by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
MODA CENTER - PORTLAND, OR
Wherever Stevie Nicks goes, so do her fans. This explains why hundreds of Seattleites, myself included, made the three-hour trip down to Portland to see the rock queen perform just two months after she played here in the Emerald City. Some of those fans stayed at my hotel and together we giddily made our way to the show together, having never ever met before, though we shared a common obsession for the same artist.
The set list for the Portland performance, part of a twenty-city extension to last year's successful '24 Karat Gold Tour,' was identical to Nicks' appearance in Seattle, although she was a bit chattier at the Moda Center, telling longer stories about some of the songs she'd written in her early days. Interestingly, she forgot key pieces to those stories in several instances, or at least retold them differently to the PDX crowd. Still, she was completely in her element and took the audience on a journey of her career and personal life, unloading a mix of classic hits and rarities from her solo albums and the Fleetwood Mac catalog.
Nicks opened with 'Gold and Braid,' from 1981's Bella Donna album, and then sang a true fan favorite, 'If Anyone Falls' from her sophomore effort The Wild Heart as a multi-colored backdrop with images of dancers lit up the stage.
'After you get to be a certain age, you can do anything you really want,' Nicks said to a cheering audience. This was after she informed everyone packed into the basketball arena that this particular tour was different than all the others, in that each song was hand-picked and some of them had never even been performed live until the last few months.
Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders, who are booked on this second leg of the tour as they were on the previous run of dates, sang Tom Petty's lines on 'Stop Draggin' My Heart Around,' flubbing part of the first verse because Nicks made her laugh. 'I love her so much!' Hynde yelled out at the end, dressed sharply in tight denims, boots, T-shirt and blazer.
'Gypsy' was flawless and featured Nicks twirling in circles on stage in her trademark shawl, much to the sheer excitement and joy of fans, some who brought their own shawls and twirled wherever they found room. Speaking of shawls, Nicks performed the title track of Bella Donna wearing the exact same shawl that appears on the album cover, confessing that she paid $2,000 for it over three decades ago, but never dared tell her mother how much it cost because her mom was very frugal.
'If you divide thirty-five years into $2,000,' said Nicks, 'this was a very good deal.'
'New Orleans,' a love letter to the Louisiana city following Hurricane Katrina, was heartfelt and beautiful, while 'Moonlight,' which Nicks wrote after watching the first couple of movies from the Twilight movie series, was performed with the rock icon wearing a gorgeous, ankle-length white fur coat; otherwise she stuck to her usual all-black attire.
'Stand Back,' of course, got the entire venue on its feet, played energetically with a colorfully illuminated stage that almost looked like a huge jukebox. It was an extended version that found Nicks again twirling around in a black shawl with gold stars and moons pasted onto it.
There were fans of all ages and backgrounds at the Moda Center, from Gay men who've followed Nicks the entire length of her career to young girls who've just discovered her from their parents, or possibly even their grandparents. Many women wore gypsy-themed hats to the show, or lacy frilly dresses, and about half the fans were holding transparent bags with merchandise they'd just purchased, from T-shirts to tote bags to wall posters.
'Gold Dust Woman' was mystical and sounded as good as any time it's ever been performed by Fleetwood Mac over the years. The main set closed out with a lush rendition of 'Edge of Seventeen,' as Nicks belted out the number in front of a large black screen with cutouts of flapping white doves, but it later displayed vintage pics of Prince, who she collaborated with on 'Stand Back.'
She returned to the stage and performed a pair of classics, 'Rhiannon' and 'Landslide.' By this time, it appeared Nicks was running late, so she didn't intro either song with a story and just played them, bowing to the audience at the finale with her full band and backup singers. Another incredible concert by this much beloved legend had come to a close. A bucket list show for many fans, she delivered a performance they'll surely be talking about in the future.
The Pretenders jammed for about an hour before Nicks went on, doing all of their big hits, including 'Back on the Chain Gang,' 'I'll Stand by You,' 'Brass in Pocket,' 'My City Was Gone' and 'Don't Get Me Wrong.'
'I'm fucking available!' said the dusty tinted and tousled-haired Hynde when an audience member proposed to her. 'I don't see why not.'
The '24 Karat Gold Tour' continues through early April with appearances in Austin, Orlando, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Newark and New York.
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