Thursday, November 03, 2022

REVIEW Stevie Nicks Live on Halloween in Huntsville, AL

 A night at The Orion with Stevie Nicks
“Welcome, Huntsville!” Nicks said after her first couple of songs. “We all know it’s Halloween, right?”

By Anna Mahan
Photo: Josh Weichman

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (TENNESSEE VALLEY LIVING) - There are many reasons why Stevie Nicks is considered the queen of rock and roll. If you caught her show at The Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville, you know why.

It was October 31st, a sold out show on Halloween under the night sky. What could be more Stevie Nicks than that?

If the crowd wasn’t already excited enough, the lights dimmed and Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” kicked off the show as an introduction to the witchy woman’s highly anticipated arrival.

Tom Petty’s voice faded and was replaced by the familiar notes of “Outside the Rain.” Nicks walked on stage in her black boots with a long black skirt and corset top to match. She clutched the mic draped with ribbons sparkling along the side.

The audience met her with a warm, loud welcome. From “Outside the Rain” she made a smooth transition to Fleetwood Mac’s iconic “Dreams.”

The way she sings these songs and tells the stories behind them, it’s evident the music is part of who she is at her core.

“Welcome, Huntsville!” Nicks said after her first couple of songs. “We all know it’s Halloween, right?”

The crowd, decked out in shawls, top hats and Halloween costumes responded with a loud cheer and wide-eyed wonder. The new amphitheater was filled with fans around Nicks’ age, to a new generation of music lovers.

Eight-thousand people in the crowd together, we all seemed to fall under a trance as the band played.

Throughout the night, Nicks took time in almost every song to turn her attention to her eight band mates on stage.. She would look at them in awe, dancing and rocking out alongside of them. Nicks, 74, spent a lot of time next to lead guitarist, Waddy Wachtel, 75, who played plenty of mean licks to go round.

Nicks shared many stories with the audience that night. One of them was about how when she isn’t quite feeling herself, she takes the mattress off her bed and covers it in old quilts and paper flowers and becomes old Stevie, the gypsy that remains. Cue the song.

That night, the crowd got a glimpse into Nicks’ gypsy, and our very own.

Because she’s Stevie Nicks, she wore four different shawls throughout the night. One of which was the original shawl she wore on the back of the 1981 album, “Bella Donna.” She joked about how she throws it around like an old blanket, yet it’s still in perfect condition. Must be some kind of Stevie magic.

As the night went on, the queen of rock and roll continued to open up. When the first chords of “Soldier’s Angels” began to play, Nicks spoke about how hurt she was for the people of Ukraine. She dedicated the song to the country as the their blue and yellow flag was shown on the screen behind her along with QR code to donate.

When she sang “Gold Dust Woman,” Nicks, the crowd and myself all went wild. She danced and whirled around the stage in a gold shawl, not letting go of the audience for one second.

“Edge of Seventeen,” is the first song of Nicks’ I ever heard thanks to Jack Black’s iconic movie, “School of Rock.” Hearing her sing it live was a dream come true along with “Landslide.”

With another nod to her late friend Tom Petty, Nicks gave a lot of energy to “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” and her beautiful rendition of “Free Fallin” as photos of the two old friends danced along the video-screen behind her.

Before any of us knew it, Nicks had been playing for a little over an hour and a half and the night was beginning to wind down.

The lights went dark as Nicks told everyone not to leave just yet, but to wait for a special Halloween gift she had for us. A minute went by and the band walked back on stage all in witch hats.

We all heard the opening notes to “Rhiannon,” before Nicks floated back on stage in a purple cape and a witch hat to match. The whole amphitheater, Nicks, her band and everyone in the audience was dancing along in a dreamy trance.

The band played for a while before they began to say their goodbyes. Nicks twirled around stage with her cape following every move she made. The band came together and bid us all adieu with a couple of bows.

“Well, that’s the best Halloween I can ever remember having,” Nicks said as the audience cheered in agreement.

The lights came back on and we all realized what we just experienced. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. And if you ever get the chance to see her, do it.

Stevie Nicks closed out The Orion’s first season and I can’t imagine anyone better for the job.

Until we can see her again, we pick up the pieces and go home. Rock on, gold dust woman.

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