At 68, singer still carries same mysticism, presence
Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac came equipped Saturday night to John Paul Jones Arena. The music great had her stage appropriately set, complete with giant screens projecting experimental graphics, chandeliers and other decorative light fixtures and accompanying light play following the music’s emotional tempo.
The 68-year-old singer, most famously known for her work in Fleetwood Mac, came to a packed JPJ on the second leg of her 24 Karat Gold Tour. She transported viewers into a bygone era of classic rock through a set ranging from spirited to somber to soulful.
Though the setlist was mostly drawn from her individual cache of songs, Nicks still managed to give the crowd a taste of songs they were most familiar with. Nicks mostly pulled records from what she calls “the dark gothic trunk of lost songs.” This included previously unreleased or unperformed records she made with the late and great Prince and tracks made with Tom Petty. Nicks broke up her set with anecdotes about her first car and the backstories behind her songs.
The downside to seeing an older artist may be a general lack of youthful energy, and Nicks was only a small exception. But she combatted the problem by working with it. She did not punch the audience with one booming hit after another. Instead, Nicks allowed the slow set to be embroidered with stories from her turbulent and — at times — hilarious past. The audience left the show with a fuller picture of Nicks and her music in a way that isn’t normally delivered by younger artists.
Nicks substituted high energy for an intimacy that defied the stadium-sized crowd. The stage’s theatrical set-up, Nicks’ hard-hitting lyricism and her friendly interaction all made the show one of the most worthwhile to come through Charlottesville. Nicks spiced up the show with several wardrobe changes and fun hits like “Edge of Seventeen” and “Gypsy.”
For the encore, Nicks and company opened with “Rhiannon,” stirring the audience into roaring applause with its soothing melody and energizing pick-ups. They then treated the audience to the all time great “Landslide,” along with the touching story behind it. It was this song, written while sitting cross-legged on a carpet with a view of the Aspen mountainside, that convinced Nicks to stick with her burgeoning music career — a choice that changed the landscape of music for decades to come.
Ian McConaughy Williams / The Cavalier Daily / March 27, 2017