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San Francisco Chronicle (07/16/1986), Shoreline Steals Show from Nicks < Stevie Nicks < Main Page

San Francisco Chronicle (07/16/1986), Shoreline Steals Show from Nicks

San Francisco Chronicle, July 16, 1986

Shoreline Steals Show From Nicks
by Joel Selvin

Rock music got a somewhat sorry introduction to Bill Graham's spanking-new Shoreline Amphitheatre on Monday by Stevie Nicks, but the miracle of Mountain View is a promising gift to South Bay music fans.

Performing under the tent top that someone has said looks like the world's biggest brassiere, Nicks sounded as if she had ground off the top half of her vocal range, growling and rasping her way through a listless and ineffective performance.

The former lead vocalist of Fleetwood Mac still boasts an enormously loyal following, more than 10,000 strong Monday, a crowd littered with young women dressed in quirky layers of lace like Nicks. She clearly strikes a heartfelt chord with her fans.

But to her more discriminating admirers, what a disappointment the show must have been. Three background vocalists covered the high notes for Nicks, who seems to have lost power as well as range in her singing.

She treated the crowd to a program of pop-rock specialities from her solo albums, interspersing a few oldies from the big Mac, but emphasizing selections from her latest LP, which spawned the big hit, "I Can't Wait."

Her crack band functioned flawlessly, if a bit heavily on the bottom end of the massive sound, wrapping her vocals in an alternately billowing and thunderous cloud.

Ever the eccentric diva, Nicks danced absentmindedly between vocals, dropping into deep knee bends and skipping off the stage for frequent costume changes. She gushed about her early days in the South Bay with former paramour and Mac associate Lindsey Buckingham. ("We opened for everybody.") The precious poetic content of her lyrics read more like Hallmark than Dylan Thomas, but the romantic soap operas she spins obviously find their mark with her audience.

Opening the show was Peter Frampton, hard on the comeback trail. The audience called him back for an encore after his inevitable extended version of "Do You Feel Like I Do," which took up almost an entire side of his 1976 supersmash album, "Frampton Comes Alive."

That year, he headlined Day on the Green concerts at the Oakland Stadium, supported by Fleetwood Mac.

It is rather amazing that both Frampton and Nicks are still around 10 years later, regardless of the condition they're in.

The real star of show was the amphitheater itself, opened only two weeks ago. Sculpted out of a former garbage dump, the steeply banked grass and concrete arena is surrounded by cloth windbreaks, the stage covered by the giant tent top hoisted on two poles.

Sound quality throughout the facility appeared excellent, and the bowl is surprisingly well protected from the winds sweeping the area. Traffic entering the amphitheater from the nearby freeway moved swiftly into the dirt parking lot a half-hour before show time.

Too bad the Nicks show proved so lame, but the concertgoers had no problem enjoying the spacious grounds and the open-air comfort of Graham's new amphitheater, sure to be a major cultural blessing to the South Bay for years to come.

[Reprinted in the SF Chronicle Sunday, July 24, 2005.]


Date: 1986-07-16         Number of views: 1633

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