It was not only a big surprise, but a pleasant surprise. The last two times that Stevie Nicks performed at Blossom Music Center, her performances were not all that great. In fact, they were dull, lifeless and uninspired. For those shows, Nicks seemed to bore even herself.
Nicks was an unbelievably changed woman for last Tuesday's performance. She was great. She was alive, responsive, revved up and putting out. She sounded stronger, clearer and altogether better than she has in many a year. She even looked better ... healthier than she has in quite some time. There was color in her face and she's even trimmed down a bit.
Nicks was in the game on this night. She actually interacted with the crowd. She talked to them, seemingly spontaneously. It didn't come across as if she were employing prepackaged song introductions and thank you's. She seemed genuinely gracious for each swell of applause and at times surprised that certain songs garnered the applause they did. She waved a cutesy princess wave to some of the folks at the foot of the stage as they danced and cheered, and pointed and waved more noticeably to acknowledge those further back with banners and signs professing their loyalty to her.
Nicks was not only in the game, she was on top of her game. She sang with the fire she had a decade ago. When she danced her famous whirling dance, she smiled as she did so. Something recharged this woman's batteries. It may have been stimulated by her recent reunion with her Fleetwood Mac mates, or maybe being afforded the luxury of compiling material for ENCHANTED, her recently released three-disc box set. Whatever the reason, her newfound passion really made the show.
Her set followed the lead of ENCHANTED in that it was a collection of hits, Nicks' personal favorites and assorted rarities. The 18-song, 90-minute set started electric with "Outside The Rain," "Gold Dust Woman" and "Enchanted." This portion of the set rocked soundly. It revved the crowd and brought them to their feet (at least those in the pavilion) and kept them there through the end of "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around."
From there, the set went acoustic for four songs, starting with "After The Glitter Fades," from BELLA DONNA, and including the rarity "Garbo" (a non-album B-side), "Rose Garden" and "Sleeping Angel."
The momentum ebbed modestly through this portion of the program, but by the nature of these softer songs, it was expected, and it was better than if she had spread them out over the night.
With the stools, accordion and acoustic guitars tucked away, the band plugged back in for the remainder of the set. With strobe lights fluttering, the segment kicked off with a pumped and rocking "Stand Back," moved through crowd-pleasing renderings of "Rhiannon" and "Landslide" and then was capped powerfully by "Edge Of Seventeen." The encores were "I Need To Know," another Tom Petty tune, and "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You."
Nicks' set was great, but the set delivered by Boz Scaggs was even better. If there is such a thing as a perfect set, then it was what Scaggs offered. Such a great voice this guy has. He plays a Gibson guitar like nobody's business, and he has a band that not only matched his talent, but seemed to amplify it.
What he offered was a very tasty mix of favorites from over the years, including "Look What You've Done" and "We're All Alone" (made famous by Rita Coolidge). There were nine songs in the set, and the last two swung back to the chart-toppers "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle."
Earlier on, on the SCENE stage atop the hill, Amherst-based Lint rocked mightily and at times almost industrially. These guys are hard to effectively tag. They do more than cross-breed genres, they put them through a blender. There are elements of techno, metal, '80s rock, funk and a host of other genres contained in their sound. Influenced by so many you might think they sound schizo-phrenic, but they don't. They pretty much have their own niche.
The cool stuff from their set included "Automatic," "Ride," "In My Mood" and "Power War," which ended up in the soundtrack to a recent HBO movie called BODY COUNT.
Thanks to Victoria Herrick for sending this article to The Nicks Fix.