“I have always been a storm.”– The High Priestess Stevie Nicks at the Hollywood Bowl, October 3, 2022
I spent countless hours singing along to Stevie Nicks’ music in my childhood bedroom in Las Cruces, NM. I had a perfect dress, my mom’s shawl, a moon necklace, and any other accessory I could find. I learned to read tarot cards, won a History Day competition on my report of The Romani, and was constantly trying to grow my hair longer. Of course, I have always wanted to see Stevie Nicks in concert. My first attempt to see her would have been in Las Cruces when Fleetwood Mac was doing a reunion and playing the Pan Am Center. I had connections, really good connections because I was a hostess at the Village Inn restaurant. This meant I had power, real power because I controlled where and when you got a table. So I was getting 2nd row tickets and backstage passes.
Emphasis on WAS because they cancelled and never rescheduled. I tried many other times but honestly I mainly got priced out of tickets. I’ve worked at grassroots nonprofits most of my career and being a professional do-gooder does not pay you Fleetwood Mac or Stevie Nicks ticket kinda money. So when I saw she was playing at the Hollywood Bowl I was prepared for disappointment because that’s what I can afford and afford it in abundance. Two tickets in a higher section was adding up to around $600 and my heart sank. So then I searched for 1 ticket and it happened, total price was about a hundred bucks and I was in L1 near an aisle. SOLD!
I remained in denial it would actually happen, but still posted on the social medias I was going alone and before I knew it a friend reported she took my advice and bought herself one ticket and then another friend did the same. I started a thing! A couple days before the show I pulled together my look. I didn’t just LOVE Stevie Nicks, I wanted to LOOK like Stevie Nicks so it was not hard to pick out the absolute perfect outfit. The topper (literally) was a hat that I had gotten at a charity event so many years ago. It has been sitting on my Mom’s harp collecting dust when a friend convinced me to wear it.
On Monday I could barely contain my excitement of putting on my outfit and started my walk to the Hollywood Bowl. I figured anyone who saw me assumed I was walking to Hollywood Blvd to take pictures with tourists, which I did consider. My walk timed out perfectly with the arrival of a friend along with her other solo ticket holders at the church parking lot. We walked up Highland together and you could just feel the love in the air.
I wasn’t the only one channeling Stevie, but my hair decided to cooperate with me that evening and I felt that was really the perfect touch. My friends and I went to make sure we knew where our seats were and then I went to meet up with another friend who came solo. As I was waiting for her several people stopped me to compliment my outfit or take a picture. One woman had me FaceTime her sister in Mexico, her daughter looked embarrassed so I really leaned into it. I finally found my friend who I haven’t seen in ages. Nurse Heather had the perfect top hat and outfit and was also one of my cat’s foster mom, so we had a lot to catch up on. We stood in the corridor of the Promenade 2 entrance talking and pretty soon we were being being asked for a photo every couple minutes. Sometimes just a picture of us, sometimes someone posed with us, one man took a picture and then said “she’s gonna love this” and I wondered – SHE? It was really hard to finish a thought with all the photos and I didn’t realize we were missing the opener, Vanessa Carlton. At one point after a photo the person realized that she was playing ‘THE SONG’ and rushed off. Moment later, same thing. We weren’t sure what THE SONG was, but I plan to look it up.
We finally parted to go to our seats. So many people stopped me to say “shouldn’t you be on stage” that I got to my seat just right before Stevie was to start. The people looked at me rather oddly as I claimed my solo seat. Luckily the woman to my right also was wearing a hat and I felt safe. (Note: I did tell the people behind me that if my hat bothered them that I would remove it, but they enthusiastically said it was fine.)
As the lights dimmed Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream” started playing. This was so fitting in ways I was yet to realize. It would be one of several tributes to Tom Petty, showed her personal love for music and artists, was a better pick than the usual “Carmina Burana” or similar music openers, and it was a beautiful day and everything was possible. She started with “Outside the Rain” from Bella Donna and from there went into “Dreams” off of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. While she mainly performed music from her solo albums, she did five Fleetwood Mac songs and two Tom Petty songs including “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Between songs she gushed about musicians she admired, showcased legendary pieces from her wardrobe, and created a feeling of a warm hug. (Seriously, I LOVE HER!!!) One thing that I wasn’t prepared for was MuthaF’n Waddy Wachtel! DAMN!! 75 years old and just killing it on guitar. Do they just put him on ice between gigs because he is incredible. I mean if he has slowed down, then it does not show, AT ALL.
Stevie Nicks is 74 and completely amazing, but considering how many times I sang her songs I knew when she missed or changed a line in some places. In addition to her complete adoration of Tom Petty, I mean it really sounds like she would have dropped everything to be in a band with him full-time. She also shared her appreciation for Stephen Stills with her most recent recording which is a cover of Buffalo Springfields’ “For What it’s Worth” and hearing her perform it was stunning.
I’m not gonna lie. I cried. I cried quite a bit. I would list the songs I cried during but that was like a third of her set. To hear “Landslide” after all the world has been through and at my stage of life was beyond emotional. She also performed “Soldier’s Angel” which she said she only pulls out for special reasons and the reason that night was support for Ukraine. Images flew behind her including a picture of Zelensky and everyone cheered.
For her encore she started with Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” which is already a masterpiece and yet she still made it even more enchanting. She ended the night with “Rhiannon” and that’s the first time I felt a bit alone sitting between strangers, so I called my dear friend Jennifer from High School. Herself already a bit of a mythical creature in her own way, Mama Jennifer (as I used to call her) also had this strength about her the same way Stevie does and its unexplainable. I knew she was likely asleep in her home in Colorado, but I held up the phone, swaying with it as if I was dancing with my friend and it was perfect in its own way.
It took me awhile to compose myself to leave. I kept thinking back to my childhood bedroom and listening to Steve Nicks, dreaming of getting out of my small town and living some place where there were so many possibilities for dreams. I had walked through my neighborhood of Hollywood dressed as Stevie Nicks to Stevie Nicks and I felt no fear, only love, and I felt free.