[The Nicks Fix]

VH1 Storytellers

Reviews of the taping of Stevie for VH1's Storytellers - August 18, 1998

storytellers ticket

from Bardor66
I was fortunate enough to attend VHI's storytellers last night at Sony Studios in NYC.

Needless to say IT WAS AMAZING. I think the room holds about 150 people, so it was very intimate. The setting was quite informal, with Stevie re-doing songs, talking candidly to the audience, messing around on the piano, changing outfits, making jokes, getting her make-up re-applied time and time again, having fun with the band, taking questions from the audience, etc. etc.

I cannot say if this is the complete song list (and the order is definitely wrong) but she did perform these songs from my best recollection.

Dreams, After The Glitter Fades, Garbo, Standback, Edge of Seventeen, Rose Garden, Rhiannon, Sleeping Angel, Landslide, Gold Dust Woman, Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You.

She played a touch of Sara on the piano but it was not for telecast. She changed outfits a few times and looked radiant.

from Amy Costello
I can not believe it, I did it, I got into the taping of VH1 Storytellers. They taped it last night (Aug 18th) at Sony music studios in NYC, we started at about 8:45PM, (45 minutes late) and it ended a few minutes before midnight, too bad too , Stevie was getting better as it got later. They sat me in the first row behind Stevie, it was a circular setting, we were all surrounding her, and it is not that many rows so it is a VERY intimite setting and it was absolutely my dream come true. I still cannot believe how close I was to her, even closer when she came to take sips of her drink. Everyone is going to love this show, I can give some behind the scenes details. There was some confusion about the concept of story first, song second, which I think they should have made clear to her beforehand, once she got the hang of it though, she really enjoyed it. We had pretty much double takes of every song and story, (oh well!) but she was ad-libbing, no script, so every story got a little better the second time around. We, of course had to act like we didnt just hear this. She thought her stories were depressing and sad and kept apologizing, she was nervous at times, but had no reason to be, she was funny, charming and looked great. She turned around quite a bit during the songs and made some eye contact with the audience in back of her, by the end of the show she was very friendly with us. She was very playful with the band and they adore her, "our lady", they called her. There were some audience questions asked and one guy asked about the Tower and Forest of Black roses??, and whether they would ever be released, she went off on this guy, saying those tapes were taken from her house, dubbed and returned and she never knew it, and she despises bootleggers, he was like, I didnt do it , Im sorry, I just love the songs. She never did answer the question. She did go around at the end and hug, kiss and greet people, she did not come over to our section though. Thank God , Stevie likes to take long breaks (do I need to be powdered?, was heard a lot), gave us a chance to go to the bathroom and if you're out in the hall when they start again, you do not get back in. Im still in shock that I did this, and to think I was trying to talk myself out of trying. What a night!!!
from Anonymous
To say that the taping was amazing would be an understatement. We literally had Stevie and her band in our living room; it was a very small studio and a very intimate setting. She had to reshoot Landslide, Rhiannon, Rose Garden, Stand Back, and Dreams-in other words, she had to redo those songs again because of glitches during filming. Needless to say, the diehard fans in the audience were NOT complaining. How often does Stevie do those songs twice in front of you in one night, complete with commentary and joking around in between? The musicians stood around waiting for Stevie for some time before we got treated to at least 30 minutes of them taking requests and playing while we all waited for her. They jammed on 'Black Magic Woman','Inagotadavita', 'Little Wing', and Frank Simes played his take on Hendrix's 'Star Spangled Banner'. The guest keyboardist goofed around playing, 'My Favorite Things', 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes', and some baseball park themes ('Chaaaaarge!'). Stevie looked, well, amazing, of course, the lighting on her was beautiful and she all but glowed. The costumes were the same as on the tour, with the exception of her last 'Rhiannon' outfit...wow! There was a Q&A session, and four or so fans got to ask her questions. She said she'd spent the night up trying to figure out what to say to us about all the songs (there were about ten). We were at least an hour late starting the shoot. It was supposed to start at 8, but Stevie didn't come out till at least 9. It took about 3 hours to film, and we enjoyed every minute in her company. She interacted and goofed around with the audience and her band and the makeup people. She is really very funny. Just imagine the talking she did on the 'Enchanted' tour, times about 50! She kept everyone very entertained with her expressions and little gestures. She is very, very sweet. She danced so energetically and so much on 'Stand Back' that all fans will collectively faint when they watch it. It was officially the BEST ONE EVER. I have to give her a lot of credit, being so patient with having to reshoot and the little delays. She was very gracious, and so was her band. It really was like having her with you in your living room. I can say, as can everyone who was there last night, that we actually got to know her, and so will everyone who watches the special-you will LOVE it. And I am just so lucky and happy and grateful that I could be there last night. Happy Regards and Greetings From Cloud 9....
from Dave
Well, Stevie performed 11 songs last night--four of them twice--and the spirit of Tina Turner seemed to possess her at times!!! I'm still totally high and in shock from how fabulous it was, and don't even know where to begin. But my "date", Stephanie (GldDstWomn) and I both agreed it was the best performance we'd EVER seen her give-- especially "Has Anyone Ever Written", which she knocked out of the park, even better than the tour or the Letterman show.

We waited an interminable time for doors to open. About 100 people were there, cramped together around a TINY stage, with everyone practically on top of each other, including the band. Thanks to Stephanie being such a knockout, we got seated behind the band, FRONT ROW, which the producer informed us was the "beautiful people" seating since it would be on TV the most. LOL I think he was joking, but to see Steph, you'd believe it! We sat with about 30 people--about 70 were in front of the stage--and we were right behind the drummer and to his right, so close we could almost touch him. So he was tour our left and Benmont Tench of the Heartbreakers, the guest keyboardist, was right to our right. The best part was the during all the little breaks, Benmont came over to Steph and I and just chatted--he's hilariously funny, and kept us quite entertained. We could read their set lists taped to the floor, so we were happy to know what was coming!

The band came out about 8:20 and the audienced played "stump the band" for about 30 minutes until Stevie was ready to come out. The nailed every request! Then Benmont started cutting up and playing the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and stuff like that. The band would stop and mingle every once in a while--so outgoing! But then everyone was so on top of each other, it was hard not to!

The producer coached us a bit, telling us a funny story about the Phil Collins taping when the whole audience looked into it except for this one guy who looked like he'd eaten lemons. The producer said everytime he sees that show, all he can focus on is that one guy. "But 10,000 would have killed to get in here, so the ones of you who made it must love Stevie Nicks!" He said she had been on his short list to have on since the show's inception, and he was so thrilled she'd agreed to finally be on!

Stevie was SO NERVOUS when she came out. We were about 10 feet from her. We saw the back of her head most of the time, but we all knkow how much she turns around! And she kept comin over to talk to the drummer, so she was 4 feet away several times, and we could hear her chat with him! It was awesome! Everytime she was nervous or frustrated she would turn around and mug to the drummer, and seeing such an intimate side to her--the real Stevie--was the real treat of the show.

In fact, she was so nervous for the first five songs that she kept messing up her introductions to them. She introduced Rose Garden four times, telling the story different each time, and later when the producer asked her to redo it once again, she said NO I WON'T very firmly, and he backed down like a scolded puppy. But after the Q&A section, her mood turned on a dime, and she suddenly became very chatty and comfortable. But even when she was nervous, she kept cracking joke after joke. I never knew she had such a GREAT sense of humor--very fast on the comeback and stuff.

The funniest thing for me personally was during the Q&A session. She was only taking questions from the front. I yelled her name at one point, and had my hadn raised, and kept clearing my throat, cracking up Land (the drummer) and Benmont and the bassist. So they started trying to get her attention. Land was like poinint his thumb back over his shoulder, and Benmont was whispering "Stevie, the back!" but she didn't hear him. When the 7 questions were over, Carlos, Benmont, the bassist and Land all turned around at the same time, looked at me apologetically and said at exactly the same time, "We tried!" Stephanie and I cracked up laughing and that's when Benmont started coming over to us all the time during breaks.

Steph and I were just whooping it up and dancing and loving the whole thing. At one point, when the producer asked her to redo "Stand Back", I whooped really loud and Stevie turned and seemed to look right at me and said something. Steph snorted and I said, "What?' And Steph was very indignant--"She said 'Quiet in the Back." But I laughed and said, "No, she said 'Again with Stand Back!?'" It was cute that Steph was defensive of me!

"Stand Back" is not one of my favorite live performances---in fact, I didn't like the Leno performance much at all except for her energy. But last night was ironic---they did a slightly different instrumental...more Prince....more funky. But Stevie sang the first half almost EXACTLY like the studio version, which I havne't ever heard her do before. She did the second part more like her normal version, but still closer to the original. It was fantastic!!! But she was even more energetic than on tour or during the Leno show--- she danced like a dervish, and hopping up and down and getting REALLY dirty with Carlos. She was jumping up and down like a pogo stick, going like six inches off the ground, spinning while she did it! It was INSANE! And all on that tiny little stage! And she maintained that energy the second time as well! I couldn't believe it---she must have been really winded afterward. And she kicked almost over her head, like Ann Wilson in the video to "Never". A truly Tina Turner performance. She got pretty wild on Edge of Seventeen as well, and told a long elaborate story about John Lennon and her uncle, which I'm sure you all know. She explained about running "up the stairs and down the hall" looking for an attendent when her uncle died right in front of her.

Most of her stories were ones we'd all heard before. She started telling a really different one for one song, but then said, "Wait, I've told you much more than you need to know---these people would KILL me if I told this." She made the whole audience promise that we woudn't say anything, and I for one will never break that promise! Then she told the more familiar story, which seems to start halfway through the real story. But she never finished that first half, so the audience is just as curious as all of you, except we know the beginning. I'm dying still! I want to know!

You'll also be interested in her answer to a question about whether she'd ever studio-record "Forest of the Black Roses" or "The Tower" or other great bootlegs. She didn't seem to be annoyed or lose her temper, but she seemed exasperated that people even have heard these songs, "much less know their names!" But she did say that that wouldn't stop her from recording them for albums in the future, if she ever watned to. She was very clear about that, and I was relieved. She also told stories about Rhiannon and Landslide that I'd never heard before--rather, she added details that I'd never heard before--but I'm leaving all that for the show. If they edit out details, I'll post what she said. But I want to leave some awe and amazement for the actual air date.

She performed 11 songs, all from the Enchanted tour, although interestingly, she did kind of different arrangements for a few of them. Especially STand Back, which had a really funky beat. And the one really great surprise I'll give away---skip down if you don't want to know---she performed the piano version of Rhiannon (twice actually, the second time on her own volition). Steph and I were laughing, because neither of us likes that version and her "plunking" at the keyboards. But she played really well, although she stopped a couple of times the first time to find her place on the keyboard again. But she played a shorter version, and really wailed both times; it was a much more emotional performance than the Enchanted version, which seemed kind of hollow to me. She did it all alone, with no backup or anything, with a big grand piano they brought out just for that. It was the last thing she did.

Between 11 songs and the explanation and Q&A, I'm expecting that they'll cut out half the songs she did from the actual 50-minute show. The whole thing lasted almost FOUR HOURS.

What was truly amazing was how her mood changed so ddramatically after doing the Trilogy (which everyone kept calling the trology, like some inside joke, with even Stevie calling it that and mugging like "What am I supposed to do?"). She mugged a lot for the camera and the audience, but most of that was between-song stuff that'll never see air, I'm sure. And it was great watching her get makeup touch-ups and stuff. Benmont asked Stephanie if she wanted the makeup girl to come touch Steph up. It was really cute. At one point Stevie was like, "I need a touch-up! I really need a touch-up! And summoned the woman out, and then Stevie touched up Mindy Stein herself! It was really cute. The girls were sitting down the whoel time.

Oh---the set! It was REALLY elabroate, with candelabras everywhere, and chandeliers, and these really cool fiber optic things whispering down from the sound stage, scintillating, with a little curl at the end. Really beautiful, and VERY Stevie. The show was so long that they had to keep putting new candles in the candelabras.

Stevie did, in this order, Dreams, Landslide, After the Glitter Fades, Garbo, Rose Garden, Sleeping Angel, Dreams and Landslide again, Stand Back, Gold Dust Woman, Edge of Seventeen, Stand Back again, Has Anyone Ever Written, Rhiannon (piano) TWICE.

She totally nailed every single song, except the first Landslide--- she was SO nervous that it was kind of uninspired, and got a false start, though she ended it really well. The second time was PERFECT and both times, it had a different arrangement than the Enchanted tour or Dance. The producers asked her to redo just the first 30 seconds or so of Dreams, because she just walked out at the begining and started performing,and told the story afterward. So they wanted her to tell the story first, and then cut to the beginning, and then they'd slice the two together. Stevie said OK, but they just kept gong and redid the entire song! Not that they needed to---both versions were PERFECT. In fact, both times she again did a version MUCH closer to the original 1977 studio cut, unlike her modified version she's been singing for 15 years! I was almost in tears---I love the Rumours version so much, and here I got to hear her do it! She didn't do the repetitions, as usual ("Who am I to keep you down, down?"). Also, for 15 years she modified the melody a lot to fit her different voice. But this time she sang it almost exactly the way she did originally! Also, she's been singing it a bit ahead of the beat, and again she stayed right with the beat like the studio version.

She went NUTS on Edge of Seventeen, especially the end, and did a little speaking in tongues thing. It was really INTENSE. She also sang it much closer to the studio version than her tours. I don't know if VH1 asked her to, or her voice is just back to its original form. But it was truly great, because I'd just seen her three times on the tour, so these versions were different.

"HAs Anyone" was truly the showstopper. She got a standing ovation. Also a little different version, most notably the very end. She came out front and center with the msot AMAZING dress----the kind of tuxedo top with long tails, but the dress was three layers of very sheer chiffon, with BLACK LEGGINGS, not another skirt, beneath it. And it had a HUGE train that was connected to her left wrist, so that when she lifted her arms for "Do it FOR...THE WORLD", the whole thing rose up really dramatically. It was awesome. But at the end, when she does "poet, priest of nothing, legend", Benmont stopped right before the last "Nothing", which she held out really long, just her voice, no piano....and ended it right there. It was INCREDIBLE. The best version EVER. Stephanie said it seemed very Barbra Streisand, the whole song. Very dramatic, very intense, with her voice dancing and gliding over notes, and very strong.

That was not a surprise, but it wsa the third best thing about the night (with the awesome Stand Back being the fourth). The second best thing, and biggest surprise, was her awesome performance of "SleepingAngel." I always thought that was her weakest performance during "Enchanted"....her voice seemed most tired and unamibitious during this song. I expected the same last night. But she again totally gave everything to that song, and sounded as good on it as she did on everything else. I was in shock and awe!

But the VERY BEST THING about the whole night won't be on TV at all, but I had to share it with all of you, because it's so shocking and special and completely spontaneous and out of left field.

When they brought the grand piano out, for Rhiannon and the last song of the night, she sat at the piano and a team of stylists and hair, makeup people came out. This one woman sat and fiddled with the train of her outfit flaring out behind the piano for more than five minutes (people were even laughing, it was so finicky--Stevie laughed with us). But while she's sitting there with her hair getting brushed out and the outfit being fixed, she started plunking some notes on the piano....which quickly became SARA!!!!!!! The familiar, syncopated Sara opening piano notes. Then Stevie sang, "You're the poet in my heart," and the audience WENT NUTS. Stevie didn't even acknowledge it, other than to start the song over, this time bending over the keyboard and seeming to retreat into herself. She played the notes over about three times, then lifted her head and sang, "drowning, in the sea of love, where everyone would love to drown." Everyone got completely still, afriad to break her revery. "But now it's gone, it doesn't matter anymore, when you build your house, then call me....home...." More piano. "Saaaara, Saaaara, Saaaaara." Then suddenly she just stopped cold. The audience burst into frantic applause, whoooing and yelling "STEVIE!!!!". She got this really embarrassed look on her face, the assistant finished with the train, and that was that.

I never thought I'd get to hear Sara live--even just the first minute.

from Jeffrey Christian - ancientqueen@hotmail.com
I heard about the Stevie Storytellers taping the Saturday before the show. It was to be taped here, where I work, at Sony Studios, as most Storytellers are. I called ALL my friends in a panic {you see, back in February, during Grammy week, the Mac rehearsed here, too, and my friends never witnessed me in such a state of catharsis before--yes i did see the rehearsal}. To know that I would experience, THISCLOSE, Stevie, as well as experience the rehearsal the night before AND meet her...well, let's just say that if I died that night, my life would have reached the absolute!

What to do, what to do, I thought. I was nervous, indeed--as an employee of the studio I have access to any show I want, but, security was extra tight around Stevie, because of that kook that was arrested a few weeks back for stalking her. But, through the powers that be, I was given access, and was allowed. Because of my VIP status, and my employment here, I was able to enter the stages area before any of the ticket holders, and sit wherever I want. Now, I did not want to sit in the very first row, because that would be TOOOO close to experience the whole atmosphere, so I sat in the row immediately behind, right in front of the mike, right next to the candelabra. Perfect for the ambience. As they ushered the ticket holders in, I motioned to Mike, the friend i bought along, and he hurriedly sat next to me, unable to believe the sojourn we were about to embark upon...

There isn't really much more I can add to the other postings here, as far as Stevie's ethereal performance is concerned. STAND BACK being the real revelatory performance--not since the WILD HEART tour at Radio City, in 1983, have I seen her display such a nova-like burst of chaotic dancing. It was never my favourite Stevie live song, as her pre-Dance years found her meandering through the words in practical inertia. But, here--she was dazzling!! Flailing, whirling, grooving, seducing--kicking!! One kick even flew above her eye level. And she did it twice...both just as enthralling!!! Another highlight was HAS ANYONE EVER WRITTEN ANYTHING FOR YOU. She told the tragic tale that we all knew already, about Joe Walsh and his daughter, but reiterating the story does not diminish the heartbreak, and the tears, falling down my face {as usual}. I was NOT disappointed with LANDSLIDE, but neither time she did it was my favourite, either. During the Dance tour and the Enchanted tour, she altered the melody to a more lilting and emotional level, bending the lines "chilDREN GET OLder and I"M GETTING OLder, too" to a more ironic level. Here, she stuck to the MTV Dance version, which, of course, did NOT stop the tears from flowing down my face {as usual} both times.

And to hear her sing even a few lines from SARA was a joy to behold, sitting behind the piano, ad-libbing it unexpectedly. The last time I heard SARA live, was during the Rock A Little tour at Madison Square Garden in 1986. When she stopped, and the audience burst out in cheers, Stevie said "See, I did write it and can play it!" alluding to that bozo who accused her of plagiarism a few years back.

I was also thrilled she did the acoustic trilogy into SLEEPING ANGEL {a few crew members and the band kept saying "trology", which was not an inside joke--one of the crew accidentally said it instead of trilogy, so everyone kept the jest going}--it was a highlight of my life during the Enchanted tour {Would I dare to ever DREAM i'd ever hear GARBO and/or SLEEPING ANGEL live!?!?!?!?!}, and in such an intimate setting, made the emotional intensity more electrifying and bittersweet {if you could feel both at the same time}.

I would like to respond to Amy's posting, though. I was the gentleman who asked Stevie about the demos, and she was NOT AT ALL upset with the question. I stated simply that, she has written great songs that few people have heard, such as FOREST OF THE BLACK ROSES, THE TOWER and JULIET { I meant to say JULIA, that great Wild Heart out-take, but most Stevie fans knew what I was talking about}--and she did tell the story of how they were stolen from her house, then put back, but that wouldn't prevent her from re-recording them in the future, if she wanted. While answering her question about the theft, I said "It wasn't me!", and along with the rest of the audience, Stevie laughed. Just speaking to her, getting to talk to her, making HER LAUGH!!! It was all very surreal--almost dream-like, like I was a living Salvatore Dali painting.

When I stood up to ask the question, I said to her "I'm not going to stand up here and tell you how much i worship you, because that is obvious, and I'm here!" Then, once she answered my question I said..."Okay, I'll say it...God, I LOVE YOU!", which got a round of applause. Stevie bowed her head with a thank you. So you see, there was no bad vibes in asking the question. It went well.

If my question does not air, that's okay--I EXPERIENCED this night. Just the knowledge that I did what I've been wishing since I was ten years old was sufficed by a lifetime of devotion.

I must conclude this, because to express the scale of emotions would truly require an eternal scroll...True Stevie fans understand the intangible bond and utter spirituality of her. And I find new superlatives every time I think of that night. I guess the evening could be summed up as such--after waiting for Stevie on 53rd street, to part, where we met and thanked the band, and where Stevie was whisked away into the waiting limo, Mike and I went out for a 2am dinner. Sitting across from each other, eating silently, we looked up at each other, and said "Did this really happen?" Yes, it did...and it was purely enchanting {no pun intended}--truly the grandest experienced in my rock and roll life...

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