[The Nicks Fix]

LA Daily News
October 11, 2001

Stevie Nicks winds up latest tour in L.A.

By Scott Holleran, Correspondent

Stevie Nicks, among the world's most enduring female rock stars, took the stage at the Universal Amphitheatre Tuesday night, announced her relief to be home in L.A., and promised the packed crowd a couple of hours of good times as respite from a troubled world. The Fleetwood Mac singer did not disappoint. Buoyed by the enthusiastic audience -- a wide variety of rock fans, including many dressed in the flowing dresses for which she is known -- Nicks was in top form. Though her voice is deeper and she seems to go through the motions of her Welsh witch routine, Fleetwood Mac's most popular solo artist showcased her maturity, belted out perfect renditions of her new and classic songs and rejoiced in her renewed career focus, which is paying off with the popularity of her best album in years, "Trouble in Shangri-La."

Backed by an excellent band and joined repeatedly by Sheryl Crow, who produced five songs on Nicks' new album, Nicks bellowed the Mac hits, including "Dreams" and "Gold Dust Woman," and the infectious "Everyday" and "Too Far From Texas" off the new album.

The show suffered slightly from road fatigue -- the Universal performances mark the end of her tour -- especially during the defiant, percussion-heavy "Stand Back," which was marred by a hurried performance and higher-pitched background vocals that overwhelmed the sweep of the synthesizer. But Nicks, who was staying at New York's Waldorf-Astoria during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, deserves credit for continuing her tour during America's darkest days, when other celebrities went into hiding, and who can blame her for wanting to wrap things up?

Highlights included each performance with Sheryl Crow, who sang "My Favorite Mistake" and provided the show with its biggest burst of energy, "Everyday Is a Winding Road"; a surprise appearance by Don Henley for his and Nicks' popular duet, "Leather and Lace"; and a ripping version of Nicks' classic "Edge of Seventeen" from her debut solo album, "Bella Donna," most recently sampled by Destiny's Child.

Nicks left the audience -- young and old, black, brown and white -- breathless with her second encore, "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You," a tender ballad from her '80s smash album, "Rock a Little." Donning a hat with feathers, the icon of '70s rock exhibited a soft but strong cabaret style that suits her emerging status as a heroine to today's rock female vocalists.

The intimate style also produced the evening's best moment: Nicks performed her classic "Rhiannon" flawlessly, with an understated instrumental accompaniment that accentuated her voice -- a more confident voice that has acquired a sense of urgency without sacrificing her familiar plaintive plea.

Using a microphone decorated in red, white and blue ribbons, surrounded by two giant American flags, Nicks chatted about recent events and her memories of coming to Los Angeles in 1971; she was genuinely generous and grateful.

Opening act California, a classic rock band that released its self-titled debut album earlier this year, stirred the early crowd with an impressive set that included the band's haunting ballad, "Helpless." Though lead singer and band founder John Gregory's strained vocals are best during his ballads, the eagerly received California shows real promise -- and boasts a genuine talent in drummer Max M.

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