[The Nicks Fix]

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
July 9, 2001
Concert Review: Stevie Nicks pleases her fans

By Rick Nowlin, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Can you "go your own way" and still keep your fan base? Judging from a largely worshipful crowd of 13,030 at Post-Gazette Pavilion Friday evening, Stevie Nicks answered that question with just two words.

Heck, yeah.

With former partner and fellow Phoenix native Lindsay Buckingham, she helped transform an obscure British blues-rock band named Fleetwood Mac into a late-1970s pop juggernaut.

For the past couple of decades, however, she's also done her own thing, embracing R&B and dance music in the 1980s and giving a definite feminine flavor in general to rock 'n' roll. As it was, Nicks, clad in her normal black ballet skirt and boots and changing shawls on occasion, delivered a practically flawless show Friday, the kickoff of her latest tour in support of her latest album, "Trouble in Shangri-la," with a solid, versatile seven-piece band plus two back-up singers.

Oh, and a little added attraction -- Sheryl Crow, who produced some of the songs on the new CD. But I'll get to that later.

Nicks' brassy, slightly murky contralto -- she never has displayed much vocal range anyway -- has over the years apparently lost a few higher notes, most notably on the opening "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," a duet with guitarist and musical director Waddy Watchel, dropped a step-and-a half from the original; the Fleetwood Mac classic "Rhiannon"; and the closing "End of Seventeen."

But they all sounded the way they were supposed to, and her trademark on-stage twirls drew loud and sustained ovations throughout the show. "Has Anyone Ever Written," the encore, saw Nicks play torch singer. Only on "Dreams" did any chinks in the armor show, the vocals being a bit weak at the end.

Crow joined the cast in the middle of the first verse of "Gold Dust Woman" to wild applause, in the spirit of "Yeah, c'mon in, join the party." She and Nicks didn't sing together much, and Crow even got to display her wares on "Favorite Mistake" and the western-flavored "Winding Road," allowing Nicks to take a break.

I can't say enough about the players, most of whom Nicks said she's known "forever." The two guitarists, the funkier Carlos Rios and the harder-rockin' Wachtel, covered every part with ease. Scott Plunkett's lovely rubato piano introduction to "Rhiannon" changed the mood of that tune, and percussionist Lenny Castro added plenty of Latin feel to much of the repertoire.

Singer/songwriter/acoustic guitarist Jeffrey Gaines, a Harrisburg native whose voice reminded me just a little bit of a rougher Steve Perry, opened the show. His six-song set of mostly his own songs included a cover version of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." The slightly grooving, preachy "I Know a Man" stood out, but everything he did sounded the same, at one volume and tempo.

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