Stevie Nicks is on the road pushing her best new album in two decades and she wasn’t about to let the crowd held captive at Red Rocks Amphitheatre Tuesday night get away without hearing it — a lot of it. The veteran rocker, whose iconic compositions “Landslide” and “Rhiannon” are as familiar as the national anthem, loaded this kick-off show to her latest tour with six tunes from the listenable new disc In Your Dreams.
That’s an unusual move, but it made for a fine evening under the stars at Red Rocks and allowed Nicks to step away from the cliches that have defined her career. This night wasn’t about tambourines with flowing ribbons (though she banged a few) and it wasn’t about her trademark whirling dervish bit (though she spun a few times during “Stand Back”). And it wasn’t even about the whole gypsy get up (though she she was done over in lacey things and changed from a sparkly red shawl to a sparkly gold one for the song “Gold Dust Woman”).
It was more about Stevie the songwriter. Nicks saved up her best efforts for the fresh “Annabel Lee,” the country-fied “For What It’s Worth,” the poppy “Secret Love,” and mostly, for the anthemic “Soldier’s Angel,” a song she wrote after a visit with ailing soldiers at a military hospital.
Fans gave her the benefit of the doubt — even if those songs didn’t inspire as much dancing and arm-waving as the familiar tunes they paid to hear. It helped that Red Rocks was cooperating. The night was balmy and clear and just as Nicks launched into her finale, a pumped-up “Edge of Seventeen,” the wind kicked up big-time swirling around the stage. Nicks knew to make the most of it. She leaned in, let hair and her ribbons and her voice fly, and delivered a high-energy version of her rock’n’roll hit that was pure Stevie.
Ray Mark Rinaldi / Hey Reverb / Wednesday, August 10, 2011