August 24, 2011
Mystic Lake Casino Amphitheater
I gotta get this off my chest, all apologies in advance: If I ever again see that YouTube video of Stevie Nicks brushing her hair and doing her makeup and practicing her singing or whatever, I'm gonna shave my head clear bald and only ever listen to Jesus music in protest. Serious repercussions, friends, I know. And no offense intended to those who have posted that link online over, and over, and over again. Stevie's hair in perpetuity, man.
Stevie's been getting more attention lately amongst my peers than I imagine she's ever enjoyed in our collective young lives, or that I remember anyway. (Do the Billy Corgan and Courtney Love cover days count as a previous resurgence attended to by my peers?) But Wednesday night at her Mystic Lake performance, with her don't-give-a-shit twirls, and her don't-give-a-shit fingerless gloves, and her don't-give-a-shit "Stand Back!" hand gestures, well, it was clear Stevie Nicks just don't give a shit about the haters and the detractors and whatnot. And that's an admirable quality in anyone old enough to know better than to actually give a shit about the YouTube videos, and the gossip about how she used to have people put naughty drugs in naughty places, and after years of notorious band drama.
I like it. The woman's got spunk, and she's got an understated moxie. She's got rockin' bangs, and extreme melodrama. She's still got it all. But the best part is she's got sincerity at its most earnest, and she's charming and gracious as all get-out.
After opening her performance with an energetic rendition of her hit "Stand Back," Nicks described the set that would follow as a "journey" which would contain a few of the older gems, as well as the newer output she really believes in. And that she'd like to--hollering louder than your loudest rock dude hollerer--"GET THIS PARTY STARTED!" With that, she kicked things off with the recent "Secret Love," a song and performance that did, as she claimed it would, hold its own against her classic stuff. The rest of her set, as promised peppered with plenty of recent songs, was as strong for its emphasis on the new as on the old. Her stage presence and her at times full and deep, at other times characteristically nasal, voice held up through the entire performance, backed by a beyond-capable band that featured local Peterson family legend Ricky Peterson on keys and Hammond.
Nicks also said this about the venue: "...Really, where would I rather be, than Mystic Lake... the lakes are mystic." Indeed. And this crowd would rather you be here than anywhere else, so keep on rockin' those shawls, those melodramatic hand gestures, those bangly chain mail bracelets, and that glitter; you're right at home.
Please also note: "Edge of Seventeen" totally rocked.
Critic's bias: Sometimes I contemplate Stevie Nicks within the constructs of feminism and it makes my head hurt so I put on my witchiest dress and I twirl and I twirl and I twirl (just kidding I don't do that).
The crowd: Folks who really like Stevie Nicks, but who probably have other hobbies, too. Like crocheting pretty shawls. And shout-out to the lady in row nine section B, seat 3 or so, who rocked out THE. ENTIRE. TIME. I want your energy.
Overheard in the crowd: "She's got a new shawl. Shawl number three."
Random notebook dump: Grandma says taking the stage to the way-amped-up refrains of that Missing Persons "Destination Unknown" song is TOOOOOO LOUD. Also the drummer looks like the guitar-playing half of the Melvins, and plays like the drum-playing half. Whoa. That's more mindblowing than Stevie's first half dozen sets of be-shawled glitter twirls, or her be-scared, be-jeweled microphone stand.
"Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)"
"Gold Dust Woman"
"For What It's Worth"
"The Ghosts Are Gone"
"Leather and Lace"
"Edge of Seventeen"
Encore: "Love Is"