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What is there left to say about Stevie Nicks that hasn’t already been said?

Keaton Bell / Red Dirt Report
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TULSA, Okla. – In a career spanning almost five decades, The White Witch has charmed her way to legendary status through her solo career and time as the front-woman for Fleetwood Mac. While part of the fun of music is debating what’s good and bad, overrated and under-praised, I think it’s safe to say that we can all agree on Stevie Nicks. 

At least the rabid fans that packed the BOK Center Monday night certainly can. As a part of her 24 Karat Gold Tour supporting the album of the same name, Nicks has embarked on her most intimate and personal trek yet. While she’s hardly a stranger to the stage, she’s never been as vulnerable and engaged as she has on this tour. 

The same can be said of Pretenders front-woman Chrissie Hynde, the legendary vocalist for the iconic ‘80s New Wave group opening the tour. The legendary Hynde is hardly known for her playful sense of humor, but she looked like she was having the time of her life slinging out Pretenders tracks both old and new. 

The tracks off their most recent release, Alone, retains the same gritty spirit that made the group punk rock icons in the first place. But it was truly special seeing the Pretenders back together again singing everything from their biggest hits (“Back On The Chain Gang”) to fan favorites (“My City Was Gone”). 

As if Hynde’s fierce energy and magnetic stage presence weren’t enough, she even found the time to gush on the headliner. Rocking black jeans with a chain-link necklace, Hynde said performing with Nicks is like “being on tour with Elizabeth Taylor!”

Even though I’m still bitterly disappointed the Pretenders didn’t deliver “Brass In Pocket,” my go-to karaoke song, I still consider myself lucky they had it in their hearts to perform “Don’t Get Me Wrong” with so much energy.  

But with the Pretenders’ relatively scant set done and the stage cleared, the unruly crowd was ready for their queen to arrive. It didn’t take long for the lights to dim and the audience to collectively gasp as the sounds of “Gold and Braid” filled up the BOK Center.

And there she was, waltzing onstage in her signature suede boots and flowing black robes. You’d think this being the third time I’ve seen Nicks live, part of the magic would’ve dissipated by this point. But just the sight of my beloved Nicks was enough to have me shaking at the knees and gasping for air as I tried to comprehend just how majestic she truly is. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: what on earth did we do to deserve this heavenly creature? 

Stevie’s music is a natural showcase for her storytelling abilities, and she explained how this tour was her chance to dig into her catalog and perform songs she doesn’t always get the chance to. Which means it also gave her the chance to tell the stories behind their creation as well. 

While talking about the process behind her debut solo album, Bella Donna, Nicks said that her producer Jimmy Iovine complained “you don’t have a single, but luckily somebody you’re crazy about has offered a song to you: Tom Petty.” 

Launching into her iconic duet with Petty, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” Nicks brought Hynde back out to assist her. It was a glorious moment that illicit the type of euphoric reaction that only live music can produce, watching two icons harmonizing on one of the greatest rock songs of all time. 

Making sure to save her biggest hits until the very end, she teased the road there with all manner of artistry. She twirled her heart out to the Fleetwood Mac classic “Gypsy,” bopped around the stage to the twangy “Starshine,” and took us back to 1981 with the pitch-perfect “Bella Donna.” 

Nicks has never shied away from her love of over-the-top theatricality and melodrama. One of the biggest factors of her everlasting appeal is her ability to channel her deeply-felt emotions in such a universal way through everything she writes. 

Take “Wild Heart,” the title track from her second solo record. Wearing the same blue shawl that she sports on the album cover, when Nicks belts out “I run around like a spirit in flight, fearlessness is fearlessness,” you can’t help but be moved by the passion she displays. 

Before singing “New Orleans,” her tribute to the city after Hurricane Katrina, Nicks noted the obligation she felt to create music that would mean something: “I was watching what was happening in New Orleans for three days and thought that as a writer, I need to write something about this. I’m like a news reporter, I chronicle life.” 

Nicks spent the latter half of the set relishing in some of her biggest hits and paying tribute to the late greats who inspired them. Particularly poignant was the moment Nicks discussed Prince’s inspiration behind “Stand Back” and how they collaborated in the studio. 

“Sometimes, even on this tour, I’ll get nervous before going onstage and beforehand look up and say ‘Prince, walk with me,’” Nicks said. “When I play “Stand Back” for the rest of my life, he’s right there onstage.” 

I don’t think words will ever be able to do justice to the joys of seeing Nicks convulsing like she’s experiencing an exorcism performing “Gold Dust Woman” and then seamlessly transitioning to shaking a tambourine around the stage to “Edge of Seventeen.” Nicks could easily sit on a stool for two hours and have the audience’s rapt attention, but she’s filled with too much creative energy to phone in a performance. You never get the sense that she’s simply fulfilling duties on a tour, but opening her soul to 10,000 people and asking us to do the same. 

Which made her encore seem all the more poignant when we heard that opening strum of “Rhiannon” echoing through the arena as Stevie strutted back out. And while the crowd would’ve been perfectly satisfied to end on that high note, Stevie had one more song to sing. 

All she had to say was “I wrote this song in Aspen” for the crowd to realize she was about to attack our tear ducts with “Landslide.” The mystical chandeliers that lit the stage throughout the show disappeared and all that remained onstage was Stevie with a simple spotlight shining on her golden locks. That famous guitar melody started and she  poured her heart and soul into one of the most beautiful songs ever written: “I took my love, I took it down, climbed a mountain and I turned around..” 

Nicks wrote this song when she was in her mid-20’s, but infused it with the wisdom and emotional insight of someone decades older. To hear her sing it now at sixty-eight, “Landslide,” which encapsulates all of her uncertainties with life at the time, has only taken on a greater poignancy. 

When the show was over and the lights turned on in the BOK Center, you couldn’t help but feel like you entered the show one person and left another. Everyone had the same look of teary-eyed joy on their face, hugging one another and trying to comprehend the magic they just experienced. I could do a minute-by-minute analysis to explain why the evening was so perfect, but that would take away from the raw and immediate power of Nicks as a performer. So I guess you’ll either have to take my word for it or catch the White Witch herself while the 24 Karat Gold Tour is on the road through April. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to raid my mother’s closet for a patterned shawl and twirl around to “Gypsy” until Stevie’s next tour.

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About the Author

Keaton Bell

Born in Minnesota but raised in Oklahoma, Keaton is a senior at the University of Oklahoma...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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