It wasn’t “Stevie Nicks’ Storytellers” Wednesday night at the Family Arena in St. Charles, though it may as well have been.
The classic rock singer brought her “24 Karat Gold Tour” to town for a night of music and conversation, nearly equal parts both, during the two-hour concert .
Nicks delivered a career-spanning set of songs, mixing obvious solo hits like “Edge of Seventeen” and “Stand Back” and Fleetwood Mac songs like “Gypsy” and “Landslide” with a few gems from her “gothic trunk of lost songs.”
There were also a couple of full homages to her old friend Prince.
Nicks came in great voice, her golden instrument seemingly unravaged by the years of drug use she spoke about. And judging by the audience, her appeal is as widespread as ever; her appearance on American Horror Story surely opened her up to new fans.
After early songs “Gold and Braid” and “If Anyone Falls,” she said this particular tour is her favorite because of the stories about the songs she’d deliver. And that’s where the show may have taken a detour for some.
Stories behind the songs can be riveting when they’re told compellingly. Nicks has led a colorful career and life, but she isn’t the best at talking about it. While she’s personable and natural onstage, her chats were often long-winded, and at times the songs’ intros and outros were as long as the songs themselves.
She said some fans were probably wondering: “Is this Music 101? Did we actually walk into a college somewhere?” It seemed they had.
Even the band members came with their own stories, which, late in the show before the glorious encore of “Rhiannon” and “Landslide,” felt like too much.
Her longest tale came just before the crowd-pleasing “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and “Belle Fleur.” She talked about the creation of Bella Donna and detailed her taking a break from Fleetwood Mac to record it, wanting to be one of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, meeting and moving in with producer Jimmy Iovine, and initially lacking a single on the finished album.
Introducing the song “Wild Heart” from The Wild Heart album, she explained how its success was validating, proving her previous success from Bella Donna wasn’t a fluke. A performance of “Bella Donna” followed, and as a special treat, she wore the original blue cape from that era; she said it cost $2,000, much to her mother’s chagrin.
She updated the meaning behind the song “New Orleans,” which she wrote in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Now, with hurricanes pummeling the U.S. and beyond recently, she says the song is about hurricanes in general.
She spoke at length about her friendship with Prince, their hours-long telephone conversations, him telling her to slow down on her drug use, and their initial meeting when he barely spoke to her. “He’s still protecting me,” she said before performing the still-electric blast of “Stand Back.”
She donned a gold shawl for “Gold Dust Woman,” as images of Prince flashed on the screen behind her.
The near tour-de-force Nicks and her band gave showed that, just like Fleetwood Mac, there’s no stopping her any time soon.
Kevin C. Johnson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Thursday, September 14, 2017