Daily Spartan (10/08/2001), Stevie Nicks Rocks the Shoreline Amphitheatre
Spartan Daily (San Jose State University campus paper)
October 8, 2001
Stevie Nicks rocks the Shoreline Amphitheatre
By Michelle Jew, Daily Executive Editor
In lieu of the Sept. 11 events, the Shoreline Amphitheatre took extra precautions to ensure safety at the Sept. 30 Stevie Nicks concert.
Key rings were searched for Swiss Army knives. Backpacks had to be emptied onto a table and sorted through by security. And at every gate, patrons were not only patted down from head to toe, but metal detectors were used.
Annie Savitt, an usher who has worked at Shoreline since the early '90s, said security has definitely been increased at the venue.
"They're even searching (employees) now," she said. "Security is always on alert. Stuff like (fights or threats) can happen at any given show."
Once inside the main gates, however, things seemed normal - depending on your definition of it.
Fans dressed in tie-dyed dresses, matching leather corsets and pants, scarves and shredded skirts milled around the grounds drinking beer, buying T-shirts and sorting through the mass of jewelry booths present.
The crowd was almost as interesting as the show. There were people dressed like hippies. There were people dressed like gypsies. And there were people dressed in jeans and T-shirts. There were people of all ages.
But it didn't seem to matter, each person was there for his or her own reasons - which was fine with everyone else.
When I go to a concert, I go to a venue like Live 105's BFD, where the crowd starts rowdy and only gets rowdier as the night progresses. I'm used to seeing old, junky cars in the parking lot, not BMWs. I'm used to overcrowded lawn areas. I'm used to seeing jeans and shirts fly off bodies. I'm used to packing up my gear in a matter of seconds to escape a rapidly expanding mosh pit. This concert was nothing like that. These fans were mellow. The people danced in place, not into one another.
The treat of the show was the opening act, a band from North Hollywood called California. John Gregory, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist, opened the set by asking if there were any Americans in the crowd. The half-full amphitheater cheered wildly - patriotism still running high.
"Well, we're an American band playing American rock 'n' roll," Gregory said.
And it was rock 'n' roll, the kind of stuff I grew up with. It was a nice change from the whiny alternative, boring teeny-bopper pop that has been out lately. This music reached out and grabbed you. The bass and drums vibrated the ground. It vibrated in your knees and in your chest. It was how rock and roll is supposed to be played - loud.
Gregory looks like Eddie Vedder, from when Pearl Jam was popular, but sounds a bit like Bruce Springsteen. He plays guitar. He can sing. He can scream and yell. He's a local - Santa Clara local to be exact.
"American rock 'n' roll never dies," Gregory said. "You don't see it on MTV, and that's all right."
Which is why California's music is so appealing, with it's hard metal-like guitar riffs and loud drums all the way to the Chris Isaac sound of a sliding guitar. California delivered big-time - which explains why, after I bought their compact disc, the clerk took down the display.
"We're running really low," was all he said.
These California boys, with their cowboy shirts and laid-back attitude made the show. Expect big things from them in the future.
But the main event was Stevie Nicks.
"There's the King, that's Elvis, and the Queen, that's Stevie Nicks," Gregory said before the band left the stage.
"God save the Queen," shouted a concertgoer.
Nicks certainly ruled the audience. All she had to do was walk on stage to bring the crowd to its feet. Behind her and the band was a backdrop of a large archway. During the songs, the backlighting would turn the sky in the arch different colors, often simulating a sunset or the sky before a storm.
When Nicks sang, she constantly played with the red, white and blue streamers hanging from her microphone - it almost became a distraction.
"(The Bay Area) is where it all started," the SJSU alumna said. "Everything that was musical started here."
She told stories about how the Bay Area was when she and Lindsey Buckingham, from Fleetwood Mac, started before they drove to Hollywood. It was also where Nicks and Buckingham "broke up forever" while recording the album "Rumors" with Fleetwood Mac. Her song, "Planets of the Universe," was based on that experience.
Nicks' voice is like the female version of Bob Dylan. Sometimes it's grave, a little deep and not always quite in tune with the song - but that's part of the charm.
Sheryl Crow contributed two of her own songs to the tour, "My Favorite Mistake" and "Everyday is a Winding Road," in addition to playing the guitar and singing backup for certain songs.
The songs gave Nicks time for a breather and a costume change - or shawl change - because Nicks would leave the stage for five minutes only to return with a different colored shawl.
Nicks was stationary for most of her numbers. It was only broken up for short spurts of dancing - Stevie style. Nicks would spread her arms, let the shawl dangle down, lean at an angle, and swing her upper body around. It wasn't quite a twirl or twist - it was too rickety for that - but whatever it was, it drove the audience wild.
People leapt to their feet and cheered.
I still don't know what to make of it. I was afraid she was going to fall over.
One of the best parts of Nicks' section of the concert contained no singing.
It started with the percussionist, Lenny Castro, playing the bongos. Then the drummer, Mark Schulman, joined the beat. For four solid minutes the two held a song of their own. It was amazing to hear the variety produced by the two instruments. But it wasn't until Waddy Wachtel, the guitarist came in that the song took off. It was something one would expect from a heavy metal or hard rock concert. The riffs from the guitar were amazing, then the drums nearly took it over. Each instrument kept getting louder, as if one was trying to surpass the other with talent and pure volume.
That was the high point of the concert.
Nicks had the chance to show off, and so did the band.
I'm still trying to decide who won.
2001-10-08 Number of views: