Thursday, March 07, 2024

Stevie Nicks Live in New Orleans Feb 28 'A collection of songs and stories'

Still Stevie: Stevie Nicks infuses youth, memory into New Orleans
by Sophia Finkbeiner

On Wednesday, Feb. 28 at the Smoothie King Center, Stevie Nicks proved that 75 years of age has nothing on her. Dressed from head-to-toe in black, Nicks serenely floated onto the stage in a witchy, flowy skirt and blouse and announced: “Let’s get this funky, fabulous party started.”

 Though she admitted several times during the show that “we’re old,” referring to her and her bandmates, her age never showed. She presented no sign of fatigue, allowing the music to overcome and move her throughout the show, at times air drumming, head banging and twirling. Her voice defied time; her songs sounded just as ethereal and rich as when they were first released.

The concert could better be described as a collection of songs and stories. Between each song, Nicks spent several minutes telling stories from the impromptu creation of the song “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” with Tom Petty to learning what taxes were when she finally started making enough money to have to pay them. One of her fondest memories is the way she would ground herself when her fame began to reach the level of international superstar: by dragging her mattress to the ground, draping it with pillows and antique throws, sitting in the middle and reminding herself “I am still Stevie.”

The nearly two-hour show spanned only 18 songs because of her storytelling, which seemed to take up just as much time as actual performance. Though her lengthy stories between each song did not allow for much momentum to build up, they provided something even more valuable: a glimpse of her personality, her reflection on her life and career and an insight into her worldviews. Nicks even spoke about her concern for the war in Ukraine, strongly encouraging American support towards the effort. She dedicated her performance of “Soldier’s Angel” to the soldiers and citizens of Ukraine, ending the tribute with a Ukrainian flag beaming fiercely on the screens surrounding her. She also revived a less well-known song, “New Orleans,” for the audience of “one of her favorite cities.”

Nicks sang her songs from her career as a solo artist and a member of Fleetwood Mac, as well as covers of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” and Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” a song that is known as a symbol of the political turmoil of the 1960s.

Nicks told the story of how even during her time in Fleetwood Mac, she envisioned her own band with two female singers besides herself. “And here they are,” Nicks announced, gesturing to the female singers to her left. Though she did not mention them by name, they are Sharon Celani, Nicks’ longtime friend, and Lori Nicks, her sister-in-law. Both women are her long-term backup singers and have been with her most of her career. 

To conclude the night, Nicks had an encore lasting three songs: “Free Fallin,’” followed by Fleetwood Mac songs “Rhiannon” and “Landslide.” The band’s performance of “Landslide” was a perfect way to end the show. It gracefully acknowledged the passing of time; it was Nicks admitting that she is not the same woman she was at her peak in the 70s and an acceptance that she doesn’t need to be. 

As the mellow guitar of her bandmates accompanied her, Nicks soulfully encapsulated her career and concert, singing: 

“But time makes you bolder, even children get older and I’m getting older too.”

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