By Maryjane Perez | 15 January 2024
Stevie Nicks is a true star. With a career spanning multiple decades, her music (both solo and that of Fleetwood Mac) connects people of all generations. In December of 2023, I had the pleasure of experiencing her magic at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever attended.
Immediately upon arriving, I noticed that the crowd was full of women of all ages dressed in outfits inspired by Stevie Nicks’ iconic looks from the 70s and 80s – leather, lace, and shawls. Proof that music can unite generations.
Nicks opened the show with “Outside the Rain” from her solo debut album Bella Donna, and seamlessly transitioned into Fleetwood Mac’s iconic “Dreams.” She is a laid-back yet captivating performer, offering only some twirls and hand movements but that is more than enough. Her husky voice and the frenzy of instruments illuminated the arena, allowing the music to be the focal point of the show.
She then glides into “If Anyone Falls,” a personal favorite of mine, before sharing a few words with the crowd. Nicks goes into a little bit of a tangent about the teleprompter not working and jokes about how she's lucky to be quite familiar with the lyrics to “Outside the Rain” otherwise there might have been speculations about her having dementia. This earned a few laughs from the audience.
Kicking off her first tribute of the night, Nicks recalls the time when her late friend and well-known artist, Tom Petty, gifted her with “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” to use as a single for Bella Donna. She later performs a smooth cover of Petty’s song “Free Fallin’,” with a montage playing on the screen with images of Petty. This element of her show made it feel more intimate, as Nicks allowed herself to be vulnerable in her performance dedicated to her lossed loved ones.
After a couple more songs, we got to my favorite story of the night. Nicks introduced “Gypsy” by sharing the story of how she and Lindsey Buckingham moved to Los Angeles with nothing but a dream of making music and very little money. The pair began to quickly earn money after joining Fleetwood Mac, going from earning $200 a week to earning $1,500 and on and on. To cope with the rapid rise to wealth, Nicks would put her mattress on the floor and say to herself “I’m still Stevie.”
It’s this story that made me fall absolutely in love with Nicks. She is captivating in a way that you might not expect from such a legendary artist. Listening to her stories feels a lot like catching up with an old friend. It’s no surprise why she is beloved by so many generations of music lovers.
Of course, the performance of “Gypsy” was just as alluring as her story and I was utterly starstruck.
Shimmering visuals, feverish instrumentals, and emotion-filled vocals cast a spell on the crowd throughout the night as we fully emerged into the universe of Stevie Nicks. It’s always a surreal feeling to hear my favorite songs performed live, but to witness Nicks in all her glory and be aware of the deep history that she and her music possesses felt absolutely enchanting.
She went on to perform a few more songs, including “Soldier’s Angel,” which she dedicated to Ukraine. Her ability to take a song that was written in a different context and apply it to modern circumstances is a testament to the power of music.
A few more songs on the setlist that allowed Nicks to dazzle the crowd were Fleetwood Mac favorites “Gold Dust Woman” and “Rhiannon,” a.k.a. the coolest song to ever exist. It’s a witchy performance with groovy instrumentals and mystical lyrics like, “She is like a cat in the dark / And then she is the darkness.”
She ended the show with “Landslide,” a wistful ballad about life’s hard times and the resilience it takes to push through. She delivered a heartfelt performance and paid tribute to her late friend and former bandmate Christine McVie. This was one of the more intimate moments during her show; I found myself connecting not only with Nicks’ losses but with my own. “Landslide” is eternally relevant through every stage of life and as Nicks delivered the lines, “Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? / Can I handle the seasons of my life?” I found myself feeling uncertain but reassured all at once.
Life is difficult, but as long as we have music like that of Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac to ease our sorrows then I think we’ll be alright.
Final note: Stevie Nicks is, in fact, the greatest to ever do it.