“I have to say one little thing,” Stevie Nicks told the crowd at Perth Arena on Thursday night, two songs into her first Australian solo tour since 2011.
“We know what happened (a few) weeks ago so I have to go ahead and tell my stories and pretend Mr Petty is just at home and having a good time and rocking out. Because he wouldn’t want me to change this (show) and I’m not changing it.”
The Perth show marked the first time Nicks had performed since the death of her good friend and long-time collaborator Tom Petty on October 2 and his impact on her life and catalogue of work was demonstrated throughout her sprawling, indulgent, two-and-a-half-hour set.
Fellow rock queen Chrissie Hynde, whose band the Pretenders are the special guests on the tour, jumped on stage for a faithful rendition of Nick’s seminal duet with Petty, 1981’s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”
“First time we did it right in 56 shows,” Nicks proclaimed triumphantly to Hynde. “It’s all about you, Perth.”
Nicks also dedicated her vocal highlight to Petty, a haunting, melancholic version of “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream).”
“This is for Tom,” she whispered before belting out the mournful track from 2011’s In Your Dreams while images of Petty and Prince, another late collaborator, appeared on a giant screen behind her.
Prince also featured extensively among Nicks’ lengthy tales of her life. After a suitably poptastic run through of 1983’s “Stand Back,” Nicks explained the genesis of the track, which she said came during an ill-fated honeymoon drive where she was desperately overcome to write poetry when she heard Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” on the radio for the first time.
Much of the show was for diehard fans with the 69-year-old reaching into her “trunk of dark gothic songs” for rarely performed album cuts and rarities that were released on 2014’s 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault.
“I am going to share my life, me telling you where I have been for the last 40 years,” she said, introducing almost every song with the story of where she was in her life at the time she wrote it.
Highlights included “Starshine,” which she had recorded at Petty’s house with the Heartbreakers “in 20 minutes” and a medley of the title tracks from her first two solo albums, with the hypnotic “Wild Heart” making its first appearance on a tour.
Earlier, the Pretenders were in exceptional form as they delivered a super-tight hour of power rock with Hynde, 66, in a playful and flirtatious mood, especially as she strutted across the stage to the band’s breakthrough hit “Brass in Pocket.”
Unlike the crowd she dissed in Dubai last week for not putting their phones away, Hynde was all smiles, except when she targeted one concertgoer in the front row early on to stop filming.
Stevie Nicks with the Pretenders
REVIEW: ROSS McRAE
Ross McRae / West Australian / Friday, November 3, 2017