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Cleveland Plain Dealer. August 12, 1994

Section: FRIDAY


Stevie Nicks still has that knack.

The former Fleetwood Mac singer may be 46. She hasn't toured in three years. But she gave a vivid, warm-hearted 95-minute show Wednesday night at Blossom Music Center that proved again she is one of rock's top female singers.

She has been a solo artist since 1980, with her first album, "Bella Donna," going quadruple platinum. Still she was a more satisfying representative of the old Mac than last month's Fleetwood Mac show at Blossom, which had only two original members and a shrill new singer.

Though Nicks did only three Mac songs, they were powerful choices, "Dreams," "Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)" and "Gold Dust Woman."

She had an enchantment, almost kind of a magic at her first solo show here in July 1983, and she still has. She flowed on stage Wednesday in a black lacy dress with a long scarf and black lace gloves. She had six changes of scarves through the show. Even the mike was draped in black fringe. But somehow these suit her. She has lost weight since her last show here.

The backdrop, a large (almost 18 feet high) gold-framed picture over Victorian wallpaper, gave you the warm touch of being in your own living room. The stage was dark as the 11-member band played "Outside the Rain" from "Bella Donna," segueing into the Mac's 1975 No. 1 song, "Dreams."

Nicks' blond hair, straight, full and very fluffy was a little bit of a surprise, but her voice wasn't - as strong as ever, though a little less breathy.

She did the mystic "Rhiannon" with the sad cry, "Don't leave me now," early. bringing the crowd to its feet. The song seemed to have a life of its own, changing pace, changing mood. Nicks wound up twirling with her scarf held out like wings.

"Stand Back," from her platinum solo album, "The Wild Heart," was a great contrast, almost wall-to-wall sound, with Nicks's lyrics echoed by her three back-ups, Sharon Celani, Lisa Jane Edwards and Sara Fleetwood, ex-wife of Mick Fleetwood.

One of the new songs, "Maybe Love Will Change Your Mind," from Nicks' current "Street Angel" album, was as melodic and catchy as earlier hits. Fans lit candles at the start of another "Street Angel" track, "Destiny." They already knew it. It was recycled from a 1982 release.

The only mediocre track was "Docklands." Her new "Listen to the Rain" would have been a better choice."

Nicks' set closer, her "Edge of Seventeen (Just Like a White Winged Dove)" was a complete change of pace, almost an angry outcry, with Nicks falling to her knees. It also triggered the offering of roses as well as teddy bears and Stevie Nicks dolls from front row fans. Nicks shook hands as she accepted them. This has become a heartfelt ritual. Fortunately it only occurs on one song.

Nicks fans, 6,000 at this show, have become as dedicated as Deadheads. Brianna Marie Imbordini of suburban Brooklyn, 9, wasn't the only fan dressed in Nicks-like scarves. High school teacher Jeff Feinberg drove in from Buffalo for the show.

The opening act was Darden Smith, a towering Texan who had a gem of a song, "Levee Song," which he had co-written with Chip Taylor, writer of "Wild Thing." Smith did most of his pieces on his acoustic guitar, but sang another splendid track, "Loving Arms," with lot of gusto. Both Nicks and Smith had songs called "Talk to Me," though Smith's was more seductive. Smith's voice isn't as distinctive as Nicks, but he's on his way.