CONCERT REVIEW: The Nicks mystique holds fans

Stevie Nicks must hire a separate tour bus to haul her costumes.

The veteran singer appeared at the Classic Amphitheatre at Strawberry Hill on Saturday night in all of her glory — and all of her clothes.

On a pleasantly cool evening, Nicks carried an audience of nearly 6,000 through a 90-minute set that featured her solo work as well as hits from her Fleetwood Mac days.

Her habit of disappearing from the stage every couple of songs to change outfits might be disrupting, even annoying to some, but not to her devoted fans. It’s all part of the Nicks mystique: the hair, the voice, the shawls.

Stevie wannabes danced and sang along, including one very good facsimile who cavorted beneath a security light at the top of the lawn. She had Nicks’ act down, twirling and floating in a billowy skirt.

Nicks offered Fleetwood Mac hits such as “Dreams,” “Stand Back,” and a slow-at-first but then full-throttle version of “Rhiannon,” which was a highlight.

She served up a healthy portion from her sixth and latest solo album, Street Angel, including the catchy “Blue Denim” (during which she appeared to forget the words) and “Destiny,” a song she wrote more than 20 years ago but has never recorded.

She was supported by a solid band that spotlighted former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Rick Vito and journeyman drummer Russ Kunkel.

For an encore, she covered Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “I Need to Know.” She closed with “Has Anybody Ever Written Anything for You?” — a soft, sorrowful tune that might have been her best of the night.

Nicks’ production — seven-piece band, three backup singers, giant doily draped over the edge of the stage — was in stark contrast to opening act Darden Smith.

Smith, a 32-year-old Texan whose work features strong lyrics and a knack for storytelling, stood alone before a simple, black backdrop and played guitar on eight songs. He sat at the piano for a ninth.

The personable Smith bantered with the crowd in the front rows — “Do I want a cigarette? No thanks, I’m working” — as he delivered five tunes from his most recent album, Little Victories.

Bill Lohmann / Richmond Times Dispatch / August 8, 1994

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