Stevie Nicks w/ Vanessa Carlton• June 16, 2022• USANA Amphitheatre
Reviewed by Brittany DeMott
The Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll made sure to stop at one of her favorite places on Earth. Believe it or not, Salt Lake City, UT is that place. Stevie lived here in Utah from 1961 to 1964 and went to Wasatch Jr. High. And briefly Judge Memorial. Stevie’s family moved away from Utah; if you have been to a show before, you know she talks about how much that devastated her. She absolutely loves Utah and the song “Landslide” was dedicated to her Utah friends. When you’re at a bar out of town and this song comes on, you can tell everyone that Stevie wrote that song about your home state. Most likely a spell will overcome them and they will fall in love with you.
Contrary to popular belief, Stevie is NOT a Witch but very much appreciates the mystical elements. Too bad, Practical Magic is one of my favorite movies.
I put on my black dress, obviously, and grabbed my crystal necklace that hangs in the window and put it on. My best friend and I have seen Stevie before and we both cried for days. I made sure she was with me again. That voice has followed us down until it haunted us, leaving us under her spell for more. We arrived at USANA after staring at it for 15 minutes across the street. (The Mountain View Corridor was a good idea, a great idea even. But don’t go that way.) We went off-roading and arrived at our parking spot, finally, we have made it!
We started walking towards the gate and I could hear someone singing. I’ll be honest, I was not aware of who was opening and if I would have done my due diligence, I would have made sure to get there early. I looked at my friend, Meghan, and said “This is my jam!” as the famous piano to “1000 Miles” by Vanessa Carlton played. Yes, THE Vanessa Carlton. From what I could hear, she did amazing and my 11-year-old self was absolutely stoked to hear that.
Walking around, or shuffling around I would say, I noticed all the pretty ladies with their Stevie attire on. This look is a mystical, witchy, magical look. A lot of black and flowing dresses, lace and leather, top hats, dangling jewels, the complete supernatural look. Every concert I go to, I try to dress up. Halloween is the best and I feel like concerts are a secondary Halloween. It’s nice to see others dressed up and you know how much time and energy went into getting the perfect outfit together.
This show was, not shockingly, sold out. According to inside sources, USANA Amphitheatre was at its absolute maximum capacity. I’ve been going to USANA for years but have never been to a sold-out show on the lawn. What a trip. Literally, watch your step, or you’ll trip. There were so many fans here that you could barely see the grass. I have never seen such a sight in my life! She still is packing in shows and you know what is even better? It’s a new generation joining in each time. Stevie is enchantingly timeless. Her vulnerability mixed with the strength that she projects into her music will resonate with anyone, no matter the age.
The show began with an ode to her lifelong friend, the late Tom Petty from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. “Runnin’ Down a Dream” had begun playing and it was a beautiful way to begin her show. Stevie and Tom had written a few songs together, one being “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, which would be performed later on. When people ask me what I love about Stevie’s shows, besides the obvious, is the way she has conversations with the crowd. She will give a history of how a song is written. Stevie will share stories from her time in Fleetwood Mac. She made this experience personal and raw.
Stevie then started performing from her catalog, beginning with “Outside in the Rain” from her 1981 album, Bella Donna. She appeared on stage in her otherworldly attire, black dress, black overcoat, black tights, and a beautiful shawl to finish the look. Her hair was long and full with her waves on full display. An absolute icon.
The screams I heard next were ear-piercing. Stevie’s band began playing “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, a classic. The crowd was singing along, dancing, laughing, and definitely making TikToks. Stevie would perform a few songs from her time in Fleetwood Mac, including “Gypsy”, “Landslide”, “Gold Dust Woman” (my favorite), and “Rhiannon”. I have to give a special shout-out to “Gold Dust Woman”. The stage presence for that song was mesmerizing. I got lost in the gold glitter on the screen and the golden lights illuminating the amphitheater. The intro to “Gold Dust Woman” gave me goosebumps immediately.
I know she says she isn’t a Witch, but I don’t know. That song puts a spell on me, no doubt about it. Stevie has a special way of writing and delivering her message in such a poetic way. The lyrics are some of the best I believe someone can write. Especially as someone who can relate to the experiences in the songs. Stevie gives me the same feeling that Taylor Swift does and I’m not saying that because I am Taylor Swift’s #1 fan. As I write this, I even looked up to if they have ever spoken of each other. Stevie says that Taylor reminds her of herself when she was young. So see, I know what I’m talking about.
Stevie also made a special tribute to Ukraine. She has been very open about her dismay at the Ukraine War. She had written an open letter to Putin telling him that she hopes “he turns to dust”. Imagine getting that burn from THE Stevie Nicks. Not even a burn, but a literal curse.
As the night dwindled down, I turned to my friend and did an air guitar in hopes of “Edge of Seventeen” to be next. That chugging guitar began, we looked at each other and couldn’t stop smiling. We were seeing one of the greatest songs ever being performed live. Life could not get any better at that moment. I proceeded to play my air guitar throughout and danced around like no one was watching. The feeling around me was bliss. Not one person wasn’t singing. “Edge of Seventeen” never gets old and is an amazing song to end a show with. But wait, there’s more.
Earlier that night I had gotten in the merch line and got a red Stevie Nicks shirt. I actually wanted every single piece of merch, but, times be tough. I am lucky enough to get a shirt because, by the time I got one, they were about out of everything! Everyone here has good taste, so, not shocking that they would run out!
Stevie and the band returned to the stage for their encore. A message to all bands – do encores ALWAYS. It gives me the same feeling as when I get an extra mozzarella stick for free. It’s a bonus and another boost of serotonin! The band performed “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty. When Stevie joined Fleetwood Mac, she had heard Tom Petty for the first time and became obsessed with him and his music. She even confesses that she would have left Fleetwood to join the Heartbreakers without hesitation. They met and their friendship was immediate and deep. Losing a friend of that level, whether it be a death, a move, or a disagreement, that loss is never easy. Stevie has always performed Tom’s songs, but now it’s bittersweet.
Up next, “Rhiannon”. The song “Rhiannon” was inspired by the book Triad: A Novel of the Supernatural by Mary Leader. The character has sides to her, just like all of us. Rhiannon is the darker side of the character and Stevie wrote this song in ten minutes. Ten minutes. That’s all it took to create one of the most famous songs in the world. This is also the song that has convinced everyone of the witchy side of Stevie.
To my surprise, she ended the night with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock n’ Roll”. This makes sense, as she is the Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll. I thought this was a fun way to end the show. This song you can’t help but scream and dance to. She delivered this cover in that signature rock voice, that I almost want to say it’s bet…I better not. What if Robert Plant reads this one day. They are equally amazing! We are very lucky that Stevie will make the effort to put SLC as a place to always visit on tour and she will always have a home here with us.