20 July 2005
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO
Okay, so I, like many, find Stevie Nicks to be exceptionally attractive. But, to be fair, that's not the only reason I like her. Many regard her as the single most important reason Fleetwood Mac has achieved the modern-day success the band has realized. And, then there's also the amazingly colorful, vivid, beautiful, but delicate music videos that launched her to the unofficial title of queen of all divas in in the early 1980s. To this day, my imagination still sees clips of her on "Friday Night Videos" and MTV, and recalls the changing times both in the world and in my personal life.
Young singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton enjoyed the priviledge of opening for Stevie on this tour. While the Sun was still out, Vanessa strolled, almost unrecognized, in a very lengthy, colorful, beige dress, to a grand piano, and plucked away on the ivories and filled the microphone, fronting her own one-person set. I'm not very familiar with Carlton's work, but if I had to think of one word to describe her, it would be deliberate. Deliberate, from her adamant keystrokes, to her overemphatic vocal crying, to even her songwriting and attitude. I only recognized her recent hit "A Thousand Miles", and even she even recognized that most patrons felt the same way--after the opening riff, she commented, "Yeah, I'm the girl who sang that song." Vanessa showed much reverence for the compliment of receiving billing on a Stevie Nicks show.
And now, the Welch Witch! As many remember, Stevie recorded a legendary concert video, titled, "Live At Red Rocks" 20 years ago, which sold over a million copies. Tonight's performance traveled close to that legend.
"Enchanted" from her second album, The Wild Heart opened a colorful stage show filled with six musicians and three vocalists.
Long-time collaborator Waddy Wachtel, whom Stevie introduced as "the love of my life", handled Tom Petty's vocal part on "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around". "How Still My Love" and "Outside The Rain" also appeared from her first solo album, Bella Donna.
"Rhiannon" opened, as it has throughout most of her solo career, with a slow, almost a-capella intro. "Landslide" featured three-part harmony, a la the Dixie Chicks version, and required two guitarists to duplicate the Lindsey Buckingham sound. Besides those two songs, "Dreams", and the title song for the tour, "Gold Dust Woman", I counted no other major Fleetwood Mac hits in the setlist.
After, "Fall From Grace", Stevie introduced "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You" as one she penned on the way to her 1985 Red Rocks performance.
"Stand Back" received, by far, the most significant reaction from the audience. After all, this one of her many "I Love You, Goodbye"-themed compositions showcased her most airplayed and memorable hit music video.
"Edge of Seventeen" took about 20 minutes, from a five-minute drum solo, a five-minute Waddy Wachtel trademark guitar intro, to another five minutes of Stevie strolling through the front row, collecting flowers.
But, no "Gypsy", "Seven Wonders", "Sara", or "Fireflies". And, no "If Anyone Falls", "Nightbird", "Think About It", "I Can't Wait", "Nothing Ever Changes", "Rooms On Fire", "Talk To Me", or "Sometimes It's A Bitch". But, my gosh, what a catalog she has!
Vanessa Carlton joined the sidestage vocalists for a cover of Led Zepplin's "Rock and Roll", in the key of G, two semitones below the Led Zeppelin version, yet even still slightly out of 57-year old Stevie's comfortable vocal range.
Stevie walked back out with her hair pinned up for an encore of "Beauty and the Beast", which accompanied a very moving video.
Few acts are worthy of gracing the stage at Red Rocks. Stevie is absolutely one of them.
[****] - Steven T.
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