"If you have the chance, see her, otherwise you'll risk missing one of the absolute greats."
If you walked into the latest Stevie Nicks tour expecting an hour-long rehash of her solo and Fleetwood Mac back-catalogues, you were in for a shock. Instead, what was offered was a rich two and a half hour show, full of songs and their corresponding stories from a long and varied career.
Sydney's International Convention Centre was packed early for opening act Pretenders. It's important to note here that they played like it was their own show, from start to finish, rather than a support slot. From the moment the band ran onto the stage, it was apparent that many in the crowd were just as much there for the Pretenders as they were for Nicks herself. The band's two remaining original members, Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambers, are certainly showing no sign of slowing down some 40 years into the band's history. They played through all the hits that the crowd were waiting for, including I'll Stand By You, Back On The Chain Gang and Don't Get Me Wrong, before wrapping up with a huge crowd singalong to Brass In Pocket.
There was hardly a break between Pretenders ending and Stevie Nicks taking the stage. Nicks' band assembled, waiting for their leader. She appeared to a massive cheer, walking right up the middle of the stage and charging straight into Gold And Braid, her voice immediately filling the room.
Nicks was quick to tell the crowd that this would be a show about stories; a "Music 101" class. Before they moved onto the next song, If Anyone Falls, Nicks reflected on the recent passing of her friend and long-time collaborator Tom Petty, saying that she thinks "Tom is on the road rockin' somewhere" and that she would be sharing tales from their time together throughout the show.
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It wasn't long before Nicks shared how her first album came to be, after a discussion with Fleetwood Mac and needing to go her own way for a while (pun intended), though she promised that she would never break up the band. She spoke about wanting to make her own Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers album and how through her then boyfriend and producer Jimmy Iovine she ending up meeting and working with Petty on their song Stop Draggin' My Heart Around. It was here that Hynde joined Nicks to take on Petty's part.
The night continued on in the same vein, as Nicks took time explaining the meaning and significance behind each song performed, all with the extra special touch of photos shared on the screen behind her.
Of course, there were big singalongs for songs like Dreams and Gold Dust Woman, and an epic version of Stand Back - complete with a story about how Nicks took heavy inspiration from Prince's Little Red Corvette and how the man himself not only gave his endorsement but also played on the track.
Edge Of Seventeen wrapped the main set, with the crowd up and dancing along wildly. Nicks and co returned soon after for their encore, completing the show with Rhiannon and Landslide. Nicks thanked the crowd for helping her in dealing with the loss of Petty, before stating that it was a special night she wouldn't be forgetting anytime soon.
Sometimes, music legends can let you down. Stevie Nicks certainly won't do that. She'll build you up, take you on the journey and then plant you right back down on earth with her warmth, honesty and authenticity. If you have the chance, see her, otherwise you'll risk missing one of the absolute greats.