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written by Kyle Sanders
For years, there have been rumors (*Rumours?") that rock and roll songstress Stevie Nicks is a witch. And for years, Stevie Nicks has continually denied it. But you have to admit, something cosmically witchy must be going on because for the last several weeks Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac have been pop culturally red hot.
This is thanks to the bad luck of Nathan Apodeca (otherwise known as @Doggface208 to all you hip kids out there), who decided to coast down a highway on his skateboard after his truck broke down. As he sipped from his bottle of Ocean Spray, he played the Mac's "Dreams" while posting this slice-of-life moment to TikTok.
The post went viral, and now the '70s supergroup is back on the charts, as their album Rumours has returned to the top ten of the Billboard Hot 200 (a ranking not seen since 1978!).
The Nicks-penned tune (the only Mac hit to become a number one single) has also climbed back up the charts on Billboard's Top 10 Streaming Songs. Many TikTokers have participated in the "Fleetwood Mac Challenge," including Mac bandmates Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham. Nicks even put her own spin on it herself, lacing up some groovy vintage roller skates while singing the song's lyrics.
Which gives reason to see Nicks' theatrical release of 24 Karat Gold - The Concert, a filmed set from 2017. Sure, there's nothing innovative or extraordinary with this production.--this ain't another Stop Making Sense or The Last Waltz--in fact, this stadium arena performance would normally be suited for an installment of PBS' Soundstage.
But this is 2020, and nothing is normal.
And maybe that's a good thing? With Hollywood retaining their blockbuster films and awards-worthy fanfare for a more (hopefully) optimistic 2021, it makes sense to release a concert film theatrically when concerts are canceled and movie theaters are starving for anything to draw in an audience.
To say Nicks' setlist isn't worthy of a theatrical presentation would be false though. While Nicks might not have been able to secure a celebrated filmmaker like Jonathan Demme or Martin Scorsese to bring her set to life, she doesn't need them. She has herself.
And what this film has that the sold out crowds got to experience first hand (the film was recorded at tour stops in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh), is Stevie's personal stories behind not just some of her most celebrated hits, but also tracks from her 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault album supported by this tour. Those particular songs Nicks explained had been written over the years, demoed, and recorded during various album sessions, but just didn't make the cut because she didn't feel they were ready to be released unto the world. Until now, that is...
And that's what is great about this film. This isn't a straight rundown of hits from Fleetwood Mac and Nicks' own successful solo career. These are deep cuts with particular inspirations that Nicks gladly explains to her enthusiastic audience (seriously, you will never find a rowdier crowd to go apeshit over a few sporadic twirls).
And with the hits she does include in her set, we hear how those songs came about as well: how Tom Petty gave her HIS song "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," because producer Jimmy Iovine "didn't hear a single" coming from her first solo record, how Prince's "Little Red Corvette" caused Nicks to hum another song along with it that would evolve into "Stand Back," and how one fateful day spent in a stranger's home in Colorado inspired "Landslide," a beloved staple in all of the Mac's or Nicks' sets.
You can tell Nicks loves to talk (some of her stories run close to five minutes), but she also loves to perform. Some of the highlights of this concert come at the changing of a shawl or cape: a Dickensian cloak of shocking indigo blue for "Bella Donna," an elegantly white wolf pelt during a stirring "Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)," a golden shawl wrapped around Nicks' shoulders as she feigns an acid trip dance for "Gold Dust Woman," and a spotted black poncho for a rousing, twirl-inducing performance of "Stand Back."
It's as dramatic and fun as only Nicks can be, and at 72 years old, she proves it doesn't take a group of highly choreographed backup dancers or fancy pyrotechnic stage effects to hold an audience's attention--especially for a setlist that's over two hours long!
No, it's just pure professional showmanship. Nicks may not have the support of Fleetwood Mac behind her, but she does have the rock talents of legendary guitarist Waddy Wachtel at her side, along with a complete band of percussionists, keyboardists and backup singers to keep Nicks' momentum flowing.
With all due respect to Mr. Apodeca, I doubt his TikTok video would have taken off as successfully had it not been for the song "Dreams." Written after her breakup with Lindsey Buckingham (and as a clap-back to his much more aggressive "Go Your Own Way"), the song has taken on new meaning in 2020: a carefree vibe to "play the way you feel it," that easy-going attitude that's always within reach, even as we've become distracted and desensitized to the ever growing chaos that surrounds us. "When the rain washes you clean, you'll know..." Nicks croons.
And after the year we've had, her film 24 Karat Gold - The Concert is a great palate cleanser.
Stevie Nicks: 24 Karat Gold - The Concert had a special theatrical presentation on October 21 and October 25. A live album version will be released on October 30.
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