WITH ALL the anniversary, reunion and comeback concerts this summer, it seems music-nostalgia madness has gripped the country. Stevie Nicks helped this highly contagious but seldom fatal malady reach epidemic proportions Tuesday night at Riverport Amphitheatre.
Although Nicks performed some songs from her current album, Street Angel, it was the infectious pop/rock beat of the ’70s and early ’80s that seduced the crowd into a rocking, shaking delirium. This began with the second number she performed, “Dreams,” from her days with Fleetwood Mac. With Nicks singing lead, the song hit No. 1 in 1977, becoming the only chart-topper for the now virtually legendary group.
A couple of songs later, Nicks unleashed the Fleetwood Mac virus again with “Rhiannon,” from 1976. She started with a very slow beat, showcasing the sultry, raspy voice that vaulted her to stardom. But then she sped up to a pace fast enough to rev up the crowd and get it moving.
A rousing rendition of “Stand Back,” from her 1983 The Wild Heart LP, kept the crowd feverishly ecstatic and marked probably the high point of the concert. The audience members returned to their seats for the next song, the slow-moving “Destiny.” Nicks actually wrote this tune more than 20 years ago, but recorded it only this year.
Nicks seemed to give her older fans a chance to recuperate with her new works. The crowd did not seem even to recognize “Maybe Love Will Change Your Mind,” her current single. She performed the catchy, tight refrain well, but meandered all over the looser verses.
Of course, Nicks was very successful with meandering, open-formated songs early in her solo career. A prime example is “Edge of Seventeen,” from her 1981 solo debut album, Bella Donna. The song peaked at No. 11 on the charts, but earned Nicks a Grammy nomination for best female rock vocal performance.
Nicks used “Edge of Seventeen” to close her set. Then, after several minutes of sustained applause, she returned for an encore.
“We’d like to dedicate this song to Elvis Presley,” Nicks told the crowd before rendering her version of “I Need to Know.”
She then left the stage again, but returned for a second encore after more applause. Eschewing fan favorites such as “Leather and Lace,” “Gypsy” and “Rooms on Fire,” she made another curious encore choice, the beautiful ballad “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You.”
The encores proved a rather disappointing anticlimax to an otherwise entertaining show.
Nicks delivered strong vocals with surprising clarity, considering that it sometimes sounds as if she is incoherently mumbling nonsensical lyrics on some of her recordings. She rested her voice during long instrumental breaks, which contributed to the low output of only 15 songs in a 90-minute show, but she made the waiting worthwhile with fervent performances.
She appeared to draw energy from the crowd, leaving the audience weary, yet happily suffering from incurable music-nostalgia madness.
Dennis Jacobs / St. Louis Post-Dispatch / August 18, 1994