On Saturday November 19, 2011 Stevie Nicks kicked off her Australian tour in Melbourne. The rainy weather failed to dampen the anticipation and excitement of those at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
Brian McFadden was the opening act, performing acoustic versions of a number of his hit songs. He also threw Adele’s “Someone Like You” and NSYNC’s “This I Promise You” into the mix. Forget about what you think about Brian McFadden, he is a gifted musician despite his minor role in boy band Westlife.
Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics was Stevie’s support act, and also one of the people heavily involved in producing her new album. Other than his Eurythmic songs, I was unfamiliar with Dave as a solo performer, but after last night, I am a fan. A gifted guitarist, his band of colourful characters made for an entertaining precursor to the main event.
There was only a short wait for the crew to get the stage ready for Stevie. She came out all guns blazing, belting out “Stand Back” like only she could, followed by “Secret Love”, the first single off her new album. If only the haters could have heard Stevie perform “Secret Love” last night. Clearly the X-Factor production quality was not up to standard that night, as she and the band were near perfection.
Stevie made it clear that this was not a Greatest Hits tour, but a tour to promote the new album. While she threw in some Fleetwood Mac classics like “Rhiannon” and “Dreams” and several of her solo hits, it was the new songs which made this concert all the more special.
Along with every new song she performed, came a story of where she got the inspiration to write them. It was actually two years ago (almost to the day) that Stevie was in Melbourne, touring with Fleetwood Mac. She went to see one of the Twilight movies at the cinema, and oddly enough that was what prompted her to write “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream)” and begin working on a new record.
“Soldier’s Angel”, a song from her new album, was an emotional moment of the night. Stevie told a story of how in 2005 she went to visit a military hospital to speak with the injured soldier’s. She arrived there a rock star without a care in the world, and left with a heavy heart after hearing all those stories. As she was leaving an emergency Medi-Vac arrived, there were doctors, nurses, stretchers everywhere. She wrote the song “Soldier’s Angel” as a tribute to those who have fought in the war in the Middle East.
The highlight of the night for me was being there in person to see Stevie perform “Edge of Seventeen.” The percussion, drum and guitar solos at the beginning of the song were beyond amazing.
Another special moment was Stevie and her voice coach performing “Leather and Lace.” It once was a song that was never included in her sets due to it being a duet. Their voices complimented each other nicely, and it made for a beautiful rendition of the Stevie Nicks and Don Henley original.
If you were not fortunate to attend her Melbourne shows, Stevie’s Live in Chicago DVD, filmed in 2008, is currently on sale at JB HiFi for $9.99; and while you’re at it, pick up a copy of her new album In Your Dreams. The DVD is a perfect reflection of the incredible live performer Stevie is, and the CD has some beautiful new songs from her.
Stevie Nicks is everything I wish I was: a singer, a performer, a poet, a writer, talented, successful and an inspiration. I can only hope that Stevie will make the trek back to Australia sometime soon. Seeing her live once is not enough.