Posted on 8/1/2012
Stevie Nicks returned to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN on Tuesday, July 24th to perform as a solo artist this time around. As the opening act on the Rod Stewart / Stevie Nicks Heart and Soul Tour, the Fleetwood Mac singer and solo artist took the classic rock audience through a journey of her career and the musical life of a classic rocker! Mike Arnold was on hand to cover this nostalgic evening. Enjoy reading his concert review!
Written by Mike Arnold
It’s been a while since I’ve seen the Bridgestone Arena packed to the max, but on this night there were very few seats available (at the top center section of the third level). Once the house lights went down in the arena, we could tell it was a packed venue from the noise of the fans attending this classic rock show! The band members slowly walked out to take their positions on the stage with long time Stevie Nicks guitarist, Waddy Wachtel posing as the band leader. Waddy looked at the drummer to begin the count for the first song of the night as the drummer took control to pound out the very familiar beat of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”.
Stevie Nicks slowly walked out to take center stage with her flowing outfit stepping up to her scarf decorated boom microphone stand as she was about to belt out the opening line of one of the most popular rock songs of all time… the problem is, she didn’t belt it at all, she barely got through the song while she lowered her singing voice a couple keys from the usual. My first thought was, if she can’t hit the notes anymore, then why try this song? I thought we were all in for a “Bless Her Heart!” type of evening, but her voice got better as the night continued. Later we learned that Stevie had a sore throat, but she went on to perform anyway. Those in attendance on the floor didn’t seem to mind. The visuals on the huge screen in the back of the stage made up for the lack of her vocal ability. Throughout the song, there were historic concert shots of famous classic rock bands from the 1970s. The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Queen, Rod Stewart, and even a band by the name of Fleetwood Mac were displayed on the screen during their prime.
Song number two proved to be better, much better than the opener, as they performed a number from her solo career, “Enchanted”. At this time I thought, now that was different! She struggled with the first song, but she nailed the second song. Waddy changed guitars as Stevie Nicks greeted the Nashville, TN audience. Stevie mentioned that there are a few cities she gets nervous in before playing and Nashville is one of them. She continued, “Being on stage and playing in Nashville is as good as it gets!” Stevie introduced the next song as being recorded back in 2010, “Secret Love”.
Stevie introduced this song as being Fleetwood Mac’s only Number 1 hit. The crowd cheered, as they knew they were about to get a classic tune. She then added, “I am very proud to say that I am the writer of this song.” as they performed “Dreams”. Here’s another song that Stevie struggled with. Most of the songs she sang during the evening were right on target, but the opener and “Dreams” were difficult for a true music fan to hear, although the Fleetwood Mac fans in attendance seem to love it. Another Fleetwood Mac number followed and Stevie’s vocals were right on with this one. Waddy Wachtel played a long intro with his guitar, but once the fans recognized the tune, they came alive and so did Stevie’s voice as she sang “Gold Dust Woman”. Stevie gave us her smooth swaying, flowing dancing during this song to add to the crowd’s pleasure. It was time for Stevie to reach back to her early 80s hits again as the band performed another crowd pleaser, “Stand Back”.
Now came the time of the show where Stevie Nicks gave a testimony of accepting an invitation to go to Walter Reed Hospital to visit the young soldiers and veterans who served our country. Stevie admitted that this particular trip changed her live forever. She said she became a mom to all the young soldiers that day and she still feels that way today. That trip inspired Stevie to write a song, which she performed next, “Soldier’s Angel”. At the end of the song she made a point to display website links on the backdrop screen and pleaded with us to donote to these organizations. As Stevie said, “It will do them good and it will do you good!” www.walterreedsociety.org www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
It was once again time to reach back into the Fleetwood Mac bag of hits as she pulled out “Rhiannon”. During this song there was an old portrait photo of a girl on the backdrop screen. Throughout the ending of the song, Stevie continued to sway her arms in her signature flowing motion… and the audience loved it! Stevie mentioned this next song was written by Mike Campbell (Tom Petty’s guitarist) and recorded the song with producer Dave Stewart, “For What It’s Worth”. During the song there was a video featuring all three of them riding a bus and then cutting up with each other out in a desert.
To close out the set, Waddy Wactel began a short guitar solo that included the very familiar strumming of the guitar which the audience recognized and approved with very loud screams as Waddy led into Stevie’s most recognized rock solo hit, “Edge of Seventeen”. White doves were flying on the backdrop screen along with portions of the song’s music video that we used to watch on MTV. Before leaving the stage, Stevie Nicks thanked the audience for being so kind and for having patience as she struggled singing with her sore throat (that explains a lot!). She wanted to make a point to say she was heartbroken to hear the sad news of former Fleetwood Mac guitarist and Nashville native Bob Welch and added she will miss him very much (Bob Welch committed suicide in his Nashville home on 6/7/12). She also added that he was an excellent solo artist. Stevie and the band bowed together, waved goodbye and left the stage.
Although the set was over, the crowd yelled for more. I thought that she wouldn’t return to the stage due to her voice issues, but the enthusiastic crowd finally got her to return. Stevie Nicks walked back out on stage with only Waddy Wachtel. Waddy was carrying his acoustic guitar. He stood beside Stevie ready to play. Stevie said this next song is dedicated to all of the songwriters out there. She said this was the very first song she ever wrote (back in 1973). Waddy began picking the Fleetwood Mac tune, “Landslide”. Her piano player played during a portion of the song. Stevie’s voice was superb during this number. The backdrop screen showed old photos of Stevie’s family including pictures of her as a little girl, her parents, etc… After the song they bowed, waved goodbye, and walked off the stage while Waddy and Stevie were hand in hand.
It was a fun show, but watching the reaction of the fans during the songs was better than the show itself. My high points of this show were “Gold Dust Woman” and “Landslide”. The low points of this concert were “Rock and Roll” and “Dreams”. I’ve seen recent video footage of Stevie singing these songs, so I know she was more than capable of singing them in the right key and hitting all the high notes. She seems to sing all of her solo songs ok, but the few songs that she couldn’t hit right was painful to me. On the Concert Blast Scale I would give this show a 7.0. I would definitely see Stevie Nicks in concert again and hope that her throat and voice will be in good shape. I would recommend others to see her perform as well. What the fans in attendance probably didn’t know is that Stevie was supposed to come out on stage with Rod Stewart during his set to sing “Leather and Lace” with him, but the voice issues prevented it from happening.
Written by Mike Arnold