The drama and the fantasy: Stevie Nicks at the Fillmore

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Stevie Nicks greets her adoring coven at the Fillmore.
PHOTO BY JONATHAN VANIAN

By Ann Edwards
arts@sfbg.com

The Stevie Nicks show at the Fillmore on Sunday night was like a time warp to an early 1980s high school. Although most of the women in the audience were in their 40s and 50s, they were competing for “Best Dressed” like girls more than half their age. They paid tribute to their Queen Stevie in dark velvet, shimmering shawls, and long skirts. If I didn’t know better, I would say they’d kept those clothes in their closets for 20 years just for this occasion. But shopping with my mom has taught me that they sell it all at Chico’s.

When the lights went down all the fashion, pretense, and iPhone surfing ceased. Nicks walked onstage to the roar of an adoring crowd. We were screaming, waving our hands, jumping up and down, and squealing. She was beautiful, charismatic, sexy. Nicks gave us a shy nod then put her game face on: ready to rock.

Over the next two hours we were transfixed, willing to go wherever she took us. She started with her '80s hit “Stand Back.” We danced and sang the lyrics back to her, pumping our arms in the air with every repetition of “Stand back!” She announced that she’d be playing some of her new songs because they’re “some of (her) best work. This is not a greatest hits show.” Fine with us, Stevie. We just wanted to hear you sing.

She knew what we wanted and drew us hungrily along, panting and begging for it. She waited a few songs before revealing her signature, winged sleeves and spinning around to the music. We roared. She announced “Landslide” as the “song that everyone keeps paying to hear” with irony, but without sarcasm. We cried and sang through our tears: “I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills.” She gave us a knowing smile: “I’m getting older, too.”

Peppered in among her hits were the aforementioned new songs, including “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream)," which she wrote after seeing Twilight: New Moon. I seemed to be the only audience member who knew this connection (maybe because I was one of few under the age of 30) and tried to jump up and down as quietly as I could. Nicks also gave a lengthy intro to her new song “Soldier’s Angel,” which took her four years to write and was inspired by her work with the Wounded Warriors Project. These new songs fell a little flat on the album, but when performed live by Nicks, they became rocking, sweeping epics. The new hits.

It was a night of drama, with a flashy light show and three costume changes. But what else would we expect from Stevie Nicks? She’s drama and fantasy and old school rock. All the guys want to be with her and all the girls want to be her, even when they’re 50-plus.