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San Francisco Chronicle (07/24/2005), Gold Dust Woman < Stevie Nicks < Main Page

San Francisco Chronicle (07/24/2005), Gold Dust Woman

San Francisco Chronicle, July 24, 2005

Gold Dust Woman
by Bill Picture

Hurricane Emily is threatening to pummel Florida's eastern shore, and Stevie Nicks is sitting in a hotel room in Miami, her eyes glued to the television.

Fleetwood Mac's bewitching front woman is 10 dates into her 22-city solo outing (the Gold Dust Tour comes to the Chronicle Pavilion on Saturday) and trying to figure out why she didn't take the summer off as she had planned. After all, she deserves a break. She spent the better part of 2004 on tour with Fleetwood Mac, and early 2005 was spent assembling an elaborate, Strip- worthy spectacle for a sold-out, four-night solo engagement at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

"It was pretty fabulous, if I do say so myself," she jokes.

But as soon as Nicks cleared her calendar, unpacked and began to settle back into life in sleepy Phoenix, an old flame, Eagles front man Don Henley, whom Nicks dated briefly in the late '70s, called to invite her to join him for a string of co-headlining dates.

"And when Don Henley asks you to rock with him, you don't say no," she says. "Plus, I thought, 'Well, I have this amazing show left over (from Vegas). ' So I said, 'Ah, what the hell, let's do it.' "

Henley was able to commit to only 10 dates because he was due to report back to Eagles headquarters in mid-August for a three-month outing with the classic rock outfit and needed to save his voice. But Nicks decided to go ahead and make a summer of it. She booked 23 more dates of her own, dubbed it the Gold Dust Tour and invited up-and-comer Vanessa Carlton to come along.

"I figured, the ball is already rolling, so I might as well tour as long as I can," Nicks says.

Without a new record to support (her most recent solo release was 2001's "Trouble in Shangri-La"), Nicks is treating fans to an all-greatest-hits set that includes classics from her own vast repertoire and that of Fleetwood Mac. While some veteran artists have resorted to freshening up older material with new arrangements rather than retiring them altogether and disappointing fans, Nicks has adopted an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude when it comes to classics like "Edge of Seventeen" and "Rhiannon." She is, however, planning to perform and record some of her work with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra next year.

"I never get tired of those songs," she says. "Really, I don't. I'm a very different person now than I was 30 years ago when I wrote 'Gold Dust Woman,' for instance, but I still feel it. It takes me right back to that dark, sad place, when drugs were consuming me and I could feel my life's blood dripping away.

"I guess the songs never get old for me because they're all so personal. When I perform them, I try to remember who I was then, who that version of me was. It's really heavy sometimes, and sometimes I still get really emotional."

Nicks says that watching her tour mate Carlton perform has much the same effect on her.

"I adore that girl, but I can't watch her because I get all choked up," she says. "Vanessa reminds me so much of myself at that age. You know, Lindsey (Buckingham) and I were very much in love, and I had this intense passion for (making music). I cry because she makes me remember why I started doing this."

Carlton recently commented how honored she is to be sharing a stage with one of rock's legends. Nicks says Carlton needs to stop with the legend stuff, because, while she's proud of her work, Nicks believes she has yet to write her one defining song.

"People tell me, 'That's the best song you've ever written,' and I go, 'Really?' I guess it's the artist's curse, never being satisfied. But I feel like, once I have written my best song, then what? There's nowhere left to go from there."

Retirement isn't yet a part of Nicks' vocabulary because, at 57, she insists she's got plenty more good years and good songs left in her. When she is too old to tour, rather than put herself out to pasture, she plans to channel all of her creative energy into her first love, writing.

"It's what I love to do," she says. "And I may produce. But honestly, they'll probably be wheeling me out onstage in a wheelchair with rhinestones and raven feathers hot-glued to it. You know me -- it has to be fabulous."

She also foresees a return to the Bay Area at some point in the future.

"That's where it all started," she says. "It's where I belong. It's been years since I lived there, but to this day it still feels like home.

"So, if you're in the Haight 10 years from now and a blur of feathers and rhinestones whizzes past you on a rocket-powered wheelchair and someone goes, 'What was that?' you can say, 'Oh, that's Stevie.' "

Stevie Nicks, with Vanessa Carlton, performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Chronicle Pavilion, 2000 Kirker Pass Road, Concord. $20-$85.50.


Date: 2005-07-24         Number of views: 2932

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