Tuesday, October 25, 2016

REVIEWS Stevie Nicks Opening Night 24 Karat Gold Tour - Phoenix

Review: Stevie Nicks launches 24K Gold Tour in 'my hometown' of Phoenix with Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde

Ed Masley
The Republic

Photos Gallery (20 Photos)

As she stood on stage at Talking Stick Resort Arena, addressing the crowd on the opening night of the 24 Karat Gold Tour, Stevie Nicks recalled an off-the-cuff remark she made at some kind of special event leading up to the concert.

“The great thing,” she said, with a laugh, “is that I get to sing all the songs. And then I thought about it and I went, ‘And the not great thing is that I get to sing all of the songs.’ It’s crazy. After singing only one-third of three-thirds for three years."

Then, on Tuesday, Oct. 25, her first solo outing since Fleetwood Mac finished the On with the Show tour last November, she reassured the fans with, "I just want you to know that I’m up here and I’m strong but I’m a little freaked out. Just a little. But I’m in my hometown, Phoenix, where I wrote a lot of my songs.”

There’s a special rapport she's developed through the years with fans here. So it came as no surprise that she would choose to launch her tour here, testing the waters with a “very different show” in an arena packed with fans who made her feel as much at home as one can feel in an arena packed with fans.

4 songs debuted live
As she said at the end of the night, “You’ve let me know that this is gonna work and that I’m gonna be OK. And I appreciate that. So take care of yourself. Stay strong. Don’t watch the news. It’s depressing.”

See? She’s funny, too. Not just sincere and gracious.

What makes this such “a very different show” is that she’s playing songs she’s never played before and others that she hasn’t touched in ages, setting the tone for the 20-song performance with the old-school Memphis soul vibe of a track she hadn’t played in 16 years, “Gold and Braid.”

“Bella Donna” was back in the set list for the first time since the very early ‘80s, and four songs made their live debut – “Belle Fleur,” “Wild Heart,” “If You Were My Love” and the Buckingham Nicks song, “Crying in the Night.”

Nicks marveled at how long it’s been since that first album she recorded with then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham.

“Forty-three years,” she said, before recalling, “This was gonna be the single off the Buckingham Nicks record. It was so long ago, I don’t actually remember if it ever was the single or made it out. I know I remember sitting in the basement and working this song out.”

She talked a lot, at one point joking, “Someday, I may do a show where I don’t even sing. I’m just gonna talk.” And that was only after realizing how much she had been talking and telling the crowd, "You know, it’s like I’m not really supposed to talk this much.”

That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. Keep the show moving. Or as people have been known to shout, “More rock, less talk.”

'You have been like great friends'
In practice? All that talking only serves to draw you deeper into Nicks’ world, creating a level of intimacy that’s hard to come by in a room that size. As Nicks said at one point, “I’m glad I was able to share this first night of trying to get this all in my head with you. You have been like great friends sitting in my living room listening to my new demos."

And those demos sounded great. Nicks’ voice was in beautiful shape throughout, and the musicians she’s assembled for this tour (including Tempe’s Al Ortiz on bass and Nicks’ longtime musical director Waddy Wachtel on guitar) did a brilliant job of fleshing out the songs, from the bass-driven groove of the opening numbers, “Gold and Braid” and “If Anyone Falls,” to the three Fleetwood Mac songs they played, “Gold Dust Woman,” “Rhiannon” and “Dreams.”

And as those Fleetwood selections would suggest, it wasn’t all about the road less traveled. In addition to those relative obscurities, they dusted off a handful of her biggest hits, including “Edge of Seventeen,” “Stand Back” and a beautiful, bittersweet “Leather and Lace,” her Don Henley duet, which featured gorgeous harmonies from Nicks’ female backup singers and brought the encore to a finish after one last story.

“I didn’t write it with Don Henley,” Nicks recalled, “but I was going out with Don Henley so I would play it for him and he would say, ‘That sucks.’ And I would say, ‘OK (because you’re, like, an Eagle)’ and then I’d go back and I’d work on it. And this went on for, like, a couple months. And one day, he said, ‘It’s good.’ And I went ‘OK, so we’re done?’ And he said, ‘We’re done.’”

She also dusted off her other big ‘80s duet, the Tom Petty collaboration “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders standing in for Petty. It was great to see those two iconic artists share a stage, especially considering a quote I read from Nicks before the show: “When my manager said, ‘What about The Pretenders?’ I’m like, ‘Would they even go with me?’ And he said, ‘I think they would!'”

The great Pretenders (so special)
Of course they would. And Hynde was clearly thrilled to be there, joking “Yeah, we did our nails together” during the Pretenders set, which started off strong with two raucous selections from their excellent new album, “Alone” and “Gotta Wait.”

Hynde was rocking an Elvis Presley T-shirt and a pair of faded jeans (in stark contract to Nicks, with her dresses and shawls). The only other surviving member featured on that classic first Pretenders album, drummer Martin Chambers, was laying down the beat behind her.

This year's lineup also features a pedal steel player, who was put to brilliant use on a gorgeous, understated “Hymn to Her,” after which Hynde told the audience, “That one was for Stevie.”

The set was a good mix of crowd-pleasing staples and newer material, including “Down the Wrong Way” from her recent solo album, and “Holy Commotion,” the first single out of the box from the Pretenders’ new album, “Alone,” which somehow sounded even more contagious live.

And she wasn’t shy about returning to that first self-titled masterpiece. After blowing the dust off “Private Life” as the fourth song of the set, Hynde and her bandmates made their way through a handful of ballads and mid-tempo pop songs – “Hymn to Her” followed by “Back on the Chain Gang,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong” (on which she struck a playful model pose to complement the lyric “If I come and go like fashion”) and “I’ll Stand By You.”

Then, Hynde announced “We didn’t really come here to do ballads" to introduce a four-song joyride through some highlights of that first release – a commanding “Tattooed Love Boys,” “Mystery Achievement,” the Kinks’ “Stop Your Sobbing,” and the song that may be destined to remain her calling card, “Brass in Pocket.”

The singer was clearly enjoying the moment on that one, investing the lyrics with the self-assurance they demand: ”'Cause I gonna make you see / There's nobody else here / No one like me / I'm special, so special / I gotta have some of your attention / Give it to me.” But she also made it more inclusive by sharing the moment with the fans down front, holding the mike out for a fan to sing “I’m special.”

It was special. And it should have been hard to maintain that moment, but “Holy Commotion” was up to the challenge, and they followed through with “Middle of the Road,” which included a killer harmonica solo from Hynde, and the psychedelic funk of their cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Room Full Of Mirror” from the “Get Close” album.

It was a spirited representation of what Hynde and her latest collection of Pretenders have to offer. And it was refreshing to see her connecting so strongly with so many people in such a big venue while reminding all the casual fans who may have drifted off after “Learning to Crawl” that she’s still special.

Stevie Nicks setlist

Gold and Braid
If Anyone Falls
Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
Belle Fleur
Outside the Rain
Wild Heart
Bella Donna
Annabel Lee
New Orleans
Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream)
Stand Back
Crying in the Night
If You Were My Love
Gold Dust Woman
Edge of Seventeen

Leather and Lace

Pretenders setlist

Gotta Wait
Down the Wrong Way
Private Life
Hymn to Her
Back on the Chain Gang
Don't get me Wrong
I'll Stand By You
Tattooed Love Boys
Mystery Achievement
Stop Your Sobbing
Brass in Pocket
Holy Commotion
Middle of the Road
Room Full of Mirrors

Stevie Nicks Honors Her Deep Cuts on 24 Karat Gold Tour
by Mitchell Hillman
Phoenix New Times

Photo Gallery (40 Photos)

Let's face it, there's something downright magical to Stevie Nicks.

When I think of Nicks, three things come to mind: Fleetwood Mac, the sexiest voice on the planet, and magic, probably in that order. Even the way I had the opportunity to see Stevie Nicks and the Pretenders on Tuesday night at a nearly sold-out Talking Stick Resort Arena was magical — a last-minute assignment to review the show.

I was all in for the Pretenders alone. Granted, Chrissie Hynde is the only original, consistent Pretender here after many generations of different lineups, the newest being completely different from any previous incarnations. While original drummer Martin Chambers put in an impressive performance, he no longer records with with them. She even joked that they've been together for 35 years and "You only get twenty for murder." It's her show though, and it has been for some time. I was particularly excited because the Pretenders just dropped their first new album in eight years, Alone, last week. The set opened with the title track, which sounds like an ode to Iggy Pop with a hypnotic Stooges keyboard line. It was followed by the forthcoming single "Gotta Wait" and then by "Down The Wrong Way," from her 2014 solo outing, Stockholm. The first album deep cut, "Private Life," was something of a surprise, and the crowd loved every second of it.

Hynde slowed things down for a bit with "Hymn to Her," a beautifully haunting ballad, from the Pretenders' 1986 album Get Close, that she dedicated to Stevie. It was a dreamy number immediately blown away by back-to-back-to-back hits "Back On The Chain Gang," "Don't Get Me Wrong," and "I'll Stand By You," all far exceeding expectations in both quality and integrity. The set contained further hits like "Brass In Pocket," deeper cuts like "Middle of the Road" and "Mystery Achievement," new single "Holy Commotion," as well as their take on the Kinks' "Stop Your Sobbing," which was the Pretenders' first single. The band finished the evening with a cover of the Jimi Hendrix obscurity "Room Full of Mirrors." It appears that Chrissie Hynde can rock with the best of them. Oh, and since it was the main talking point everywhere by everyone after that electrifying set, Chrissie Hynde is doing incredibly fine at 65.

It was soon time for the Enchantress herself, Stevie the Good Witch. The crowd was visibly excited; this was their generation's bewitching chanteuse. The one thing the crowd wasn't going to get was a lot of Stevie talking this time around, and she commented more than a few times that she was trying to keep her banter to a minimum. Still, though her vignettes surrounding each song were rather brief, they only served to enhance and evening that dug as deep into her recording history as possible. She made it very clear that this tour was going to be different, that this was going to be about songs not often played, that fans have pleaded to hear live for years, with some hits thrown in for good measure.

To be honest, it's one of the finer concert concepts going these days. I'd pay good money to see Neil Diamond do some weird stuff from his early days, or Neil Young for that matter — the idea being to appeal to the diehard fans with the deep cuts and obscurities. I'm not sure that anyone who is a fan of Nicks' entire career, with the Mac and solo, could have asked for a better evening or a better selection of songs. Opening with a cult favorite like "Gold and Braid" blew my mind nearly as much as the stage setting, which brought to mind a variety-show set from the 1970s. It would progress just as the set would. The crowd was on its feet for a song that's never been properly recorded in a studio. The second song was 1983's "If Anyone Falls," a minor single from her second solo album. I hadn't wanted to concentrate at all on the setlist for this concert, but it became apparent the set list was the experience.

"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" didn't feature Tom Petty this time around, but Chrissie Hynde returned to the stage for a magnificent duet and one of the highlights of the evening. I'd say it gave me goosebumps, but I had those for nearly the entire set. The obscurity "Belle Fleur" followed, a demo from her first album that she reworked on her most recent album 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault. "Outside the Rain" was showing favor to Nicks' first solo album, Bella Donna, and rightfully so; it was an amazing debut outing.

Another detail should be mentioned at only five songs in: Stevie had gone through at least three capes or cloaks. This would continue throughout the evening. The crowd would go especially wild when she would dance and spin, edges of her cloak in hand.

The set was designed with pacing in mind, and dropping the first Fleetwood Mac song in the sixth slot was a good call, but so was the seamless transition from "Outside The Rain" to "Dreams." The crowd was on its feet. Some were handling it better than others, some were clearly getting drunk, some were approached by security. Still, you could taste the eruption of joy that washed over the audience. That said, for the most part, this crowd was every bit as excited about the Stevie hits and obscurities, like the title track from 1983's Wild Heart making its live debut and Bella Donna's title track being played for the first time since the early '80s. She wove her magic and dabbled in the mysticism of her own back catalog, pulling "Annabel Lee," "New Orleans," and "Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)" from her 2011 album In Your Dreams, while mixing them with early tracks like "Enchanted" or revamped demos like "Starshine" and "If You Were My Love." Meanwhile, the Stevie Nicks live staple "Stand Back," which was inspired by Prince's "Little Red Corvette," was made all the more meaningful with images of Prince in the impressive light projections.

Going as deep into her catalog as there is, she pulled "Crying In The Night" from 1973's tragically out-of-print album Buckingham Nicks. It's a song that's never been played live before, but apparently Waddy Wachtel, Nicks' musical director and longtime guitarist, had his heart set on taking this one out on the road. Nicks unleashed another Fleetwood Mac number with "Gold Dust Woman," and the crowd returned to their feet, if any had sat down. It was a fantastic number and a total nostalgia trip. Wachtel nailed the guitar part in no uncertain terms. The set ended with "Edge of Seventeen" from her first solo album and further projected tributes to Prince, before she bid us her first adieu.

For the encore, I expected a Mac attack, and when the opening chords of "Rhiannon" began, I was assured. I half-expected "Landslide" to follow, but something much better happened. She told the story of how she wrote the song "Leather and Lace" for Waylon Jennings and Jesse Colter, but when she found out they were divorcing she pulled it back. That's why their album Leather and Lace did not feature the song of the same name, which in my house was quite a mystery until we had both of the albums and probably heard something about it on the radio. It was an amazing song on Bella Donna, but live, more than 35 years later, it's even better and more moving, and Ms. Nicks finally moved this man to tears with a sentimental surprise ending to a truly spectacular evening.

Photo 94.5KoolFM

Thanks to Jade Barefield for the live Periscope

Watch here 
  1. Belle Fleur
  2. Outside The Rain/Dreams
  3. Wild Heart/Bella Donna 
  4. Annabel Lee
and here 
  1. New Orleans
  2. Starshine
  3. Moonlight
  4. Stand Back
  5. Cryin In The Night 
  6. If You Were My Love
  7. Band Intros
  8. Gold Dust Woman




  1. The best set list I could've ever dream of!

  2. The short version of Edge of 17 and no Edge Walk?

  3. Yes...but, the "24 KARAT GOLD TOUR" doesn't include the song "24 Karat Gold" in the set list? That doesn't make sense...but then this tour doesn't make much sense, either.

    Also, which set list is it? I see 2 different ones...

  4. Thanks SO MUCH for posting these and a VERY SPECIAL THANKS to Jade....awesome!!!!!!

  5. Stevie doesn’t always sing the song that is the title of her tours. She didn’t sing Wild Heart or Rock a Little when you look up the set list of those tours.

  6. 24Karat Gold should be played. It's a great song. Maybe if she mixes up the set as promised she will. I've noticed the songs improve each nite as she relaxes into a new groove. Whether this tour makes sense or not to some. I for one - say it's long long overdue. Couldnt bare another set of standards. There are some songs that need a break. The ones she still does over and over like Edge if 17 at least have been shortened and actually pumped up a bit. Even she was tired of that ridiculous edge walk. M