Monday, October 31, 2016

Review Stevie Nicks Live in Dallas October 30, 2016

Stevie Nicks, Pretenders go deep in AAC show
By Robert Philpot + Photo Gallery (15 Photos)

DALLAS Stevie Nicks announced early during her concert Sunday at the American Airlines Center that she would be shaking things up a bit, not playing the kind of set list her fans had been used to hearing for decades. Then she and her band quickly played her 1983 hit If Anyone Falls, a reassuring sign that although she’d be playing some unfamiliar material, the show wouldn’t be all obscurities.

And it wasn’t But it was weighted heavily toward deep cuts and non-hits, including a song that dated back to 1973 and her Buckingham-Nicks days, and others that for one reason or another never made it on to an album — at least till the 2014 release of 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault found a home for songs such as Starshine (which Nicks said she wrote while hanging out with Tom Petty) and Belle Fleur.

This is a risky strategy for a classic-rock artist, even if there’s advance publicity about it. On a “school night,” fans often want to hear the hits, but Nicks’ fan base is so passionate that the less-familiar songs were well-received, and in some cases — the title cut from The Wild Heart segueing into the title cut from Bella Donna — stirred a rapturous reaction.

But about a third of the show was hits, from Nicks’ solo career and from Fleetwood Mac, with some excellent twists and turns — bringing out Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders, who opened the show, to do the Tom Petty parts on Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around; extending Gold Dust Woman with Nicks going into a possessed-looking dance (while the big-screen image of her appeared to be turning into melting gold) that ended with her hair covering her face; singing Leather & Lace with background singers Sharon Celani and Marilyn Martin doing the Don Henley parts; the expected but still climactic intensity of Rhiannon, a song Nicks somehow manages it invest her entire self (and possibly more) in every time she performs it.

There was warmth and humor in Nicks’ show, during which she told the stories behind several songs (including how she wrote Leather & Lace for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, then asked for it back when they split up, and how Prince’s Little Red Corvette helped inspire her hit Stand Back, which he played on). For all the intensity of her singing, the chattier portions of her show were laid-back and personal, including the long introduction of her band (longtime guitarist/musical director Waddy Wachtel, rhythm guitarist Carlos Rios, pianist Darrell Smith — who performed a lovely intro to Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream) — organist Ricky Peterson, bassist Al Ortiz, drummer Scott Crago and the background singers), all of whom she treated like old friends.

Speaking of old friends, the Pretenders blasted through a tight first act, with Hynde in a great mood, greater voice and appealing loose form. She came onstage wearing a cowboy hat and, a few songs in, doffed her jacket to reveal a sleeveless “Everything is Bigger in Texas” T-shirt. The band leaned hard on some of its earliest stuff — Mystery Achievement, Talk of the Town, Message of Love, the Kinks cover Stop Your Sobbing — but not at the expense of later songs like Back on the Chain Gang, Don’t Get Me Wrong and I’ll Stand By You.

And the band was on fire — starting off great and really getting locked in about midset, especially showy guitarist James Walbourne and Martin Chambers, the band’s longtime, sledgehammer-force drummer, with bassist Nick Wilkinson and pedal-steel player Eric Heywood making more subtle contributions.

Back in 1984, Hynde wrote the lines, “I’m not the kind I used to be/I got a kid, I’m 33, baby.” That was more than 30 years ago, but she seemed like she was 33 again Sunday night. She also wrote Time the Avenger, which she didn’t perform Sunday night, but she sure let us know that she’s not read for time to get her just yet.

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