[The Nicks Fix]

Aurora Sentinel
August 10, 2001

Mellencamp gets funky; Nicks' song remains the same

By Brian T. Atkinson

It's hard to tell whose followers are more fanatic - John Mellencamp's or Stevie Nicks'. It seemed like half of Indiana drove to the Rockies Monday night to fill Red Rocks to capacity, and Wednesday Fiddler's Green looked to be stuffed with thousands of women - and a good number of men - draped in multiple scarves and various gypsy attire.

They share the common ground of having a devoted following, but what these two gave the audiences was drastically different. Mellencamp took his act down a wildly different path; Nicks stuck to her same old routine. But both worked well.

Coming down with a bit of the Paul Simon fever, Mellencamp spiced up the show with a full band that brought a serious dose of soul to his sometimes bland Midwesterner's two-step. By the third song of his set, "Jack and Diane," it was obvious that this show was going to travel into new territory. The salsa-like version of his greatest hit took some aback, but didn't stop every voice at the amphitheatre from trying to reach each of the song's notes.

As a showman, Mellencamp proved that he's a firm believer in the David Lee Roth school of puffed-out chest entertainment. Walking the peacock walk, he punched the air to the sound of cymbals crashing and stomped the stage to the pound of the bass drum, all while constantly shimmying across the stage.

Country crooner Trisha Yearwood opened the evening with a 50-minute set that drew most of the crowd to the show earlier than usual. A star in her own right, Yearwood even had fans just waiting for Mellencamp to show up mumbling to each other in approval.

While Mellencamp's crowd is devoted and as down the middle as vanilla ice cream, Nicks' is devoted and as free-spirited as the band of gypsies they want to be.

One of the few people on the planet who can drop 17,000 jaws in admiration with a simple 360 spin, Nicks wasted no time giving fans some of their Fleetwood Mac favorites.

Opening with her 1981 duet with Tom Petty, "Stop Dragging My Heart Around," she drew the first mammoth roar as early as the fourth song, "Gold Dust Woman," and from that point through the 1975 Fleetwood Mac classic "Rhiannon," the volume stayed at a fevered pitch.

Wearing a loose, flowing black dress and a revolving collection of shawls, Nicks belted out the hits - and a good helping of future hits from her new album, Trouble in Shangri-La - with her trademark rusty voice, and proved herself an affable hostess for an evening serenading a bunch of witchy women wanna-bes.

The shame of big-name shows and reviews of such is that every once in a while there's an opener who serves as more than someone for people to ignore until the Real Deal comes out.

That was the case Wednesday night.

The seats and lawn were barely sprinkled with bodies when Bob Schneider came out promptly at 7 p.m. The Austin-based folk rocker and his band ran through much of his new CD, "Lonelyland," a joyfully schizophrenic trip through cultures, countries and common ground.

"Under My Skin" will become a favorite when Schneider finds the recognition he rightfully deserves, and "Tokyo" tells a story that is sure to round up a full plate of alt-country worshipers.

Soon enough, critics will cease to identify him as Sandra Bullock's boyfriend and praise him for being an artist capable of capturing hearts in his own right.


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