Nicks and Hynde wow Dunedin

24 Karat Gold Tour, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand, The Pretenders
(Stephen Jaquiery / Otago Daily Times)

Veteran rockers still fresh in 70th show

The headline artists were 60-somethings; so were many in the near 12,000-strong crowd.

But there was enough energy at last night’s Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde Dunedin concert to show there’s plenty of life in the legs of older musicians and fans yet.

Following a set full of hard-on rock tunes from Hynde (66) and her band The Pretenders, Fleetwood Mac songstress Nicks (69) took to the stage to rapturous applause.

This was the last show of a lengthy tour, but there was no sign of road-weariness.

“This is the last of 70 shows, and we have chosen to share that 70th show with you and your city,” Nicks said.

She said her spirits were high despite the recent death of close friend Tom Petty.

She told the crowd the concert setlist had been designed to tell the stories behind her songs, and Petty would have wanted her to celebrate his part in her musical story.

That was no more evident than when Nicks dueted with Hynde on “Stop Draggin My Heart Around” — a song from her 1981 debut solo album Bella Donna, which she and Petty had a worldwide hit with.

Each song was preceded by an anecdote or an explanation of how it came to be written.

“It’s like writing a book on stage,” Nicks told the crowd.

Among the readers in the audience were a strong contingent from Christchurch.

This was a Dunedin show, but it was hard to find a local among the early arrivals.

The front rows filled up within minutes of the gates opening at Forsyth Barr Stadium — and everyone spoken to had come from Christchurch for the show.

“The roads were really busy coming down,” Nigel and Dierdre Bratten said.

The Brattens are dedicated Nicks fans: Mr Bratten was wearing his Fleetwood Mac T-shirt from the band’s previous Dunedin visit and the couple had also seen Nicks in New Plymouth — and they saw Hynde on her last New Zealand tour, too.

“Absolutely we wanted to see her again — she’s brilliant,” Mr Bratten said.

Fellow Christchurch devotees Liz Nichol and Steve Grant — the first fans seated in the front row — were savouring their view of proceedings.

“We were watching a documentary about her on television and I said to Steve ‘can we go see Stevie Nicks?’ and he said ‘yes’,” Ms Nichol said.

Nichol, a former singer in a country rock band, said she loved Nicks’ music and the couple had bought her CDs for years. Last night they had as good a view as a fan could possibly get of their idol.

Two of the younger fans at the front were Christchurch’s Andrew Te Groen and Brienna Henderson, who had no intention of missing last night’s show, having grown up with Nicks’ music.

“I’m a really big fan of both Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks,” said Mr Te Groen.

“I sort of sneaked out from work and made sure we got good seats.”

Hynde and The Pretenders took no prisoners in their opening set, firing out hard-rocking tunes like Alone and Gotta Wait as an opening salvo, before playing fan favourites like Don’t Get Me Wrong and Brass In Pocket.

Hynde told the crowd she had spent a couple of days in Dunedin and loved the town. Highlights included seeing the Cirkopolis show and First Church.

“It really is just like the north of Scotland, if they had daylight up there.”

Mike Houlahan / Otago Daily Times / Friday, November 24, 2017

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