Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Stevie Nicks sends off Bonnaroo 2022 weekend in timeless form

Stevie Nicks sends off Bonnaroo 2022 weekend in timeless form: 'For the women!'
Dave Paulson, 

Every year, tens of thousands of ticket holders pack and prepare for Bonnaroo with an idea of how they want to dress, act and feel at this hippie-rooted fest. And for many, that image looks a lot like Stevie Nicks.

You see her trademark style and free spirit reflected in countless attendees, regardless of age or gender. So when the 74-year-old took Bonnaroo’s biggest stage on Sunday night — as the fest’s final performer — it was beyond overdue, and not just because of her influence here.

On Sunday, Nicks became the first female headliner in Bonnaroo history. It’s not a flattering fact for a 20-year-old event, but a cause for celebration nonetheless.

“I am very honored to be the first girl to be the last person on tonight,” she said. “For the women! Yes! But of course, the girl in me says I’m also really glad that there’s a lot of cool men here tonight, too. So do not feel left out.”

From our vantage point in the field, everyone felt more than welcome here, especially as the opener “Outside The Rain” blended right into “Dreams” — a Fleetwood Mac classic, to be sure, but also a recent TikTok sensation.

Soon, she was sharing “Landslide,” and seemingly every other person — whether they were watching intently or weaving their way through the crowd — was singing along. As she sang “I’m getting older too,” a voice nearby shouted, “Never, Stevie!”

Another early treat was her collaboration with the late Tom Petty, “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around.” It’s the song that brought her to Bonnaroo for the first time, when she joined Petty to sing it in 2006.

That tune aside, Nicks and her band kept the set fairly mellow, and for awhile it seemed like she was bringing Bonnaroo down gently after four-plus hectic days and nights. But this set soon got to a roiling boil, culminating in the thunderous “Edge of Seventeen.”

“Bonnaroo, it has been a serious pleasure to be here with you tonight,” she said afterwards. “I might just drop by to tell you some more stories at some point in the future. I’ll call it ‘Stevie 101.’"

After Nicks said goodbye, the crowd chanted for one more song, and were thrilled when she returned for an encore – an inevitable one, if you checked online. Either way, cell service was non-existent in the packed field.

It began with another Petty nod, “Free Fallin’,” plus “Rhiannon” and finally a rousing cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” (for the second time that weekend, as Robert Plant himself sang it with Alison Krauss on Friday).

“What an awesome audience you’ve been,” Nicks told them. “We couldn’t ask for any more."

Matthew Baron, Jenn D Photography

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