This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
"She was magical. Make sure you put that in your write-up," my wife insisted upon leaving Saturday's Stevie Nicks concert at Vivint SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City.
She had a point. How else to explain an artist I had no particular affinity for prior to entering the building delivering two and a quarter hours of the best concert-going experience of my adulthood?
Magic seems as good an explanation as any.
OK, so you could argue that many of the live performances bolstered by two guitarists, a bassist, drummer, Hammond organist, grand pianist, two female backing vocalists, and the occasional Nicks-shaken tambourine were infused with a depth and energy that isn't always apparent (to me, anyway) on her recordings.
That hardly tells the whole story, though Nicks proved quite adept at just that, often preceding or following the tunes that comprised the night's setlist many pulled from her "gothic trunk of lost songs" with meandering, colorful and humorous tales.
Among her topics of conversation:
• Her two-plus years growing up in Utah: "My parents threatened to send me to that Catholic [high] school downtown if I didn't get a B-plus average [at Wasatch Junior High]. … That place turned out to be a lot fun! It was coed! I didn't brag about it 'cause I knew they'd whip me out of that school and put me in a convent."
• Her humble pre-Fleetwood Mac career: "I was still a waitress and a cleaning lady, and I had a Toyota Corolla with no reverse. And all of a sudden I'm flying first class and riding in a limousine something I never thought I'd do unless I was the one driving it."
• Her expensive-yet-theoretically-practical fashion proclivities: "This is the original 'Bella Donna' cape. My mother, if she were standing here, would fall over if she knew how much it cost. It was $2,000! It's made of silk chiffon! … But look at it not even a loose thread anywhere. So, you take $2,000 and spread it over 30-something years … now, all of a sudden, if my mother was standing here today, she would say, 'That was a very good choice of fabric!' "
Nicks also spun yarns of having to promise not to break up Fleetwood Mac in order to make her first solo record (but giving her label a panic attack by quasi-joking that what she really wanted to do was join Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), having nothing to do one night in Brisbane, Australia, and winding up "thoroughly and completely in love with the love story of Bella and Edward" after getting sucked into the first two "Twilight" films, and meeting a young Prince sometime between 1975-77 "when hardly anyone knew who he was" and remarking to him, "You don't say much do you? You need to talk a little more."
Of course, Nicks also has a way with words in her songs, and she proved equally enchanting there over the course of her 18-tune setlist, which included four selections apiece from Fleetwood, 1981's "Bella Donna" and 1983's "The Wild Heart," three from the 2014 rarities collection "24 Karat Gold," two from 2011's "In Your Dreams," and even one from her original "Buckingham Nicks" album from 1973.
She got the crowd rolling early by having The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde trade lines with her on her Petty duet "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" (with guitarist Waddy Wachtel taking on Petty's parts). Other highlights included the ethereal, "Twilight"-inspired "Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)," the unexpected electro rave-up "Stand Back" (an offshoot of Prince's "Little Red Corvette"), and the main-set closer "Edge of Seventeen," which had the audience dancing and singing along on all those "Whooooo! Whooooo! Whooooo!"s.
Really, though, just about everyone's favorite moments came in her Fleetwood performances. "Gypsy" got the crowd swaying, and the encore included "Rhiannon" and a sparse acoustic guitar and piano arrangement of "Landslide," but perhaps the singular moment of the entire evening was the hypnotic-and-transfixing-yet-swaggering run through "Gold Dust Woman."
Hynde and The Pretenders opened the night with a no-frills hour of straight-ahead rock, starting off a bit flat before settling in and catching a groove around their fourth song in. Her mid-set trifecta of "Back on the Chain Gang," "I'll Stand By You" and "Don't Get Me Wrong" would've been her inarguable highlight if not for her rousing, set-closing edition of "Brass in Pocket."
When The Pretenders wrapped up, Hynde told those assembled, "Stevie will be on in about 20 minutes. Don't go anywhere!"
Great advice unless, of course, you'd simply already had too many magical moments in your life.
Stevie Nicks setlist
1. Gold and Braid
2. If Anyone Falls
3. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around
4. Belle Fleur
6. Wild Heart
7. Bella Donna
9. New Orleans
11. Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)
12. Stand Back
13. Crying in the Night
14. If You Were My Love
15. Gold Dust Woman
16. Edge of Seventeen
The Pretenders setlist
2. Gotta Wait
3. Message of Love
4. Private Life
5. Down the Wrong Way
6. Hymn to Her
7. Back on the Chain Gang
8. I'll Stand By You
9. Don't Get Me Wrong
10. Stop Your Sobbing
11. My City Was Gone
12. Talk of the Town
13. Mystery Achievement
14. Middle of the Road
15. Brass in Pocket