Stevie Nicks had been touring for decades by the time she hit the stage at Talking Stick Resort Arena here in Phoenix to open her 24 Karat Gold Tour in October 2016.
What made that tour Nicks’ all-time favorite?
The answer should be clear to anyone who watches “Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold The Concert” — in part because the Phoenix native tells us and in part because it documents a truly special tour.
After setting the tone for the show with “Gold and Braid” from her chart-topping solo debut, “Bella Donna,” Nicks explains exactly what it is that made this such a different Stevie Nicks experience.
Songs from Nicks’ ‘dark gothic trunk’
“It’s not the same Stevie Nicks show you’ve seen a million times,” she says, “because I am not the same Stevie Nicks that you’ve seen a million times.”
She wanted this tour to be different, she says, so she went through what she calls “the dark gothic trunk of lost songs” and picked out some forgotten gems that were supposed to go on records and didn’t — until 2014, when she rescued them and put them on an album called “24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault.”
Until this tour, she had never played them live because she has always had people around her telling her which songs she “had to” do.
“And you just go along with it,” she says. “This time, I said at my age, I am not just going along with it.”
That doesn’t mean she totally neglects the songs most people would have said she “had to” do.
There are a lot of hits here.
Nicks also played the songs you want to hear
Nicks and longtime musical director Waddy Wachtel lead their bandmates through a number of career-defining classics, from Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy” and “Gold Dust Woman” to solo hits as timeless (and huge) as “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and “Stand Back” before bringing the set to a fiery finish with “Edge of Seventeen.”
And that’s before they sign off with a gorgeous two-song encore from the album that took her from the relative obscurity of the Buckingham-Nicks days to arena-rocking superstardom when she helped launch Fleetwood Mac into the stratosphere — “Rhiannon” and “Landslide.”
These are songs that helped make Nicks one of the few acts ever to be twice-inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — in her case, as a solo artist and with Fleetwood Mac.
Other highlights made their live debut on the 24 Karat Gold Tour, from the title track of 1983’s “The Wild Heart” to “Belle Fleur,” “Starshine” and “If You Were My Love” from the album that gave the tour its name.
She also dusts off “Bella Donna,” the title track to her quadruple-platinum solo debut, which prior to this tour, she hadn’t played since 1981, and “Crying in the Night,” the song that opens the pre-Fleetwood “Buckingham Nicks” album.
Even the opening number, “Gold and Braid,” had gone unplayed for 16 years.
Chrissie Hynde duet not included in the film
One highlight of the tour that didn’t make it to the concert film is Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders filling in for Petty on that duet of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” This version features Wachtel in the Petty role, which isn’t bad. It’s just not Chrissie Hynde.
Nicks’ vocals shine, as do the players she and Wachtel have assembled. Whether channeling the Heartbreakers on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” or bringing the mystery and drama on “Gold Dust Woman,” the musicians give each song exactly what it needs.
And Nicks is in total command of the stage throughout, both as a singer and as a storyteller, sharing little details of her life and anecdotes about important times she shared with Petty, Prince and Fleetwood Mac.
Tales of Fleetwood Mac and her friendship with Prince
There’s the tale of her breaking the news to Fleetwood Mac that she had decided to record a solo album (“I said, ‘Fleetwood Mac, I want to do a solo record, but it is not going to hurt us at all; if anything, while you guys are all off on vacation, it’ll just keep us in the spotlight.'”).
Her comic timing is impeccable as she recalls the time she had to go meet Fleetwood Mac in Paris to record “Mirage” after launching her solo career with “Bella Donna.”
“I went to Paris to a castle with no air conditioning and no ice,” she recalls. “And Lindsey.”
In one particularly vulnerable moment, she talks about the friendship she enjoyed with Prince, who died in 2016. Their friendship began when she wrote one of her biggest hits, “Stand Back,” by improvising a new melody while Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” was playing on the radio, then had to call him up to get his blessing.
He ended up playing on the track and they became fast friends.
“And Prince was always very worried about me, because I was somebody to worry about for a long time,” Nicks recalls.
“So now that he’s gone, I know that, first of all, he’s standing right here and he’s still worrying about me. And sometimes, when I’m really nervous and I walk out on stage, I will just say, ‘Prince, walk with me.’ And he does. And I can feel it.”
It’s beautifully told and guaranteed to leave most viewers misty-eyed. It’s also one of many windows into Nicks’ soul that make this so much more than just another concert film.
And in those moments of drawing you into her world — the emotional story of how she wrote “Landslide” is always a personal favorite — it’s easy to see how this could turn a casual fan into a hard-core Stevie devotee.
Directed by Joe Thomas, the movie’s filming and recording took place at concerts in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh in 2017.
“Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold The Concert” will be in theaters on Oct. 21 and Oct. 25.
An accompanying two-CD, vinyl and digital/streaming release will be available on Oct. 30 via BMG.
The CD will be available exclusively at Target on Oct. 30, and the digital release will be available everywhere on the same day.
A limited-edition two-LP, 180-gram version will be available on Crystal-Clear vinyl exclusively at Barnes & Noble, while a 180-gram black vinyl version will be available everywhere.
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