Stevie Nicks’ voice is a thing to behold.
The singer, who between Fleetwood Mac and a 36-year solo career has sold more than 140 million records, managed to build an intimate connection with 9000 people inside a convention hall, holding us spellbound for most of the two-and-a-half-hour set.
“I will sing you the story of the moonlight,” she sang on a new track, “Belle Fleur,” with a tone that worked like a balm, like wise counsel from an elder sister after a heartbreak.
She also built rapport with a bunch of stories. The one about her first big solo hit, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” was poignant enough, given the recent death of its author Tom Petty, before the projection of an early-80s photo of the pair together sealed the emotional deal.
Then Chrissie Hynde brought the joy by singing the song with Nicks while sporting a blonde Petty wig. Her Pretenders had earlier pleased the crowd with a no-nonsense, hit-filled opening set.
Nicks’ tale of stealing then reinventing Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” for another big hit, “Stand Back,” packed a similar elegiac punch.
That song, “Gold Dust Woman” and “Edge of Seventeen” were highlights of the show, Nicks whirling and rocking harder than anyone on the edge of 70 (the milestone is next May) could be expected to.
But it wasn’t perfect. The seven-piece band, led by pre-fame collaborator Waddy Wachtel, is a crack unit but drowned out the unfamiliar lyrics of some newer songs.
And Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” didn’t deserve its rapturous reception – Nicks sang it a little flat and seemed bored by her signature song.
But all was forgiven after a lovely rendition of “Landslide” closed the night to a standing ovation.
“Time makes you bolder,” she sang over picked acoustic guitar. Here’s hoping we can all age as gracefully as Nicks.
Stevie Nicks plays at the ICC on November 8 and at A Day on the Green, Bimbadgen Estate, Pokolbin on November 11
ICC, Darling Harbour, November 7
Michael Bailey / Sydney Morning Herald / Wednesday, November 8, 2017