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Nicks' Voice Is Strong, But Geography Is A Bit Weak

Posted: August 01, 1994 


About 10 minutes into a 1 1/2-hour performance by Stevie Nicks at the Mann Music Center on Saturday night, she greeted the crowd: "Hello, Pittsburgh!" Recognizing her faux pas, Nicks immediately apologized: "Oh, I'm really, really sorry."

The damage could not be reversed, though.

Her mistake was just one of the signs throughout the show that the former singer for Fleetwood Mac is now supplying McConcerts. Billions served.

However, for many fans, the vitality of the music seemed secondary to honoring Nicks as an icon of femininity and spirituality. Scores of thirtysomething women wore diaphanous, sequined dresses; the star received many gifts during "The Edge of Seventeen." These are Nicks concert rituals. The singer upheld her own rituals as well.

Six times during song introductions, she walked offstage to don glittery, gauzy shawls over her black muumuu. And of course, the Gothic-inspired stage set included candles.

Nicks' voice sounded better on Saturday than it has in a decade.

Despite some loss of range and flexibility, she belted out her solo hits ''Stand Back" and "Talk to Me," and Mac's "Dreams" and "Rhiannon," with a big, sensuous vibrato that heightened her "gypsy" persona.

Nicks' nine-member touring band included Philadelphia-born Rick Vito, a former guitarist with Bob Seger and a later incarnation of Fleetwood Mac.

His tart chords and inventive fills did much to enliven the band's mediocre renditions of radio staples and songs from Nicks' recent album, Street Angel. Despite these advantages, however, the tunes were rarely transcendent.

Only "The Edge of Seventeen" seemed to hold the passion that originally attracted Nicks' fans to her.