October 2, 2023

Stevie Nicks played Madison Square Garden

The legend herself, Stevie Nicks, played the hits from across her career (and a few covers as well) to a sold-out Madison Square Garden.

Often regarded as one of the greatest rock and roll lead singers of all-time, the illustrious Stevie Nicks came to Madison Square Garden to dazzle the crowd with her life-long hits from her time in Fleetwood Mac as well as her solo career and managed to stuff in some wonderful covers as well. "Outside the Rain," from her solo debut Bella Donna started the night with a splendid sparkle before seamlessly transitioning into the early sensation of the night, the iconic "Dreams." It was a sudden shift and hit quickly, but the audience reacted with total joy and hearing one of the all time greatest songs from an era-defining album was amazing and while it came incredibly early in the night, it helped set the standard for what was to come and provided an early highlight for a night that would be full of memorable moments. Between songs, Stevie took her time to talk to the crowd, first to let everyone know how nervous she was about the show despite playing the world's most famous venue numerous times throughout her career. "You never get over saying 'welcome New York'" she told the audience before revealing how the nerves never disappear and how there's no place else in the world that can hold a candle to playing the room you've dreamed of your whole life. She then proceeded to tell a story about working on her debut album with her producer, the legendary Jimmy Iovine, and how he warned her that the record lack a lead single and how it could possibly tank her career. Not to fear, Jimmy had a plan and introduced Stevie to her idol Tom Petty who gave her the song "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" and the rest was history. With photos of Tom flashing on the screen behind her, it was a touching moment that allowed her to share her love for Petty, a theme she'd visit again in the night. Telling the crowd how she missed LA in the late sixties since she hadn't moved to the city yet, but had grown found of the music of Stephen Stills she went on to say how great political songs can draw in any crowd, no matter what side you're on, and just command attention. She segued this story into a great cover of Buffalo Springfield's classic "For What It's Worth," as a haze of smoke filled the screen, a fitting image for the song that is so widely associated with the counter-culture movement of the sixties. "I can't always remember what album songs were on, but I know this song came out before 1980" she said as she told yet another story, this time about joining Fleetwood back in 1975 and how she had to constantly remind herself that she wasn't always rich and these things could come and go before dedicating it to the gypsy travelers in the crowd before playing the obvious hit, "Gypsy." (Writer's note, that song actually did come out after 1980 and is on Mirage which came out in 1982, sorry Stevie.) Breaking back from her band and into solo territory, she rocked through great renditions of "Wild Heart" and "Bella Donna," showcasing her voice that is still in remarkable shape and gave her more moments to dance and shimmer with her various capes and scarves. Revealing that she had a big surprise for the crowd, the next story was her most bizarre yet as she began to tell the crowd how the toy company Mattel had reached out to her to commission a new line of Barbie recreating her likeness (complete with tambourine and matching the outfit worn on the cover of Rumors), which she then unveiled onstage before having a truly strange back-and-forth conversation where she changed her voice when speaking on behalf of the toy. To say it was strange is an understatement. Luckily the show progressed and as we neared the end, she brought back the hits for killer versions of "Gold Dust Woman" and an electric "Edge of Seventeen" that gave her band a change to show off their skills with impressive solos and lengthy intros, bringing back some rock and roll spirit to the night. Even as the set ended with impressive highlights, the encore was a stunning affair of deep tributes and high flying emotions. Starting off with a cover of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'," the screens once again hosted images of Tom and Stevie over the years and you could feel her love for her lost friend making for an incredibly special and heartfelt moment which resonated deeply with the crowd. After that she busted out a stunning "Rhiannon" that melted the audience and once again brought her awesome vocals to the forefront before ending the night with the brilliant "Landslide." For this one, images of the late Christine McVie adorned the screens, bringing back memories from throughout the decades, giving a glimpse into the incredible bond and friendship these two icons shared together. Of course when she hit the line "children get older, I'm getting older too," it hit even harder when seeing pictures of her longtime partner and knowing she lives now only as a memory. Feeling the collective grief circulate through the arena was chilling, powerful, and also comforting. It was an unforgettable moment that left the entire building a sobbing mess without a dry cheek in the house making for an incredibly emotional end to a night full of resounding triumphs.

Set list:

01 "Outside the Rain"
02 "Dreams"
03 "If Anyone Falls"
04 "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"
05 "Fall From Grace"
06 "For What It's Worth" [Buffalo Springfield cover]
07 "Gypsy"
08 "Wild Heart"
09 "Bella Donna"
10 "Sara"
11 "Stand Back"
12 "Soldier's Angel"
13 "Gold Dust Woman"
14 "I Sing for the Things"
15 "Edge of Seventeen"
16 "Free Fallin'" [Tom Petty cover]
17 "Rhiannon" 
18 "Landslide"

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