July 15, 2001
Nicks draws crowd with no `Trouble'
by Sarah Rodman
Stevie Nicks, Tweeter Center, Mansfield, last night.
The nightbird has taken flight once again.
Touring behind her first new solo album in eight years, the solid `Trouble in Shangri-La,' Stevie Nicks alighted on the Tweeter Center stage last night and reclaimed her stake as one of the most enchanting women of rock 'n' roll.
Predictably and comfortingly attired in a frilly black gown with slivers of sparkly silver - which she occasionally covered with shawls - Nicks took to the stage to the ominous harmonies of the title track to her new album before launching into the sly, big beat wallop of `Stop Draggin' My Heart Around.' Veteran guitarist Waddy Wachtel ably filled in for Tom Petty on vocals, played blistering solos all night and served as leader to Nicks' sturdy nine-piece band throughout the hour and 45-minute set which seamlessly mixed old and new.
Highlights included a sublime version of Fleetwood Mac's willowy `Rhiannon' which featured a rapturous piano intro and Nicks full-bodied immersion into the soaring vocals and ethereal mysticism. That song's new spiritual sister `Planets of the Universe' also found Nicks nailing a gut-wrenching wail.
Although time and well-documented substance abuse appear to have robbed the 53-year old vocalist of her upper register, two solid backing singers and indispensable special guest Sheryl Crow filled in the brighter colors in the mix.
As one of Nicks' most gifted musical heirs and a sizable contributor to her new album, Crow proved to be a shot in the arm in general. She made her entrance during the hitching rhythms of `Gold Dust Woman' and added goosebump harmony vocals to the song's gauzy but rollicking climax as Nicks sandpapery lower growls synched with her higher-pitched keening. Crow also lent a swaying acoustic guitar to likeminded new rocker `Sorcerer,' aching harmonies to the country-flavored `Too Far From Texas' and played her own funky rockers `My Favorite Mistake' and `Every Day is a Winding Road.'
Not that Nicks' performance required too much assistance. She conserved her voice wisely to pull off the inimitable caterwaul that falls in the middle of `Edge of Seventeen,' itself the night's peak with the spiraling guitars, thunderous drums, flashing white lights and Nicks' vocals converging perfectly. She also put her older and wiser sensibility to good use in the gracious piano ballad `Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You.'
Doing her trademark twirls, Nicks drew wild cheers from the audience, which seemed to bolster both her confidence and energy throughout the night.