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74 Years Old and Still That Girl

By Katie Tarnutzer

As I approached the Xfinity Center, I was surrounded by a diverse crowd. This crowd of music fans included older Fleetwood Mac fans who had clearly grown up listening to them, as well as younger fans who had discovered Stevie Nicks' magic through their parents, TikTok, Spotify, or one of the many forms of pop culture she has left her mark on. It was like a melting pot of Stevie Nicks fans from all generations.

Women wore all-black outfits reminiscent of a coven, accessorized with velvet boho hats, flowing shawls, and a plethora of lace; all inspired by the style Nicks has made her own since the 1970s. This, combined with the dark clouds lining the sky, created a witchy atmosphere around the concert, which was very fitting for Stevie Nicks.

My roommate and I were scanning our tickets at the entrance to the amphitheater when suddenly, the dark clouds looming above us suddenly burst. Instantaneously, rain crashed down on us as we ran inside for cover.

When the clock struck 8:00, Vanessa Carlton appeared on stage, accompanied only by her piano. I really enjoyed her set, despite knowing very little of her music prior to this. During the brief time she was on stage, she also spoke to the crowd about "A Thousand Miles" and her experience with its success, including the fact that a documentary had recently been made about it. Unfortunately, she had to end early because, for the duration of the already rainy concert, we were rushing to finish before the beginning of an electrical storm. She announced to the crowd, in reference to Stevie Nicks' impending arrival, that "the high priestess is coming" before leaving the stage. In my mind, this solidified the ethereal vibes I had been catching from the moment I entered the venue.

After a few minutes of anxiously watching the stage being set up, the band starts making their way onto the stage as “Running Down a Dream” by Tom Petty blasts through the speakers. I was somewhat surprised to see that every member of her band, down to the backup singers, was no younger than 65 years old. Once they have taken their places on the stage, I hear the first notes of “Outside the Rain.”

Stevie herself then makes her entrance and waltzes down the center of the stage.

She was dressed all in black, with a ruffled skirt and the classic Stevie shawl that changed three times throughout the night. To be honest, I still haven’t fully recovered from that moment of seeing her in real life for the first time. She still exudes a strong sense of glitz and extravagance in every way, down to the glittery black tassels decorating her microphone, making it difficult to believe that she is a real person. Even after all of these years, her aura on stage has not changed at all.

As she continued through the setlist, the storm in the background intensified. Thunder crackled in the distance, and it seemed oddly appropriate to hear her then sing the line, "Thunder only happens when it's raining." The storm outside the venue seemed to enhance the atmosphere of her performance and music; and for me, it almost seemed like this might be the only way to truly experience Stevie Nicks’ music as she intended.

About a quarter of the way into the concert, Stevie began talking about a song that has “reached out to [her] since 1966” that she also believes is very relevant nowadays. She even said that she had finally recorded it and that the official cover would be released ten days after this performance, which is incredibly exciting to look forward to. Following this brief speech, her band began a stunning rendition of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth."

Surprisingly, this wasn’t the last iconic cover that she performed. As many people may be aware, her lifelong friend and fellow legendary artist, Tom Petty, passed away in 2017. During Stevie’s cover of “Free Falling,” pictures of Tom Petty are displayed on the screen behind her. If I wasn’t already crying, this was the time it would have happened.

There was not a single bad song in the entire set; everything had a unique twist, from an extended version of "Gold Dust Woman" to an insane guitar solo in "Landslide," which was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II. What was most important, though, was that it was clear that Stevie Nicks and her band as a whole were enjoying themselves. She even made a speech about how, even though she is 74 years old and doesn’t need to work anymore if she doesn’t want to, she will keep going until she "has to come out here in a walker with lots of feathers and glitter and stuff" out of love for her audience, consequently making everyone in the audience’s hearts melt.

As someone who grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac and idolizing Stevie Nicks, this was a completely surreal experience. If an opportunity to see Stevie Nicks in concert ever arises—even more so if she is somehow back with Fleetwood Mac—never pass it up. Even though I have attended a lot of concerts, this was undoubtedly one of the best. Stevie Nicks is just such an iconic and extraordinary personality that it’s impossible not to be entranced by her.

Despite a large number of people having to sit out in the rain and the expansive range of personalities present, every person in the audience was spellbound by Stevie Nicks' incredible charm and pure talent. She was able to unite everyone with her music and share a lifetime of art with thousands of people in one incredible performance. It only deepened my obsession with her. She still performs her timeless classics for generations of fans who are devotedly inspired by her and the legacy she will undoubtedly leave behind; it’s quite clear that the only reason she continues to do so is that she genuinely loves and is passionate about this. I'd like to end this on the same note that Stevie ended her concert, and I believe the best way to do so is to simply repeat the words she left us with after her unforgettable performance:

“In this world today, I think that music really is the only healer.”


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