BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
The stellar concert pairing of Stevie Nicks along with Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders made it’s way to the new Golden 1 Center in Sacramento Tuesday night for a long evening of hits from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. Nicks, the Fleetwood Mac front woman with a cult like following, is touring in support of 2014’s “24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault,” an excellent compilation of updated demos and other previously unreleased material from her archives stretching all the way back to 1969.
Just over two months old, the Golden 1 Center makes a strong first impression as Northern California’s newest major entertainment venue. Full time home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, the arena can hold up to 19,000 fans for concerts and offered superb acoustics from a variety of different locations.
Nicks told the crowd early on “It’s not gonna be the same show that you’re used to seeing.” The setlist wasn’t a problem, it was wonderful, but Nicks penchant for consistently derailing any momentum provided by her endless reservoir of quality material by punctuating nearly every song with a long-winded and rehearsed backstory about its genesis was.
Musings included, her appearance lasted a generous 2 1/4 hours. But an incalculable amount of time was wasted by a number of trivial anecdotes that both contributed to killing the energy level of what could have been a celebration while also seemingly leading to many departing long before the encore was even approaching. Stories of collaborations with Prince and her long time desire to join Tom Petty’s band as a Heartbreaker were among those that were precious, but Nicks excessively chatty tales left many in the audience cringing.
Mixing a pleasing blend of both old and newer solo material with four Mac tunes and the rarely heard Buckingham Nicks composition “Crying In The Night”, the near sellout crowd received a pleasant early jolt when Hynde came out for a potent duet of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Dressed in her trademark flowing black dress with platform heels and clutching a tambourine thru most of the evening, Nicks voice remains powerful.
Supported by a tight six piece band featuring long time guitarist and musical director Waddy Wachtel in addition to two back up singers, images from younger days that flashed on the HD monitor above the stage capturing moments with Prince and Petty along with her fellow members of Mac were priceless.
Stating the importance of a strong follow-up to “Bella Donna”, her solo debut, Nicks recounted how she cold called Prince for the first time after learning that they were both in Los Angeles during the summer of 1981 to tell him about a song she was working on as a response to the melody of the Purple One’s “Little Red Corvette.” The resulting “Stand Back” was the lead single from her sophomore effort “The Wild Heart” and Nicks legacy as a solo artist was solidified, as evidenced by the incredible body of work that she’s continued to craft.
The cowbell led intro to the “Rumours” finale “Gold Dust Woman” signaled the beginning of the end, but what an ending it was. The strobe splashed “Edge of Seventeen” followed before the band retreated backstage for a brief encore. Returning to a joyous ovation, Nicks and Company wrapped up an outstanding overview of her musical journey by launching into “Rhiannon” before closing with “Landslide.”
Not your average opening act, The Pretenders 80 minute set was a treat that showed that they too are headliner material. Having seen Chrissie Hynde perform two years ago after releasing her own critically acclaimed solo album “Stockholm,” it didn’t take long to be reminded of the Ohio native’s own place in music history and contribution to female empowerment.
After opening with two cuts from the recently released “Alone,” the band quickly returned to more familiar territory for most by commencing to dust off early nuggets such as “Message of Love” and “Private Life” before the distinct opening chords of “Back on the Chain Gang” brought many to their feet. Still seemingly a song of desperation as relevant today as when it was released in 1984, “My City Was Gone,” one of three dazzling cuts from “Learning to Crawl” served as an intro to their catchy latest single “Holy Commotion,” written about religious tolerance.
From there it was an onslaught of unmistakable songs that easily demonstrated why the girl from Akron, joined by fellow founding member and drummer Martin Chambers, was able to to make what would have been a mere 40 mile drive to Cleveland for her induction to the Rock Hall in 2005. Finishing with a salvo of The Kinks “Stop Your Sobbing,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” “Mystery Achievement,” and the rambunctious “Middle of the Road” before concluding with “Brass in Pocket,” it was hard to imagine them as anyone’s opening act.
The touring partners conclude a mournful year for the music world with shows in Las Vegas and the Forum in Inglewood this weekend before returning to the road in late February.