[The Nicks Fix]

Dallas Morning News
August 4, 2001
Review: Positive spin

Concert unveils Nicks' undimmed mystical allure

By Mario Tarradell / The Dallas Morning News

Just two songs into her show Friday night at Smirnoff Music Centre, Stevie Nicks walked backstage and emerged with a glittery gold shawl wrapped around her black dress. Her seven-piece band began the intro of "Gold Dust Woman" and Ms. Nicks turned dramatic, flaunting hand gestures and body movements and slow spins with arms extended. That shawl now resembled a cape.

She would drape on more shawls as the concert progressed; a silver-speckled black one was striking against her long blond mane. And it's as if each of those shawls embodied part of Ms. Nicks' artistic spirit. She worked them with the same gusto, the same Úlan as her way with the tambourine.

In the midst, Ms. Nicks offered the crowd of 12,000 more than 27 years' worth of material, from songs she wrote for Fleetwood Mac to her solo repertoire. She is, of course, touring to promote Trouble in Shangri-La, her sixth solo album, with Austin singer- songwriter Bob Schneider as her opening act. The Smirnoff stage was decorated like the Shangri-La CD artwork, with twisting vines, earth-colored columns, vases, flowers and a mural of an archway to the outside world as the backdrop.

It's all part of the Nicks mysticism. She remains one of the most influential female artists in the world of rock. Everybody from Sarah McLachlan to Sheryl Crow to Macy Gray has borrowed a piece of Stevie Nicks' persona. And although years of hard living, not to mention excessive belting back when she could, have robbed Ms. Nicks' voice of the haunting power it once had, she still has a distinctive tone.

The new songs seemed more passionate. She sang "Sorcerer," "Every Day" and "Planets of the Universe" with nuance and heart. "Too Far From Texas," a recorded duet with Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines, reveled in its country flavor and killer hook. "Fall From Grace" was a full-on rocker where Ms. Nicks took on that defiant stance as she sang into the microphone.

By contrast, '70s classics such as "Dreams" and "Rhiannon" came off more subdued. Ms. Nicks can no longer hit some of the high notes in "Dreams," and "Rhiannon" was reworked to accommodate her vocal limitations. It began as a piano ballad and then morphed into the signature rocker. She carried the song, make no mistake, but she just doesn't sing it the way she used to.

And yet, Ms. Nicks managed to deliver "Stand Back," one of her biggest solo hits, with zest and plenty of trademark drama. The song has always been a synthesizer-and- percussion marvel, with a groove that sticks to your brain, and she kept up with every beat. Plus, we got more of her spinning with arms extended. Again, the shawl had that capelike effect.

Through it all, Ms. Nicks seemed warm and genuinely happy to be onstage. She never had the superstar air. She chatted with the audience and explained the origins of several songs. At every turn, she had the adoring crowd under her musical spell.


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