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Live Review: Stevie Nicks, The Pretenders

4 November 2017 | 8:10 pm | Dan Cribb

"Keep dreaming - that's it."

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Running onto the stage in a white robe like a boxer ready to unleash, The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde threw everything she had into opener Alone.

"Put your camera away," she said to a punter in-between verse lines of Message Of Love; it was an addition to the song that funnily enough fit its aloof rhythm. The singer reportedly walked offstage in Dubai a few days earlier after getting fed up with camera phones, but luckily things didn’t escalate in Perth, and the band slid into 1999 hit Loving You Is All I Know, which delivered a more laid-back vibe with captivating vocals weaving their way around surf rock guitar twang.

2014’s Down The Wrong Way had the band giving off a refreshing energy, as guitarist James Walbourne (who stole the show on numerous occasions) and bassist Nick Wilkinson locked into the groove with ease, but it wasn’t until Hymn To Her that that energy was reciprocated by the crowd.

The audience could barely contain their excitement for the headline act, and it seems the feeling was mutual, with Stevie Nicks hitting the stage early, much like Fleetwood Mac had done in Perth a couple of years early.

Her trademark vocals were on-point from the opening notes of ’81 hit Gold & Braid and it wasn’t long before other members of the band took the wheel, longtime guitarist Waddy Wachtel shredding his way into the spotlight.

A show of stories reflecting her most recent release, 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault, the narrative kicked off with Stop Draggin’ My Heart.

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"I'm living in the layers of these stories," Nicks said, recalling a time in 1978 when she nervously told Fleetwood Mac she wanted to record a first solo album. The charming, engaging tale detailed the path to its fruition and Tom Petty's involvement before Hynde burst out of nowhere to sing it alongside Nicks; a moment that felt as epic as an encore. "I swear, that's the first time we did it right in 56 shows. It's all about you, Perth.”

Wearing the original cape she donned during the Bella Donna era, Nicks continued the trip down memory lane, discussing the importance of her second record, The Wild Heart, in establishing her solo career.

A song pulled from "the gothic trunk of lost songs" for 24 Karat Gold, Starshine had the Heartbreakers written all over it; fitting, given that Petty and co played a hand its production.

Flipping the upbeat vibe on its head, Nicks delivered a stripped-back performance for Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream) laying gentle vocals over piano, which let her incredible voice truly shine.

Songs like Fleetwood's Mac Gypsy, Rhiannon and solo hit Edge Of Seventeen needed little to no introduction to evoke wild feelings of nostalgia; their iconic melodies doing all the work, while hits New Orleans and Stand Back were given a new injection of emotion with their accompanying stories, making their lyrics paint more vivid pictures.

The takeaway from the evening: "Keep dreaming - that's it."