moment was equally unlooked for: Nicks did a lovely take of Dave Matthews’ “Crash into Me,” gesturing expressively as she lost herself in the libidinous lyrics.

The singer brought the show home on a heart-tugging note, performing “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You” in front of video images of American soldiers. As the band took a final bow, Nicks asked that her audience look to music for peace and solace in a time of war.

Pianist/vocalist Peter Cincotti opened the show with a brief set that tried mightily to turn his naturally jazzy and pop-oriented material into arena rock. But even his successes, like “Goodbye Philadelphia” and “Make It Out Alive” were pyrrhic victories at best, as they trod the same path worn deep decades ago by Billy Joel.

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