Stevie Nicks wows the crowd at Ravinia Festival

Stevie Nicks wows the crowd at Ravinia Festival
Stevie Nicks on stage at Ravinia Festival. September 9, 2017. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Perhaps the hottest ticket of the summer at Ravinia Festival, Stevie Nicks was on fire last Saturday night. She eased into the evening creating smoke right from the start with her voice strengthening and the energy building as the night progressed.

Ravinia crowd before Stevie Nicks concert at Ravinia Festival. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Ravinia crowd before Stevie Nicks concert at Ravinia Festival. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The SOLD OUT show had people clamoring for their piece of lawn sitting so close together that you could barely see any green while the pavilion filled to capacity.

At $200 face for a pavilion ticket ($70 lawn), this says a lot for how much the lady is loved.

Nicks, known as one of the best selling music acts of all time with Fleetwood Mac, and also for her pairings with many of R & R greats from Dylan and Petty to Prince as well as her chart-topping solo career didn’t disappoint.

Stevie Nicks at Ravinia Festival. 9/9/17 Photo: Courtesy of Ravinia.

Stevie Nicks at Ravinia Festival. 9/9/17 Photo: Courtesy of Ravinia.

At 69, Nicks still possesses one of most powerful voices in the music industry. Her distinctive sound, mystical visual style, and symbolic lyrics showcase why she’s known as Queen of Rock and Roll.

Not only can the lady sing but her song writing, starting with her first chart topping Bella Donna, in 1981 pits her as one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.

Her stories behind her songs at Saturday’s concert took the audience on a journey through the years. Here’s just a few:

The story behind “Bella Donna” and “Wild Heart”

Nicks’ first and second albums released, respectively in 1981 and 1983 launched her career as a solo artist. “Bella Donna” was a huge hit topping the Billboard charts for weeks (and remaining there for 3+ years). But, she explains, that “I might not be standing here tonight if my second album, “Wild Heart” wasn’t successful,” continuing “The thing about the follow-up album ‘Wild Heart,’ was that whenever you come away from a big group and make a record, people say it’s a fluke. The only way you can mess with that argument is to make another record that does really well, too and they can’t say ‘Bella Donna’ was a fluke. We owe a lot to ‘Wild Heart’ for being the crazier and darker record, but that did really well and gave me the ability to have two careers the rest of my life.”

A Prince of a story

Although she didn’t see a lot of Prince, she always considered him a friend. She was so blown away by Prince’s “Little Red Corvette song” that she wrote the song “Stand Back” start to finish in 1 day. She shared her memories of being compelled to call him about it. As luck would have it, he was in L.A. and was able to come over to Sunset Sound. The result: “Stand Back” with uncredited synth work by the man himself.

One more story…

The story behind “New Orleans” from Nicks’ 2011 album “In Your Dreams.” Nicks says it was her way of writing about what she was seeing as Hurricane Katrina was hitting New Orleans. “I was horrified. So I immediately started writing my poem. I had to be very careful as a songwriter. I was conflicted on how much I could say. Yes, you have to say, ‘We may never forgive you, government of the United States, for not coming to our aid. But we are a flamboyant city, and we are a city of music, so we will come back.

Courtesy of Ravinia

Waddy Wachtel. Photo: Courtesy of Ravinia Festival.

The rest of the crew

Stevie’s band and backup singers, most of whom have been with her for years, are all pro. Head guitarist and musical director Waddy Wachtel has spent decades as a guitarist, producer and composer. Jump-starting his career in the 1970’s L.A. music scene with artists the likes of the Everly Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Warren Zevon, Bonnie Raitt, Randy Newman, Don Henley and Jackson Browne – to playing and writing with Keith Richards in the X-Pensive Winos–Wachtel wowed the crowd both as backup and soloist on his 12-string acoustic and electric guitars.

The evening wrapped after 2 plus hours with the audience begging for more. Nicks complied with an encore singing as shouts of “We love you Stevie” rang out throughout the festivals grounds.

No one ready to call it a night.

Click here or here if you want to see a snippet from Saturday’s show.

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