December 3, 2016
Chicago, IL United Center
|Stevie Nicks & Chrissie Hynde|
by Janet Pellegrini
Whatever enchanting sorceress who paired these two musical powerhouses together did us a great favor.
Chrissie Hynde with the strength and clarity of a timeless voice spiced with her sexy strutting attitude took us through her remarkable list of hits.
Mystery Achievement, Brass in Pocket, Stop Your Sobbing (1980)
Middle of the Road, Back on the Chain Gang (1984)
My City Was Gone – her homage to her hometown Akron, Ohio (1984)
Don't Get Me Wrong (1986)
I'll Stand By You (1994)
Chrissie's soulfully haunting, Hymn to Her (She Will Always Carry On), "Something is lost, But
It was obvious the audience were big Pretenders fans and Chrissie sang their hits with panache and pleasure. Chrissie worked the entire stage and I found myself not just listening to her singing, but watching her acumen on the guitar as well. She gave appropriate props and dedicated her show to Stevie.
Stevie Nicks gave the audience an autobiographical tour spanning her 4-decade career of writing and performing some of the most iconic music of those years. Stevie claiming burn out with performing her usual hits - which is what most fans salivate for in their concert experience - instead sang songs that never made it onto the albums throughout her career. Mind you when you are this talented and recording both solo and with Fleetwood Mac, even the cutting floor songs deserve acclaim. Or as Stevie called them her songs in the magical mystical trunk of set aside dreams.
Everyone knows Stevie Nicks was a member of Fleetwood Mac and first gained fame with them in 1975 and that she also released a duo album Buckingham Nicks (1973), with Lindsey Buckingham. But did you know this background tidbit: Stevie told us it was important to her to create a solo album of her own work and in 1980 made Bella Donna. She shared that her producer on that album told her she had made a great collection of songs, but her album lacked a single. He told her that another of his artists, Tom Petty, was willing to let her have a song he wrote that would make a great single for her album. As she tells it, she was initially indignant to have someone else's work be necessary to launch her work and her producer's response was “okay, but without this single no one will ever hear this album and your solo career will tank”. Overnight she realized the wisdom of the advice and her decision brought into Bella Donna the hit single Stop Dragging My Heart Around, a still fresh to this day duet between Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.
|Stevie Nicks & Chrissie Hynde|
Back to the Lindsey Buckingham connection, Stevie had met him as a fellow high school student and played in a band with him prior to their duo album, but that 1973 duo album although a commercial flop did gain the attention of members of Fleetwood Mac who invited the pair to join the band in 1974. By the way, I never understood why the Buckingham Nicks album was a flop, I loved that album and just about wore it out!
It was very sweet of Stevie to treat her audience like an old trusted friend and chat about the real life reality of being a musician. Her introduction to her song Belle Fleur, told the repeated times of saying goodbye to her lover and going on tour, not knowing if she would be back in 2 months, 6 months or years. She gave us the wave from the limo's window to her boyfriend, saying although they were saying goodbye like there would be a tomorrow, she knew that, he knew that - it was over. Not because they had made a decision to end it, it was just common collateral damage in the mercurial life of a touring musician.
Stevie made numerous costume adaptations throughout her show, that included a blue sheer brocade cape which she spread like gossamer wings for the stage lights to shine through. Part of the well-orchestrated production included a multi-split screen that encompassed the band, that displayed a variety of really beautiful graphics and designs. So when Stevie came out in this brocade cape, the large central screen showed her in the very same cape from the 1980 Bella Donna album cover! She said her Mom who passed 2 years ago would have told her, "See Stevie you chose that fabric so well it stood the test of time". A statement that has some more obvious applicability to her illustrious career and songs.
Ms. Nicks did, in the end, gift us with several of her big hits including; Gold Dust Woman, Crying in the Night, Edge of Seventeen, Rhiannon and finished her encore set with my favorite Landslide.
The band assembled to take its final bow and Stevie told us that especially in these uncertain times we should not lose heart, keep focused on what we want to make of ourselves and the world and be good to each other along the way.