[LIVE REVIEW] Stevie Nicks w/ The Pretenders @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – 16/11/2017

Credit Matija Smojver

The brewing storms did nothing to dampen the mood for tonight’s double bill featuring two living legends of the music industry, Chrissie Hynde and Stevie Nicks.  With traffic at a standstill I barely made it to my seat as The Pretenders took to the stage.

Decked out in her trademark hoop earrings and tight denim jeans, Chrissie was hot, hot, hot with a pink sequin jacket completing her ensemble. Opening with Alone, The Pretenders were off and running, with plenty of juice in the tank for a cracking one hour set. Message Of Love, Talk Of The Town, Hymn To Her, they just kept coming, it was about then that you realise just how many hits The Pretenders have and what a massive stamp they have left on the music community. Back On The Chain Gang a definite fan favorite along with I’ll Stand By You and Don’t Get Me Wrong.

Credit Matija Smojver

The band were faultless all night and showcased their playing skills during Middle Of The Road with a blistering guitar exhibition, with Chrissie taking it to the boys in tremendous fashion. Vocals so on point she could take out your eye, and some tricky harmonica skills she really is the complete rock chick package. Her banter with the fans was fabulous, even sharing the microphone with one lucky punter up the front for a sing-a-long.

With everyone on up there was only one song left we wanted to here, the huge hit Brass In Pocket. Now who can forget that film clip with Chrissie decked out in waitress apparel, a classic in anyone’s book.  A fantastic song to finish out what was a brilliant set, everyone dancing and singing their hearts out, to which Chrissie replied, ‘Melbourne is where the music is’ and she is right on the money with that statement.

After a very brief interval the magical Stevie Nicks steps up to her microphone. Her mic stand adorned in ribbons and beads and all things that glitter, perfectly paired to the opening song Gold and Braid. Right from the onset you knew this would be something very special, with stories encompassing an illustrious career spanning decades. The set list was large and covered Stevie’s solo career as well and Fleetwood Mac and even songs from before that.

The adoring crowd captivated by this amazing storyteller, with tales of yesteryear flowing effortlessly, including fabulous accounts of times with the late Tom Petty and Prince. These stories accompanied by amazing photos on the big screen, leaving everyone feeling very emotive and grateful for the insight into Stevie’s private life.

Credit Matija Smojver

Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around produced tears from many as we remembered the late Tom Petty, with Chrissie stepping in to accompany on this huge hit.  Belle Fluer, Gypsy, Wild Heart and Belladonna, all amazing, Stevie’s voice only growing more beautiful over time, not losing any of her grace or stage presence over the years.

Dreams had the crowd on their feet, with a stunning backdrop changing to suit the song and sensational coloured spheres and oversized light globes dropping from the ceiling to create an amazing warmness, often changing colours to suit the mood. The stories flowed easily and you could hear a pin drop as every listened intently not wanting to miss a word. Stand Back was a definite favourite of mine, and the tale that followed enthralling, and while I will not spoil it for anyone still to see the show, I can guarantee it will leave you gobsmacked.

Stevie’s fashion has never altered over her career, tonight was no exception to that rule, with her fingerless gloves and designer outfits all tailor made (another story of the night) and her beautiful capes and shawls that adorned her all night, even having her original one from 1981 still travelling to every show. And while it may have cost $3000 back then, it has definite paid for itself over and over, and still looks stunning.

The Edge of Seventeen had the back screen in overdrive with enchanting images and dazzling lights, and of course pictures of Tom Petty. The connection they shared ever present, a truly wonderful way to see out the first set.  Moments later Stevie returned with her sensational band and back up singers to treat us to two more, and what a delight it was, Rhiannon and Landslide.  Both exceptional, the fans undeniably moved with emotion as this radiant songstress gave us everything and more.  Her parting words, enjoy life and just have fun!

What an empowering night for women, seeing two of the finest still wowing audiences well into their careers, but without a doubt, I can say there are still many years and hopefully many more songs still to come.

 Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale