Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Stevie Nicks mystifies a stormy, sold-out Gillette Stadium

Nicks joins Billy Joel in a star-studded show for the ages
Photo courtesy of the Gillette Stadium Facebook page.

On a day marking the autumnal equinox, Stevie Nicks proved it really is the season of the witch to a sold-out, soaking wet crowd at Foxborough’s Gillette Stadium on Saturday, September 23.

The 75 year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer  joined The Piano man himself, Billy Joel for the seventh installment of the unlikely duo’s exclusive nine-date, “Two Legends, One Night” U.S. Tour.

Just as New England brought its infamous unpredictable weather, Nicks established herself as a respective force to be reckoned with. Her musical and spiritual prowess deafening the storms precipitating around her.

Nicks commanded the stadium in her inaugural appearance at Gillette the only way she knew how: tambourine and glittering, ribboned microphone stand in tow.

Dawning a classic black bohemian ensemble and matching sweeping hat; the illusion of a cloak was cast as Nicks herself floated across the stage in her 14-song set. Outside of her invitingly familiar physical presence, Nicks flexed the stunningly resonant vocals that bought her claim to fame, now five decades later.

And boy, can she still sing.

The crowd roared as Nicks shared a blend of mainstream megahits and cult-classic tracks. Seemingly defying the odds of aging, the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman’s voice has ripened with age, a heightened vigor adding an intoxicatingly new allure to songs’ original renditions.

Her set appropriately opened with the 1981 ballad, “Outside the Rain.” Backed by an equally vibrant band, Nicks’ matured vocals still show glints of the unmistakably haunting tremor from the recordings we know and love.

Nicks transitioned to the Fleetwood Mac fan favorite, “Dreams.” As the lush instrumentation rang, Nicks ushered her hands triumphantly to the sky singing the chorus, “Thunder only happens when it’s raining.” The audience exclaimed fervently in return, the call and response almost urging Mother Nature to, ‘bring it on.’

Certainly, the show would go on.

Despite the persistent inclement weather that even Nicks herself expressed discontent over, the aura ringing throughout the home of the New England Patriots was far from dreary. Attendees traded the typical Fall uniform of blue and red jerseys cascading across the 65,878 seats of Gillette Stadium, for a sea of flowing regalia and top hats layered with incidental rain ponchos.

The rain failed in its pursuit to dampen the clear ode to Nicks’ signature fashion and colossal impact. Instead, it did quite the opposite, impassioning the masses to plainly go with flow of the unchangeable, carelessly letting the rain cascade onto them in the name of remaining consciously present in the face of greatness.

The sight was nothing short of the breezy way of being so consistent with Nicks’ persona.

Nicks included notable works from her solo career, stretching from the likes of the lyrical, “Bella Donna” to fiery 80’s chart toppers, “Wild Heart” and “Edge of Seventeen.” She traded her own works, to perform five Fleetwood Mac songs– highlighted by dazzling performances of “Gypsy” and “Gold Dust Woman.”

At the conclusion of “Gold Dust Woman” Nicks revealed she couldn’t hear anything due to sound system difficulties. Outside the steady baseline and electric harpsichord, the song is incredibly reliant on Nicks’ strong voice– and Saturday’s adaptation was no different. If she hadn’t mentioned that she couldn’t hear, the crowd would know no different.

The moment was just another notion of the mystique that is Nicks.

Nicks whisked off stage several times over the course of the evening, only to return with a different applique shawl to twirl around in; a further comforting reminder that Nicks is very much so the same free spirit we all fell in love with during her Fleetwood Mac heyday.

Hazy, psychedelic graphics fluttered across the stage’s LED screens displaying Nicks, enhancing the obvious; the show was unmistakably a hippie’s dream come true in every way.

The concert included a pair of tributes to late artists near and dear to Nicks’ heart.

 Joel joined Nicks onstage before his own set for a cover of Nicks’ iconic duet with Tom Petty, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Nicks later marveled the similarity in fiery passion performing with Joel, to her experiences with Petty, poking fun at The Piano man’s notorious New York, gruff guise.

Nicks closed out the evening with arguably her most famous work, “Landslide” dedicated to former Fleetwood Mac bandmate, Christine McVie. After McVie’s passing in 2022, Nicks openly shared her grief– a constant struggle Nicks claimed has eased with fans’ support during the performance of the tender serenade.

I myself felt my eyes well with tears at multiple points over the course of Nicks’ performance, but particularly during, “Landslide.” After gazing at Fleetwood Mac posters in my room every day for the better part of my adolescence, seeing the frontwoman materialize in front of me was nothing short of stunning.

And seeing her with my mother– the woman who passed her childhood idol onto me, was what really made this night one I could never forget.

As I looked around, I saw a crowd of people who looked like me, my mother and grandmother. All united under Nicks’ all-reaching spell, transcendent through age, beliefs and time.

Just like “Landslide” croons, we all may be “getting older too” but what will never grow old, is the immortal essence of Stevie Nicks.

Shanti Furtado can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ShantiFurtado.

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