Review: Stevie Nicks, the Pretenders dust off 24-karat rock classics at Amalie Arena in Tampa
Right after playing her first Fleetwood Mac song of the night, Dreams, Stevie Nicks couldn't help but pat herself on the back.
"That is the only No. 1 single that Fleetwood Mac had since 1975," the singer told a crowd of just under 10,000 at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Wednesday, "proving that it is not easy to have a hit single in 1975 -- or 2016. However, it's my single, and it hangs in my living room."
Own that gold, sister; this is your tour. After three spins through Amalie with Fleetwood Mac since 2009, Nicks, 68, finally had the big stage all to herself. And to celebrate, she threw a show aimed squarely at her superfans.
For lifelong Stevie diehards, her so-called 24 Karat Gold Tour was worth its weight in you-know-what, as she dug deep into her catalog to play songs that have missed the cut on previous solo tours. Nearly half her setlist was culled her first two albums, 1981’s Bella Donna and 1983’s The Wild Heart, including some rarely if ever played live.
Nicks shared stories, too. She talked about writing songs with Tom Petty and Don Henley, talked about the Twilight franchise inspiring the dramatic piano number Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream), and took the crowd back more than 40 years for the slow-rolling Buckingham Nicks rocker Crying In the Night. She even showed off her original cape from the artwork for Bella Donna, fanning it into the front row of fans.
Nicks twirled (a little slower than usual, but hey, aren't we all) through several Fleetwood Mac hits, too, like the tripadelic Gold Dust Woman and gypsy anthem Rihannon. (“That old witch, she just doesn’t go away. She wants to be in every single set that I do.”) And smash solo singles like Stand Back and Edge of Seventeen, with those huge, arena-filling choruses, had the crowd screaming along.
But what proved most enlightening were those deeper cuts, those country-tinged rumblers like Gold and Braid, Wild Heart and Enchanted, with its pianos and twangy guitars. Bella Donna’s hypnotic harmonies turned to something approaching gospel at the end. It was warm, rolling, glittering and harmonious, often all at once.
“It’s really something to be able to pretend we’re up in my room and I’m playing demos for you,” Nicks said. “It’s so much fun for me, so fulfilling for me.”
Setting the stage for Nicks’ big night was another classic rock heroine, Chrissie Hynde, and her band the Pretenders, playing their first Tampa Bay show in a decade. They made up for lost time delivering their big '80s hits: Back On The Chain Gang, Private Life, My City Was Gone, Brass In Pocket.
And while Hynde's low, aching warble brought tenderness to the sparse and lovely Hymn To Her and yearning ballad I'll Stand By You, most of the set packed surprising bite. Hynde, 65, is swimming in serious mojo these days, purring, sneering and striking angular poses while crunching out tracks from the new, Dan Auerbach-produced Alone, such as the steel-tough title track, punkish Gotta Wait and snappy Holy Commotion. Older tracks like the spunky Message of Love and driving Middle of the Road sizzled with itchy angst.
Hynde also delivered the night’s only big political moment. Several bars into Don't Get Me Wrong, she stopped the song to talk, somewhat obliquely, about Donald Trump.
"I shouldn't do this," she said to some fans down front, adding that she doesn't usually get political. "But I have three words for you tonight: Ku Klux Klan. What do you think about that?"
As with Amy Schumer last month, Amalie Arena reacted with a mix of cheers and boos.
"Oh, Tampa, you are a funny one," Hynde sighed with a laugh. After handing the mic to a fan who briefly blurted something about Trump, she added: "See, for me, that's fun. F--- it. I'm here to have a good time."
Hynde came back during Nicks' set to take over Tom Petty's vocals on Stop Draggin' My Heart Around. The two women sang to each other like the best of pals as the swampy 1981 single chugged along.
"I made it to the top!" Hynde said, beamming.
When you get there, you can pretty much do whatever you want. That's how Nicks is rolling on this tour. For both her and her fans, it's working out just fine.
-- Jay Cridlin