The Fleetwood Mac singer’s set Thursday was wide-ranging and pulled primarily from her solo career
WHO: Stevie Nicks
WHERE: Maine Savings Amphitheater, Bangor
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 22
The autumn equinox officially brought fall to Maine on Thursday, and with it blew in one of the witchiest women in pop music, the great Stevie Nicks. Possessing an extraordinarily rich catalogue of music and a fashion sense so distinct that if you saw dressed-up concert attendees at gas stations you’d know exactly where they were driving, she charmed the Bangor crowd with poise, presence and a voice that improbably hasn’t aged a day since she climbed onto the tour bus with Fleetwood Mac in 1975.
Autumn’s arrival also brought a noticeable drop in temperature and scattered showers that dampened concertgoers just enough to add some bite to the cool wind. This didn’t have any noticeable effect on the crowd’s spirits, however. The audience at Maine Savings Amphitheater was on its feet and boisterous throughout, screaming wildly whenever Nicks stepped away from the microphone to take flight into her trademark twirls – a more delicate prospect at age 74, making the effort all the more endearing. Coincidentally, she also opened the concert with a medley that directly referenced the weather conditions, beginning with “Outside the Rain” from her 1981 solo album “Bella Donna” and featuring a silky segue into the Fleetwood Mac classic “Dreams” (featuring the “thunder only happens when it’s raining” line in the chorus).
Throughout the set, she dipped more heavily into her solo catalogue than her Fleetwood Mac catalogue. Indeed, there were almost as many nods to her friend Tom Petty as there were to Fleetwood Mac – she came out on stage to Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream” playing over the sound system, performed their duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and covered his “Free Fallin’.”
Her solo material, combined with her Mac material, proved how far-ranging her songwriting is, almost as if she wrote songs specifically for a full and satisfying concert set. If you wanted synthesizer-fueled dance songs, you had “If Anyone Falls” or “Stand Back.” You had barroom blues with “Enchanted,” soft-rock with “Gypsy” and power balladry with “Bella Donna.” This range, performed with a polished backing band, was all exercised to draw maximum drama and contrast from the material.
This was most evident in the two songs that closed out the set: “Gold Dust Woman,” the final song from Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours,” and “Edge of Seventeen,” her biggest solo hit. “Gold Dust Woman” featured a long, drawn-out intro, before Nicks reemerged to the stage wearing a gold shawl. It also contained lengthy instrumental passages in the center and the end, with Nicks dancing with carefree abandon. At the song’s close, she stood with her back to the audience, raising her arms so that the shawl resembled wings.
On “Landslide,” the prior song, she sang the line “I’m getting older too” – a line she has been singing for nearly 50 years, with increasing pointedness with each passing year. Her songwriting balance of youthful energy, singular perspective and wise-beyond-her-years lyrics have aged remarkably, and she’s still interpreting her older material as if she wrote it yesterday, remaining endlessly vibrant even as we all grow older.
Robert Ker is a freelance writer in Portland. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Robert Ker / Press Herald / September 23, 2022