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Review: Stevie Nicks performs at the UBS Arena in all of her eras

On February 14, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stevie Nicks headlined the UBS Arena in Elmont on Long Island, which coincided with Valentine’s Day.

Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks. Photo Credit: Randee St. Nicholas
Stevie Nicks. Photo Credit: Randee St. Nicholas

On February 14, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stevie Nicks headlined the UBS Arena in Elmont on Long Island, which coincided with Valentine’s Day.

Nicks kicked off her set with “Outside the Rain,” where she was able to instantly lure her audience in from the opening verse.

‘Dreams’

It was followed by an expressive version of the Fleetwood Mac classic “Dreams” and the atmospheric “If Anyone Falls,” where she took her fans on a trip down memory lane to her sophomore solo album “The Wild Heart.”

“Welcome, New York,” Nicks exclaimed. “We almost didn’t get here on time. The traffic was so bad. We didn’t think we were going to make it.”

“We were a little bit late and we are really sorry, but anyway, we are here now, and we are all yours… for two hours, and then, we have to go. So, let’s get this New York party started,” she explained.

“Thank you,” she said following the warm reception of “If Anyone Falls. “This next song was a gift from Tom Petty when I was finishing up the Bella Donna in 1981.”

‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’

Nicks went on to share the story of how “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” became the single at the time, when she was working with producer Jimmy Iovine, and the sweet success story of working with Tom Petty, and how the duet single played a vital role in the success of the “Bella Donna” album.

“This song kicked off ‘Bella Donna’ right straight up to No. 3 on Billboard, and then, straight to No. 1, and all I can say is ‘thank you Tom’,” she revealed.

Her guitar player, Waddy Wachtel, took on the part of Tom Perry for an impressive duet of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” and they segued into the up-tempo and unapologetic “Fall From Grace,” which is a track featured in her “Trouble in Shangri-La” solo album.

‘Fall From Grace’

She noted that “Fall From Grace” came from a poem that was made into a song. “It is about an argument and I really loved it, and I loved singing it. Then, I pulled away from singing it because it was about an argument,” she explained.

“There wasn’t a lot of love going on in this song, but it’s okay,” she added about “Fall From Grace.”

Following her performance of “Fall From Grace,” she acknowledged that it is “exhausting to be angry.”

‘For What It’s Worth’ cover

Nicks was able to tip her hat to Buffalo Springfield with a noteworthy rendition of “For What It’s Worth.”

She described the songwriter, Stephen Stills, as one of her idols from the very beginning when she first started singing. “Stephen is somebody I’ve loved so much,” she said, prior to adding that it was a “dream come true” to record this tune.

With “For What It’s Worth,” she encouraged the younger generation to go out and vote, especially since she didn’t start voting until five years ago. “I’m 75, so I went my whole life without voting, because I was busy and in a famous band,” she said.

“My list of excuses went on and on. I didn’t think I would give it any thought at all. At about 70, I realized that I would be sorry someday when I’m 90 that I didn’t take advantage of the one thing in this country that we all have… and that’s the right to vote. So let’s just all vote ‘for what it’s worth’,” she elaborated.

‘Gypsy’

Nicks noted that the Fleetwood Mac tune “Gypsy” was one of her favorite songs that she ever wrote, and that she wrote it on guitar at the time. This hit single, for Nicks, is a reminder of her humble beginnings, and went on to share a lengthy story about the origin of the song.

“Before Lyndsey [Buckingham] and I joined Fleetwood Mac, we were super poor. I was a cleaning lady… a very excellent cleaning lady,” she said. “I was, I have to admit the things that are true, but I wasn’t a very good waitress though I still made good money because I was fun to be around, and I liked food.”

She picked up the pace with the fan-favorite “Gypsy,” where everybody was singing along with her, and she got the audience up on their feet.

‘Wild Heart’

“This next song needs no introduction,” Nicks admitted, and immediately broke into “Wild Heart,” which was melodically stunning with an infectious beat to it.

Equally remarkable was “Bella Donna,” the title track of her breakthrough solo studio album, which she released in 1981. A neat moment was when they brought out the original “Bella Donna” cape for her to wear.

‘Stand Back’

A real treat was hearing “Stand Back” live, which is this journalist’s all-time favorite tune in her musical catalog. She also wore the original cape from the “Stand Back” video for this rousing live rendition.

It was followed by “Soldier’s Angel,” where she showcased a great deal of attitude.

Stevie Nicks dedicated ‘Soldier’s Angel’ to the women and kids in Ukraine

She acknowledged that “Soldier’s Angel” was one of the more “serious” songs of the evening, and she dedicated it to the Ukrainian women and children, as well as for herself because it makes her feel like she is doing something small to help them.

‘Gold Dust Woman’

After a stirring interpretation of “Gold Dust Woman,” she received a standing ovation and shared that she wrote that on guitar as well. The on-screen videoboards had a “gold” theme to them, and she was wearing a golden cape.

‘Leather and Lace’

For “Leather and Lace,” she sang praises for her vocal coach Steve Real, and subsequently invited him up on stage with her, for a memorable duet as he nailed Don Henley’s part.

‘Edge of Seventeen’

After Real and Nicks embraced, she closed her elaborate set on a spitfire note with the rocking “Edge of Seventeen,” where she had everyone on their feet once again. “That was so much fun for us,” she admitted.

“Thank you very much,” she told her audience about coming to see her and the band perform live at the UBS Arena. “Happy Valentine’s Day,” she exclaimed.

Encore

For her encore, Nicks returned to the UBS Arena stage and graced the audience with a distinct cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” as well as the powerhouse tunes of the evening “Rhiannon” and “Landslide,” both of which were superb, earning huge standing ovations.

The Verdict

Overall, Stevie Nicks was delightful at the UBS Arena in New York. She was able to take her audience on a journey through time with her music, which spans nearly six decades.

She was a true storyteller, who shared her insights and behind-the-scenes of the songs that she performed tonight. It is evident that all of these songs are standards, and they will never go out of style.

The Long Island audience knew very well that they were in the presence of a true trailblazer and music visionary.

Nicks appeared comfortable on stage and her vocals were rich, lilting, and harking as ever. She interacted well with her audience and treated them as if they were her family.

Whoever has yet to see this rock and rock songstress live in concert is missing out.

Nicks was the first woman to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on two different occasions: her first time as a band member of Fleetwood Mac and the second time as a solo artist, and rightfully so. Her live show at the UBS Arena earned an A rating.

To learn more about Stevie Nicks, check out her Facebook pageInstagram page, and her official homepage.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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