[The Nicks Fix]

Press Plus (pressplus.com)
September 17, 2001

National anthem biggest hit at Stevie Nicks’ A.C. show

By JOHN CURRAN For The Press

ATLANTIC CITY - It was a rock concert like hundreds of others held at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort over the years. But it was unlike any other.

A giant American flag was mounted high above center stage, illuminated by white spotlights. Another hung high above one of the exits. People in the sellout crowd of approximately 5,000 waved miniature flags above their heads.

And there was a red, white and blue bow affixed to Stevie Nicks' microphone stand.

The biggest applause in the Mark G. Etess Arena on Saturday night didn't come after "Rhiannon" or "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" or the last encore.

It came before the warm-up band even took the stage, when a recorded version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" boomed out over the public address system.

Flags waved. Fans raised their right arms, shaking them defiantly. After the last note was played, the crowd roared even louder. Someone started a "USA! USA!" chant.

For this night, anyway, Nicks was no solo act anymore. She shared the spotlight with the grief, anger and resurgent patriotism felt by her fans in the wake of last week's terror attacks. Without directly mentioning the tragedy, she encouraged her faithful to let music soothe the sting.

"For these two hours, let's give ourselves over to the music," she said early on. "Let's try to let the music make us feel a little better."

She did her best to help them forget for a while, turning in a solid one-hour and 45-minute set that was loaded with old Fleetwood Mac chestnuts as well as her own hits.

Nicks, 53, who parlayed her role as the whirling, waiflike hottie of Fleetwood Mac into a successful solo career, skipped onstage during an instrumental prelude to "Stop Dragging My Heart Around," her 1981 duet with Tom Petty.

She was decked out in black dress with a low-cut bustier and sequined long sleeves and black stack-heel shoes.

The stage set was about what you would expect from Nicks, whose music and themes draw heavily on sorcery and mysticism.

There were two fake stone pillars up front, wrapped in fake vines, and a huge arched window in back of the stage that gave way to various scenes within.

Accompanied by a seven-man band and two female singers, she played "Enchanted" and then two old Fleetwood Mac tunes - "Dreams" and "Gold Dust Woman" - her raspy, quivering voice sounding much deeper than it did in the 1970s.

Indeed, Nicks had to cancel several dates on this tour because of severe bronchitis. (At least two others were canceled after the terrorist attacks.)

Next came "Over and Over Again," followed by "Sorcerer" and then a long piano intro to "Rhiannon," the smash hit from Fleetwood Mac's 1975 album.

What followed was a vastly different take on "Rhiannon" than the studio version, with Nicks singing the whole first verse almost a cappella.

After that came "Stand Back" and then "Planets of the Universe," which she wrote after her breakup with Lindsay Buckingham but failed to persuade Fleetwood Mac to record.

"Too Far From Texas," from her new "Trouble in Shangri-La" record, came next, followed by an up-tempo "Fall From Grace" and a rollicking "Edge of Seventeen."

She and the band left the stage after that, but returned for a double encore of "I Need To Know" and "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?"

Before she left the stage for the last time, she told the crowd to stay strong and love each other.

"Don't let a minute go by, because, my goodness, we just don't know anymore," she said.

On the way out, fans seemed energized by the musical interlude. One said it was a relief to think about something besides the terrorist attacks. Another said she couldn't.

"It felt good to get away from the TV," said Tim Krushinski, 36, of Media, Pa. "We were a little nervous about coming here, but it was a good release."

Michele Kraly, 34, of Galloway Township, said she may have opted to stay home if she hadn't already paid for a ticket. As it was, she said, the music couldn't take her away totally.

"You can't stop thinking about it," she said.

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