‘Other Side of Mirror’ brings Nicks to town

Stevie Nicks may be an unapproachable, larger-than-life figure to her fans, but Tom Petty can tell her to shut up, Bob Dylan doesn’t have to, and both her heart and body are vulnerable.

All of that emerged during a delightful, digressive phone interview from Chicago while Ms. Nicks was enjoying a few days off before her concert tonight at Lakewood Amphitheatre. The singer, 41, is touring to promote “The Other Side of the Mirror,” her third solo album since joining the irregularly working Fleetwood Mac in 1975.

Stevie Nicks may be an unapproachable, larger-than-life figure to her fans, but Tom Petty can tell her to shut up, Bob Dylan doesn’t have to, and both her heart and body are vulnerable.

What’s more, Ms. Nicks is mad at the Australian government, she loves Atlanta, and her current fantasy is having someone – preferably an executive at Atlantic, her record company – give her a Lear jet so she doesn’t have to worry about excess baggage when she travels.

All of that emerged during a delightful, digressive phone interview from Chicago while Ms. Nicks was enjoying a few days off before her concert tonight at Lakewood Amphitheatre. The singer, 41, is touring to promote “The Other Side of the Mirror,” her third solo album since joining the irregularly working Fleetwood Mac in 1975.

A blond, lush-lipped beauty, Ms. Nicks is best known for her dreamy, impressionistic songs about witches, gypsies and affairs of her heart. But she can occasionally be remarkably direct and pragmatic.

Discussing her friendship with Mr. Petty, who helped her record the hit single “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” in 1981, she says, “I call Tom when I’m upset or questioning my existence on this planet. He can tell me that I’m just having a bad day, to shut up and go to bed, and I’ll take it. But if he tells me I’m wrong, I’m wrong. He doesn’t lie, and he doesn’t say things to flatter people. He just tells you the truth.”

However, Mr. Dylan doesn’t have to say anything to intimidate Ms. Nicks, who went along as a non-performing guest when he and Mr. Petty toured Australia two years ago.

“I got to watch them put their personalities together, and it was fascinating,” she says. “I watched some – well, not exactly rows – but a little bit of going back and forth between them.”

During one stop, Mr. Dylan unexpectedly motioned Ms. Nicks onstage. “He put me between him and Tom and started a song and then backed off so I could sing. I was completely and utterly stupefied,” she says. “Thank God, my voice worked.”

But when Ms. Nicks, a bit more relaxed, joined Mr. Dylan and Mr. Petty onstage a second night, Australian officials took exception because she didn’t have a work permit. She says she was told that if she kept performing, she “wouldn’t be welcome again in Australia.”

Those and other experiences Down Under didn’t work their way into the songs on “The Other Side of the Mirror,” but much of what Ms. Nicks writes is rooted in her reality. Thus, “Two Kinds of Love” incorporates aspects of her relationship with Mr. Petty, and “Long Way to Go” is a stinging farewell to a former lover.

Ms. Nicks doesn’t identify the person she’s addressing in “Long Way to Go,” and she doesn’t even hint that it might be Lindsey Buckingham, her musical and romantic partner when they joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975.

“I was really angry at the person I wrote that song about. It’s a lot of fun to perform because it has a definite attitude that audiences can pick up on.”

What the crowds haven’t noticed during her three-month tour, which opened Aug. 16, is that Ms. Nicks has been performing first with a broken foot and then a severely sprained ankle. All they’ve realized is that Ms. Nicks, who prefers to perform in boots that make her appear taller than 5 feet 3 inches, has been wearing rhinestone-decorated Reeboks.

“I haven’t told anyone, but I’m talking about it now because I hope I’ll be able to wear my boots when I come to Atlanta,” she says. “I broke my foot in a swimming pool this summer, and was in a cast for eight weeks. I just got out of it when the tour began.”

Because she was unable to wear her usual boots, she made some adjustments. “I spray-painted my Reeboks and put rhinestones on them and I had to have all my dresses altered because without my boots, I’m 5 inches shorter.”

She hopes things return to normal tonight because she is performing in one of her favorite cities. “I love Atlanta,” she says.

Ms. Nicks, of course, can afford to travel anywhere because of the enormous success of Fleetwood Mac and the fact that her three LPs have total sales of more than $4 million. But she’s still waiting for Atlantic Records or even MCA, owner of Lakewood Amphitheatre, to give her a jet so she doesn’t have to worry about how much luggage she packs.

“I’ve already been told to drop half the stuff I’m traveling with,” she says, laughing and then doing her best to sound like she’s whining. “I want a jet and I want it now,” she says before shifting to a bewitchingly sensual, but demanding voice. “Tell whoever’s in charge there that if there’s no jet for me in Atlanta, maybe there won’t be a show.”

But she’s laughing – deliciously, wickedly – when she hangs up.

Stevie Nicks. Performing tonight with opening act the Hooters at Lakewood Amphitheatre. 8 p.m. $21.50 for reserved seats, $17.50 for admission to lawn seating area. Old Lakewood Fairgrounds off Interstate 75 and Lakewood Freeway interchange. 577-9600.

Russ DeVault / Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution / September 27, 1989

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