Nicks’ “24 Karat Gold Tour” trotted out some golden oldies as well as some fresh material on Wednesday, not to mention spotlighting two rock ‘n’ roll icons. (Review, photo gallery)
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Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde on tour together?
It seemed a little weird at the outset, but by the time Nicks sailed onto the stage at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena on Wednesday night, there proved to be a certain alchemy that made a lot of sense for this “24 Karat Gold Tour.”
And any concertgoer with lingering doubts bought in when the two oddly paired tour mates performed a duet on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” which Nicks originally recorded with Tom Petty.
Now that was golden.
There was Nicks, with her gossamer shawls and sorceress vibe, proclaiming that the Petty song “saved her life.” Or her career, at any rate.
Then witness Pretenders frontwoman Hynde, all sinew and strut, belting the Petty parts in the song. Together, those two grand dames of rock ’n’ roll made beautiful music together on Thanksgiving eve.
At 68, Nicks sounded in top form Wednesday as she warbled some old hits and unearthed some new-to-us songs from the “dark, gothic trunk of mystical, magical things.” From that trunk, she pulled out some songs which had not received their full due over the past 40-some years of her songwriting, or at least, the stories she told to introduce them seemed to imply this.
“Crying in the Night,” for example, harkened back to 1971, when she recorded the beachy gem with Fleetwood Mac bandmate and then-love Lindsey Buckingham and no one paid any attention at the time.
“New Orleans” came out of Nicks watching the impending Hurricane Katrina on TV from “her ocean” in California. And somewhat peculiarly, “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream)” had its origins in Nicks falling for the “Twilight” franchise a few years ago.
ENGAGING STAGECRAFT AND STORY-TELLING
Waddy Wachtel on lead guitar and Carlos Rios on rhythm guitar elevated every song, old or new, known or unknown, with their stringed artistry.
Superb stagecraft, with mystical moonscapes, falling water and – more than once – impressions of Prince showing on massive screens behind the band enriched the experience.
A born storyteller, Nicks’ narrative about almost every song was entertaining and added value to the unknown tunes. At times, it felt like the audience was sitting in her living room, shooting the breeze, learning about her artistic processes.
Still, folks really came to hear the hits and they were rewarded with “Gypsy,” “Stand Back” (which incited most concertgoers to stand up) and Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman.”
Some of that gold dust flickered around Hynde and The Pretenders as they opened with a burly 15-song set.
Taking a page from Nicks’ penchant for playing a bunch of almost unknown songs, Hynde opened with two cuts from a minty new album, October’s “Alone” – the title track and “Gotta Wait” – backed by a dazzling band that featured guitarist James Walbourne and hard-hitting drummer Martin Chambers.
“I love the Midwest,” Hynde said. “People dig guitar-based rock ’n’ roll and that’s what it’s all about!”
Wednesday’s crowd of Midwesterners definitely dug some of the classics, including “Back on the Chain Gang,” “Message of Love” and the ever-sweet “I’ll Stand By You.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Stevie Nicks, The Pretenders
Photos by Anthony Norkus
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC