Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Reviews Stevie Nicks Live in Vancouver December 9, 2016

Most reviews so far on this tour have been favorable... Some reviewers get it... some reviewers don't, and that's totally fine, it's basically their personal opinion.

The unbreakable Stevie Nicks casts a spell on Vancouver (PHOTOS)
by Rob Feller

Photo: Rob Feller - Click Through To View More

Roughly 5,000 classic rock fans braved a snowstorm to catch a “landslide” on Friday night, as the incomparable Stevie Nicks brought her 24 Karat Gold Tour to Rogers Arena.

The singer, whose raspy voice and crazy vibrato dominated radio during the second half of the Seventies, recently released 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault, a stunning compilation of shelved demos that spans her five decade-long career. And even though she has a tremendous catalogue of songs to choose from, Nicks kept her canvas relatively small on Friday, mostly concentrating on her work as a solo artist.

After opening with a lovely take on 1981’s “Gold & Braid”, she warned us that the evening would be unlike any other Stevie Nicks concert we’d previously witnessed. After finishing two back-to-back Fleetwood Mac tours, “I really needed to do something else,” she explained. “I needed to break out.”

So armed with what she called her “dark, mystical, gothic trunk full of songs”, Nicks proceeded to take Vancouver on what she called “a journey…through the snow.” Fans expecting a Fleetwood Mac retrospective were forced to make do with just a handful of Mac tracks (“Gypsy” and “Rhiannon” both made the cut), but the gold dust diva’s repertoire is so huge that it was easy to forgive a setlist omission here and there.

Nicks’ performance was punctuated with lots and lots (and lots) of stories from her storied career. Some of them were fascinating, like how she wrote “Stand Back” as a companion piece to Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” and somehow convinced the Purple One to play most of the instruments on the song. But a lot of Nicks’ schtick fell flat, and one excruciatingly long monologue that involved a pregnancy, a dirt road, and an upright piano sent many fans to the bar for a break.

When it came to the music however, the singer captivated the crowd with her haunting vocals and heartbreaking lyrics. Highlights included “Edge of Seventeen” and encore “Landslide”, and although she doesn’t try to hit high notes of the original composition anymore, her smoky, husky tone nicely complemented the song’s world-weary lyrics.

Rock & Roll Hall of Famers The Pretenders opened the show and managed to run through 15 classic hits and album cuts in just under an hour. Fiery frontwoman Chrissie Hynde dedicated her set, which included a kickass version of “Brass In Pocket”, to her friend Nicks and said that performing with her “is like being on tour with Elizabeth Taylor, except she can sing.”

And like her touring buddy, Hynde was also a fan of the Vancity Blizzard of 2017. “My guitar has some cracks in it from the cold weather,” she said. “But I’m glad that it has some scars from Vancouver!” Hynde later surprised fans by joining Nicks onstage for a duet of “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” which probably sounded cool on the tour bus but was a hot mess when we saw it.

They missed notes, botched lyrics, and broke out into a full-on private conversation mid-song while their backup singers carried on without them. But the Vancouver crowd was so hot and bothered by the sight of two rock goddesses sharing one mic that they turned a blind eye (and a deaf ear) to the shaky performance.

Review: Pretenders Get Real while Stevie Nicks Drags in Vancouver
by Robert Collins

On paper, last night’s double-header of Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde’s Pretenders at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena seemed like a match made in Queens of Rock heaven. The reality, as is often the case, proved different.

The party pooper, it turned out, was Stevie Nicks. Promising a new type of set, featuring not just hits but personal favourites she’d unearthed and rerecorded for her most recent “24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault” album, the issue wasn’t the choice of songs, but the way she went about her performance.

It all started so promising. Nicks was accompanied by Chrissie Hynde singing the Tom Petty parts for “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” the Pretenders’ frontwoman unable to get all her words out after descending into giggles almost immediately. Hynde’s laughter was a rare moment of spontaneity. Instead Nicks chose to punctuate every song with a lengthy, egotistical and over-rehearsed anecdote about its creation. The music, when it eventually arrived, was well sung and polished; “Gypsy,” “Stand Back” and the timeless “Gold Dust Woman” all standing out. But by insisting on eating up endless minutes by trawling out irrelevant tales from her charmed life, what could have been a party often felt more like a series of history lectures.

“I’m not wasting your time, am I?” she asked audaciously midway through introducing her band, a process conducted in a musical vacuum sucking up time that should have been spent playing at least two songs. The Vancouver crowd, polite to a fault, mumbled “No,” but they were thinking otherwise.

It’s not that Stevie Nicks didn’t have an example of how it should be done. Two hours earlier Chrissie Hynde (still looking like she’d been poured into her jeans at 66) had stepped on stage, strapped on her Telecaster and ripped into a set effortlessly mixing high-octane recent tracks like “Alone” with new wave classics like “Message of Love,” “Private Life” and “Middle of the Road.”

There’s no substitute for authentic cool; a quality Hynde revealed in everything from how she wore her guitar to her ad-libs on sharing a stage with Stevie Nicks: “It’s like being on tour with Elizabeth Taylor.”

The songs were the stars. The chiming powerpop of “Back on the Chain Gang” (seriously, what a great song) was followed by ballsy ballad “I’ll Stand By You” and the dreamy Kinks cover “Stop Your Sobbing.” The delivery was relentless.  Resistance was futile.

“Have we got time from one more?” asked Hynde at the show’s end.

She didn’t wait for a reply, launching immediately into “Brass in Pocket,” a perfect finale to a great rock and roll set. No stories. No narcissism. All killer, no filler.

Stevie Nicks to play Hyde Park in London with Tom Petty

Tom & The Heartbreakers are pleased to announce their performance at the iconic Hyde Park venue in London, on July 9, 2017. Stevie Nicks and The Lumineers will also appear, with more to be announced. This will be the band’s only European appearance in 2017.

Highway Companions Club members are eligible for a pre-sale which is currently underway, and should check their email for pre-sale information. Public on-sales begin December 16th.

For tickets and more info, click here

(Now wouldn't it make sense for Stevie to schedule some solo shows in the UK? I think so!)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Review Stevie Nicks Live in St. Paul, MN December 6, 2016

Stevie Nicks and the Pretenders, at Xcel Energy Center, share the love and celebrate Prince
by Jay Gabler
The Current  - View More Photos

Photographer Bridget Bennett

If you could buy stock in musical reputations, Stevie Nicks’s would have been a bargain investment 20, 10, even five years ago. The behemoth popularity of Fleetwood Mac blinded a lot of critics who were too cool for school in the ’70s to the fact that the band’s accessible and sonically pristine creations were underpinned by timeless songcraft, while Nicks’s solo hits like “Edge of Seventeen” and “Stand Back” were regarded as video fodder for the MTV era.

Time passed, though, and new generations of listeners continued gravitating towards the music. The Mac attack continued, of course, and critics ranging from tastemaker Jessica Hopper to our own listeners have no problem placing Rumours among the all-time greats.

Meanwhile, Nicks’s solo catalog continued to exert a fascination; not just for those fresh-sounding singles, but for deep tracks like “Think About It.” Writer Emily Gould, who’s gone from a pioneering confessional blogger to an indie-publishing influential, took the title of her 2010 memoir from a lyric in that song: “And the heart says ‘Danger!’/ And the heart says, ‘Whatever.'” Nicks is even sampled on the new Bon Iver album, with permission but, at her request, uncredited: a backstage clip of Nicks singing “Wild Heart” appears in “10 d E A T h b R E a s T 

Last night at the Xcel Energy Center, the generously sized audience included a few of the predictably clueless Fleetwood Mac fans (“Play ‘Little Lies’!” yelled the woman behind me, seeming not to realize that’s a Christine McVie song) but many more adoring acolytes who hung on every word of what Nicks has described as a “storytelling tour.”

The tour comes on the heels of a 2014 album called 24 Karat Gold — consisting of rerecorded versions of rarities and demos spanning Nicks’s career — and expanded reissues of her first two solo albums, Bella Donna (1981) and The Wild Heart (1983). From the stage last night, Nicks repeatedly addressed the challenge she’d faced in building a viable solo career while remaining an active member of Fleetwood Mac.

In particular, she described compromising by agreeing to include on Bella Donna one song she didn’t write: “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers. Recorded as a duet with Petty, the song became the solo hit Nicks needed, and she was off to the races.

Last night, the crowd roared with approval as a new duet partner sauntered on stage for that number: Chrissie Hynde, whose Pretenders opened the show. The admiration and affection between the two women was clearly mutual as they shared Nicks’s original lead vocal, with guitarist Waddy Wachtel chiming in with Petty’s answering lines about “being your own girl.” Yes, thank you very much, they would.

Nicks isn’t one of the first names typically associated with Prince, but in fact he was an important inspiration who played a key role in her solo career — literally played, as in wrote and performed the indelible keyboard hook for Wild Heart smash “Stand Back.” Nicks played that song after dedicating the preceding number, “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream),” to “my friend.”

She then recounted how she was inspired to write “Stand Back” after hearing “Little Red Corvette” on the radio during her honeymoon with Kim Anderson; they divorced the following year, but Nicks said Anderson was present at the arena last night. “Whenever I sing ‘Stand Back,'” said Nicks, “Prince is standing next to me.”

(Prince wasn’t the only local hero who got a shout-out: Nicks’s band includes Minneapolis organist Ricky Peterson, and the Pretenders are touring with longtime St. Paul resident Eric Heywood on pedal steel. Both Nicks and Hynde made a point of welcoming their sidemen home.)

As Nicks dug through what she described as her “dark gothic trunk of magical mystery songs,” she had plenty more stories to tell. She brought out “the original Bella Donna cape” (as seen on the sleeve of the “After the Glitter Fades” single) for the album’s title song, and she talked about recording “Starshine” in Tom Petty’s basement. She complained about her Fitbit (“Do we really need to know how many steps we take?”), and she shared plenty of motivational words. “Just reach up there and grab that Bella Donna star!”

Still in strong voice at age 68, Nicks said repeatedly that “dreams really do come true” as she reminisced about her youth in Phoenix, writing the songs that became beloved classics like “Landslide” — a song she called “the story of my life.” Behind her, video screens nested in a proscenium arrangement showed appropriately dreamy graphics: woodland scenes, roiling water, vintage shots of Nicks — including, before the encore, the image of a 1983 flyer from when she played the St. Paul Civic Center, where the Xcel Energy Center now stands.

Hynde, who said during her set that Nicks is “even better than you think she’d be,” summoned some of that earth-mother energy for ballads like “Hymn to Her” and “I’ll Stand By You,” but left seasonal favorite “2000 Miles” on the table in favor of strutting favorites from the band’s early releases. She also played a few songs from Alone, the Pretenders’ new album produced by Dan Auerbach.

The easygoing set — Hynde can summon snarling rage in other contexts, but it’s hard to be too angry when you’re in the presence of Stevie Nicks — offered a glimpse at what it might have looked like if Hynde ever achieved the arena-level fame her talent deserves. The joint bill is a fascinating and gratifying pairing: the uniting of two women from the same generation who forged very different paths to iconic status. Kinks fan Hynde went to London and became a fiercely independent rock pioneer, while Nicks found her way to sunny California and hooked up with a band who’d crossed the Atlantic in the other direction.

On this tour, the two stand together basking in their well-earned admiration. Intent on inspiring others, Nicks sent us off with a blessing. “Play music! Sing! Be loved! Love you!”

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Review Stevie Nicks Live in Vancouver December 9, 2016

Photos: Rogers Arena Facebook
Stevie Nicks / The Pretenders
Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC, December 9
By Laura Sciarpelletti (Photo Gallery)

Vancouver welcomed two of music's most celebrated and iconic rock stars Friday night amidst unusual amounts of snow and the buzzing of impending witchy enchantment. Both Stevie Nicks and the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde — ages 68 and 65 respectfully — were in fine form, showing no signs of slowing down, but rather hopeful for a full future with the continued support of their fans and the freedom to explore their vast musical repertoires.

This goes doubly for Nicks, whose voice could not have been more raggedly perfect and who opened up her "dark mystical gothic trunk of songs" for her pet project the 24 Karat Gold tour. Determined not to give her beloved fans the same old tired Stevie set list they have no doubt heard countless times over the years, Nicks pulled out some demo gems.

Nicks' choice to put Hynde and the Pretenders in the opening hour-long slot set the tone for a female-rocker infused journey. The Pretenders were the light part of the show, not able to entirely escape that aged rock star persona associated with so many successful '80s musicians nowadays. From the Kinks cover of "Stop Your Sobbing" that brought them their first hit, to fan favourites "Middle of the Road" — wherein Hynde delightfully whipped out the harmonica — and "Brass in Pocket," the group certainly gave fans what they were looking for, but nothing further.

Alternatively, Nicks has built up a persona so impenetrable and mysterious that the term "aged rock star" could never apply to her. Thrilled at the notion of Vancouverites not experiencing snow often (her limo driver told her), Nicks promised the packed Rogers Arena a "journey through the snow." Donning a black flowing dress and playing with glittering scarves, Nicks gave continuous background narrative to the early days of her solo career.

While giant light bulbs bobbed up and down from the ceiling and images of moons and dancers were projected onto the screen behind her, the warm and funny Fleetwood Mac alumnus reflected fondly on her relationships with the likes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and her late friend Prince. The former gave her her first single "Stop Dragging My Heart Around," which Hydne joined in for.

From there Nicks took the crowd on a witchy tour; between "Bella Donna" and the more recent "New Orleans," Nicks pulled everyone into her world of femme fatale notions and rock'n'roll nostalgia. Gleefully showing the crowd that she still had the original Bella Donna silk chiffon cape, the blond chanteuse conjured up memories of her short but impressive 1981 tour and the long-lasting determination to prove that her initial solo success was not a fluke.

Wielding a signature tambourine and flailing her arms about, Nicks gave onlookers "Starshine," a song co-written with Petty but never released. When she ripped into the thundering and epic "Edge of Seventeen," Nicks paid tribute to the wonderful man in purple with a Prince photomontage on the big screen interspersed with images of doves.

Perhaps one of the most endearing parts of this tour is the presence of longtime friend, musical director and session musician Waddy Wachtel. Having been alongside Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham from their early days in L.A. to countless recordings and tours with Nicks, Watchel is a continuous presence that helps to connect Nicks to her early days as a commercial success, while also giving her solid guitar backing.

Ending with the always lovely "Rhiannon" and "Landslide," Nicks alone was projected onto the screen in all her caped glory, as if to speak directly to each adoring fan. This tour has shown that Nicks' particular brand of stage presence and mystical persona does not get old, but rather appears fresh in its own way. Her vampy vocals and forlorn writing style continue to penetrate the hearts of multiple generations and it's clear that her trunk of songs is not limited to Fleetwood Mac and '70s hits.

Friday, December 09, 2016

David Wild just finished new liner notes for Fleetwood Mac

Interesting tweet from David Wild. David has written many if not all the liner notes on Fleetwood Mac's recent reissues.... Could this be Tango?

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Reviews Stevie Nicks with The Pretenders - Minneapolis December 6, 2016

Review: Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde empower each other
Hall of Famers rock St. Paul with familiar and obscure songs.
by Jon Bream - includes Photo Gallery

At first blush, Stevie Nicks teaming up with Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders seems about as odd as, say, Joan Baez and Cher touring together. Same era (and enduring careers) but totally different vibe. But on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center, ethereal, super-feminine Nicks and snarling, boyish Hynde proved that sisterhood is powerful.

Full review

Stevie Nicks enchants audience at the X with songs, stories and the spirit of Prince
by Ross Raihala

Stevie Nicks is now 68, but there’s always been a sort of timeless quality about her, like her soul has been kicking around for centuries, wrapping its hosts in shawls, lace and fringe. Remember, this is a woman who crafted the nostalgic, contemplative “Landslide” when she was just 25.

Nicks spent Tuesday night flipping through the back pages of her history at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center during an engaging and emotional two-plus hour performance for about 10,000 fans. She took full advantage of not having to share the spotlight with Fleetwood Mac and spent plenty of time between songs chatting with the crowd and sharing the secrets behind her many hits.

Full review

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Review Stevie Nicks Lincoln, NE December 5, 2016

Stevie Nicks tells the stories, then sings the songs at arena Monday
Lincoln Journal Star - Photo Gallery

Photo: Kristin Streff, Journal Star
For more than two hours Monday, Stevie Nicks hosted an episode of the old VH1 show, “Storytellers” at Pinnacle Bank Arena, spinning out tales of how and why songs were written, before and after they were performed.

And many if not most of those songs weren’t instantly recognized by the 6,500 in the hall as Nicks, eschewing the usual “greatest hits” superstar show, mined some deep tracks from throughout her career -- dating back to “Crying in the Night,” a song she wrote in 1971 -- and mining “24 Carat Gold: Songs from the Vault,” her 2014 album made up of what she called her “trunk of gothic musical mysteries.”

Performing with her superb six-piece band, led by guitarist Waddy Wachtel, along with a pair of backing singers, Nick’s husky but pure voice was at its finest and she was engaging and often funny telling her stories.

So, we learned that “Starshine” the lead track of the new album was written in Tom Petty’s basement, that “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream)" was indeed inspired by Bella and Edward and is her favorite song and both “Stand Back” and “Edge of Seventeen” were responses to songs by her “strange little friend” Prince.

The latter was among the hits “Gold Dust Woman,” “Rihannon” and “Landslide” that brought the show to the close. But the first hit out of the box was “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” on which she was joined by Chrissie Hynde, who along with Wachtel did Petty’s part on the duet.

Hynde and her band The Pretenders opened with a bracing, hour-long set that, once the sound got dialed in, found her at peak vocal form -- she flat nailed the ballad “Hymn for Her” and the band ripped through a few songs from “Alone,” the new album and lots of hits. It was, simply put, one of the best sets I’ve seen at the arena.

Nicks, by the way, did not mention her previous appearance at the arena at the Fleetwood Mac show that was cut short by Mick Fleetwood’s illness. Instead she told stories and really sang her songs.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Stevie Nicks Wants a New Fleetwood Mac Tour, Not a New Fleetwood Mac Album

Stevie Nicks is currently out on her 24 Karat Gold tour, promoting her recent solo album. But as far as recording a new album with Fleetwood Mac , Stevie believes the band shouldn't waste their time.

Before Fleetwood Mac launched their most recent tour, they worked on some new tracks without Stevie. While Mick Fleetwood suggested the tracks might be released with just Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie singing, Stevie doesn't buy it. "You can never say never, but I don’t think that will happen," she tells ABC Radio.

That doesn't mean Stevie's ready to join her bandmates in the studio, though.

"The only reason that I don’t really wanna do a record is because I think that, in a year and a half, we’ll probably go out and do another Fleetwood Mac tour, since Christine has come back," she explains. Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 2014 after a 16-year absence.

Stevie thinks touring is the better plan, simply because of Fleetwood Mac's dynamics.

"Do we want to go and close ourselves up in a studio for a year, [and] make a record that’s really good but that probably won’t sell, because records don’t really sell that much?" she asks. "And then we'll have been stuffed together for a year in one room, and...when you come out of that room, we may notwant to go on a tour!"

The logical solution, Stevie says, is to skip making a new record, and simply hit the road.

"I think that we should choose the tour over the record," she tells ABC Radio. "Because touring is much more fun than making a record when you don’t have any idea how that record’s gonna come out."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Stevie Nicks Announces NEW 2017 Shows

Stevie extends her 24 Karat Gold Tour into 2017 with 20 new dates beginning February 23rd in Reno, NV. Amex Presale begins Dec 7th. General on sale Dec 12th. Info at

FEB 25 - Salt Lake City, UT
FEB 28 - Portland, OR
MAR 2 - San Diego, CA
MAR 6 - Tulsa, OK
MAR 8 - Memphis, TN
MAR 10 - Bossier City, LA
MAR 12 - Austin, TX
MAR 15 - New Orleans, LA
MAR 17 - Columbus, OH
MAR 19 - Raleigh, NC
MAR 21 - Orlando, FL
MAR 23 - Jacksonville, FL
MAR 25 - Charlottesville, VA
MAR 26 - Baltimore, MD
MAR 29 - Indianapolis, IN
MAR 31 - Pittsburgh, PA
APR 2 - Newark, NJ
APR 5 - Manchester, NH
APR 6 - Long Island, NY

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Review Stevie Nicks and The Pretenders - Chicago December 3, 2016

Stevie Nicks dazzles at the United Center
by Althea Legaspi
Chicago Tribune - View the Photo Gallery

Photo: United Center

Stevie Nicks' recent musical forays may find her mining the past to cast songs in a new light, but in so doing, she's forged a strong path forward, filtered through the wisdom she's gained. At United Center on Saturday, the icon breathed new life into decades-old songs, revisited early underrated treasures and peppered in megahits to satisfy superfans and recent acolytes alike in a two-hour set that reinforced that timeless songwriting endures.

Nicks is currently on her "24 Karat Gold Tour," which features live takes on newly recorded, previously unreleased demos culled from her storied, 40-plus-year career, which appear on 2014's "24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault." The set also featured material from her first two solo records, 1981's "Bella Donna" and 1983's "The Wild Heart," which were reissued last month, as well as some of her Fleetwood Mac songs.

And though the latter material, which included an affecting "Gypsy" and a rousing, extended "Gold Dust Woman," were fan favorites, there was a certain freedom to be found in her solo work. Nicks is a perpetual role model: a trailblazer who's had a valiant career alongside her trials, from overcoming substance abuse to tangled relationships, and come out stronger.

Nicks' mystique and bewitching charm permeated the show, from her signature flowing black dress paired with shawls and capes to her trademark twirls and sultry rasp with its enchanting, indelible hue, though time may have slightly compressed her range. She also pulled back the curtain on the origins of many songs, which added a rare, welcomed intimacy to the set.

This gave insight into tunes such as the standout "Starshine," which she wrote in Tom Petty's basement, and the disco-fueled "Stand Back," which was inspired by the late Prince. Her humorous admission about the oldest song in the set, 1973's Buckingham/Nicks song "Crying in the Night" ("At 22, I don't know where these words came from") showcased that her poetic musings don't have to be literal to evoke emotion. "Wild Heart" and a sterling "Rhiannon" were also highlights.

Songs such as the affecting set closer "Landslide" and "Edge of Seventeen" sagely referred to the passage of time. Though written three decades prior, these songs' themes of love and loss seemed to resonate more deeply with age. The soothsaying chanteuse's gifts extended to her choice of collaborators. Chrissie Hynde — whose stunning voice buoyed her rocking opening set with The Pretenders, which also included timeless hits ("Brass in Pocket") and newer gems ("Alone") – joined Nicks for the awesome "Stop Dragging My Heart Around." Hynde also discussed religious tolerance, the only political statement of the night, before performing "Holy Commotion."

In an era that can be rather antagonistic and ageist, particularly towards women, both Nicks and Hynde's performances were empowering. Beyond surviving, they've persevered, and continue to excel at their craft. "Crazy as life is," Nicks advised at the end of the show, "Stay in the path of love."

Friday, December 02, 2016

Review Stevie Nicks and The Pretenders at MSG New York City December 1, 2016

Stevie Nicks and The Pretenders Rise Above the Fray at Madison Square Garden
by Andrew Unterberger

The legendary rock acts paired for a night of musical perserverance during Nicks' 24 Karat Gold Tour stop in New York.

"It's a pleasure to be back in New York with a message of love!" declared Chrissie Hynde, legendary frontwoman for Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Pretenders, as her band indeed launched into the martial swing of their 1981 classic "Message of Love" on Thursday night (Dec. 1). After beginning their opening set with two riotous numbers off the group's fine new LP Alone, "Message" properly jolted the packed crowd at Manhattan's Madison Square Garden to life, and Chrissie & Co. took it from there, captivating with an expertly paced set that reminded why the group still has to be included in any discussion of the greatest active rock bands.

Despite leading with some new songs and making a couple early deep-cut detours (Hynde's 2014 solo single "Down the Wrong Way," Get Close paean to femininity "Hymn to Her"), the band mostly kept to the hits and the fan favorites afterwards -- even indulging the crowd with a singalong of 1994 power ballad "I'll Stand By You." But the now-quintet kept it tight throughout, and though Martin Chambers -- the only original member remaining besides Hynde -- may no longer quite live up to Chrissie's billing of him as "The World's Greatest Rock Drummer," the group still shredded their way through ragers new and old with typical Akron-via-U.K. muscle. (Appropriately, Hynde got some of the biggest cheers of the night when she rolled up the sleeves on her Elvis T-shirt.)

The Pretenders stayed mostly apolitical throughout their set, though perhaps inevitably for a show by a punk-bred band in the year 2016, there was a sense of desperation throughout, as songs like "My City Was Gone" took on extra significance, and even the group's more personal numbers felt as hefty as hymns. Hynde introduced their latest single "Holy Communion" as a song about "religious tolerance," but then shortened that to just "tolerance," declaring hopefully: "If you're answering to him" -- pointing skyward -- "You're probably going to be all right."

Of course, the real figure of worship for Hynde on stage was her touring partner, the iconic singer/songwriter and Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks, who Hynde gushed about throughout her set ("It's like being on tour with Elizabeth Taylor!"). The Church of Stevie was definitely in session from the opening songs of her headlining set, and her lead disciple even came back on stage to serve as her Tom Petty on a stellar duet of Nicks' breakout solo hit, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." "I'm gonna marry her," declared an ecstatic Hynde after the performance. "So don't get any ideas."

Even with that early moment of fan wish-fulfillment, Nicks made it clear early in her set that crowd-pleasing wasn't going to be her primary goal for the evening. "It's not gonna be the same show that you're used to seeing," she warned of her gig to come, instead promising "magical gothic things from my gothic trunk of secrets and mysteries." What followed was a set full of little-heard rarities like "Starshine," a reject from 1981 solo debut Bella Donna that eventually ended up on 2014's 24 Karat Gold - Songs From the Vault and "Crying in the Night," a Buckingham-Nicks-era favorite that Nicks rarely played live before this tour.

The centerpiece of the performance was undoubtedly "Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)," the dramatic power ballad whose recording reinvigorated Nicks' solo career in the early '10s, and which she now calls "my favorite song I've ever written." The singer/songwriter, cultivating a family atmosphere throughout the evening with her convivial storytelling -- even the introduction of her band, which she promised to keep brief, was deeply felt enough to take ten minutes -- explained the origins of the song as having been inspired by the doomed romance at the heart of the Twilight film franchise. "There's nothing like a tragic love affair," Nicks concluded.

For most of her set, Nicks kept Fleetwood Mac material to a minimum, only including 1982's "Gypsy" among her first 14 songs. It was enough delayed gratification that when her drummer launched into the arid, cowbell-led clomp of the Rumours closer "Gold Dust Woman," the building erupted in release. That rapture that only built through set closer "Edge of Seventeen" -- with a "When Doves Cry"-cribbed outro, paying tribute to Nicks' late friend Prince, who she'd previously talked about building early hit "Stand Back" with -- and first encore, the witchy-woman all-timer "Rhiannon."

The night closed with the Mac perennial "Landslide," and 40 years and hundreds of covers later, there's still nothing that properly prepares you for the sound of Nicks' simultaneously gravelly and feathery wisp intoning that first "Took my love, and I took it down..." In a time of national tumult and insecurity, the song can't help but take on a "Hallelujah"-like resonance, and its healing powers were on full display at MSG as the crowd belted every word along with their leader. "Rise above the fray," Nicks advised as her band exited. "Get in your car, and turn it up."


The Pretenders:

Gotta Wait
Message of Love
Private Life
Down the Wrong Way
Hymn to Her
Back on the Chain Gang
I'll Stand By You
Holy Communion
My City Was Gone
Stop Your Sobbing
Don't Get Me Wrong
Mystery Achievement
Middle of the Road
Brass in Pocket

Stevie Nicks:

Gold and Braid
If Anyone Falls
Stop Draggin' My Heart Around (w/ Chrissie Hynde)
Belle Fleur
Wild Heart
Bella Donna
New Orleans
Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)
Stand Back
Crying in the Night
If You Were My Love
Gold Dust Woman
Edge of Seventeen


More videos here

Review Stevie Nicks with The Pretenders - Toronto November 29, 2016

Nothing beats a night with Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde
The Pretenders rocked, and Nicks drew from her "black gothic trunk of mysterious and fantastical things"
Now Toronto

View Photos: Lithium Magazine

Setting off an unbelievable night of rock at the Air Canada Centre were the Pretenders, led by the charismatic Chrissie Hynde, whose appearance instantly got fans on their feet, where they stayed for the rest of the night. No introduction was needed when the wild-maned, denim-clad singer sporting large hoop earrings, an Elvis tee and ruby red blazer dove into the 16-song set starting with Gotta Wait from the Pretenders' 2016 album, Alone.

“Always a pleasure to be back in Toronto,” said Hynde. “The reason we’re here is to love each other, take care of each other,” she said, ahead of hit Stand By You.

As with Stevie Nicks, whose performance would finish the night as high as Hynde began it, Hynde has a voice that's still as recognizable and evocative as ever, moving from smoothly seductive on classics like Don’t Get Me Wrong and Brass In Pocket to impassioned on Holy Commotion. Her playful ease and glammy showmanship set the tone for the night, making her the perfect ying to the other great’s yang.

It takes a lot to become a star, but it takes even more to turn into a legend, especially in your own time. And in a year that's seen the unprecedented loss of one legendary superstar after another, seeing Stevie Nicks live and still at the top of her game made it all the more poignant and exhilarating.

After opener Gold And Braid, she introduced the next few hours as music drawn from her “black gothic trunk of mysterious and fantastical things.” The two-hour show focused on giving life to a slew of unreleased tracks and never-before-sang-in-concert songs that she had discarded from previous albums, revamped in ways that she now preferred over the originals, or never had a chance to perform in the first place, like Wild Heart.

And though songs like New Orleans may not have been familiar even to the most hardcore of Nicks fans, she sprinkled in classics like Stand Back (inspired by Prince’s Little Red Corvette – “He disappeared into the purple haze” she chuckled, sharing the story of his brief but magical guitar contribution to the original recording) and Fleetwood Mac’s Gypsy and Rhiannon, helping the audience feel involved in the night.

Her songwriting relationship with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers also played a significant role in the show, starting with the Petty-written song that helped her solo career take flight, Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around. Hynde joined her onstage for that one, leading Nicks to conclude that “I’m destined to be in duets”. We also got Starshine from 2014's 24 Karat Gold album, a song Nicks has said she wrote while hanging out with Petty.

Clad in her iconic jet-black, twirl-ready frock, a fringed tambourine hanging casually off her arm, the reigning Queen of Rock subtly transformed into different mythical characters – fringed priestess, stage shaman, sorceress – with each song and wardrobe change. After a moving performance of Bella Donna, dedicated to her mother who died three years ago, she proudly displayed the gorgeously preserved silk chiffon Bella Donna cape, circa 1981. “It’s silk chiffon. That’s what they make bullet things out of, so if you’re going to invest your money into something, right now, in this political world, silk chiffon,” she joked.

The most breathtaking moment of the night occurred during the Twilight-saga-inspired track Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream), which Nicks credits with bringing her back into the music industry as a songwriter after nearly a decade of not releasing new material. She stretched the thrilling song to over seven minutes of pure magic.

Though the world sees her as an icon, Nicks sees herself as a poet, writer, archivist and chronicler, weaving captivating behind-the-music stories with each song. She imbued the fervent arena with an MTV Unplugged kind of intimacy, and shaped the show with the peaks and valleys only a seasoned performer is capable of.

After introducing her masterful nine-piece band – she’s been working with many of the members for 40 years or more – she ended the 17-song set with a double encore that included 1981's Edge Of Seventeen, replete with a collage of Prince photos filling the screen behind her, and tear-jerker Landslide, which left the emotional audience right in the palm of her enchanted hands.