In October of 2016, Stevie Nicks began the 17th solo tour of her career with opening act, The Pretenders. The tour would be a long one, over a year, ending on November 24, 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand. By the end of the tour, she performed 67 concerts. The tour was to promote her then most recent solo album, 2016’s 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault.
Thankfully, she recorded several shows on the tour, with the end result being this live Blu-ray release. Two shows were utilized for the live album: one taped in Indianapolis and one Pittsburgh (March 29 and 31 respectively).
The shows themselves were quite unique and entertaining. Given that Nicks was promoting 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault, an album of previously unreleased songs she had newly re-recorded, it is surprising that only three songs from that album are featured (“Belle Fleur,” “Starshine,” “If You Were My Love”). However, she expertly mixes her hits with lesser-known songs from her solo catalogue.
She also surrounded herself with a tight band (including longtime collaborator Waddy Wachtel), acted as musical director, and took on vocal and guitar duties on-stage. Other old friends are on stage as well, including Scott Cargo on drums and Marilyn Davis on backing vocals, who had scored a number one hit with Phil Collins back in 1985 (“Separate Lives”).
This particular tour provided a chance for Nicks to not only connect with older material, but also the audience. Nicks tells great stories about almost every song, providing the audience (and viewer) a chance to hear the inspiration behind the songs. She has a wonderful way of telling stories, some of which are funny and others heartbreaking.
The setlist did, of course, include some of her biggest songs that were written and performed with Fleetwood Mac ( “Rhiannon,” “Landslide,” “Gypsy,” etc). Surprisingly enough, it is the lesser-known songs that are perhaps the most interesting. “New Orleans” and “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream),” both from her 2011’s In Your Dreams, are just two examples.
The recording is flawless, and the 5.1 mix could not be better. Wisely, 5.1 is utilized to put listener square in the middle of the show. By using the surround sound, one feels as if they are sitting in the audience. The mix is perfect with no one instrument, or voice, dominating. Any special effects with 5.1 are kept to a minimum, which is perfect. Nicks, Wachtel, Joe Thomas, Karen Johnson, and Frank Pappalardo obviously spent a great deal of time in getting the sound right. Live In Concert: The 24 Karat Gold Tour is one of the best sounding live recordings that this reviewer has heard.
Live In Concert: The 24 Karat Gold Tour is Nicks’ second live album, following 2009’s The Soundstage Sessions. Again, Nicks is not an artist to release products for the sake of releasing an album or filling in gaps. She releases albums that have meaning to her, and this tour obviously meant a great deal to her personally and professionally. For a variety of reasons, the album and film were not released immediately following the end of the tour. Fans had to wait three years, but it was worth the wait. For those lucky enough to have seen the show in person, it serves as a brilliant souvenir. For others, it is a chance to witness an artist in her prime.
Overall, Live In Concert: The 24 Karat Gold Tour is a brilliant-sounding live album. It not only technically sounds good, but the band is tight and Nicks is her wonderful self. The concert served as an opportunity for Nicks to tell her story in song and in chat with the audience. It is also a great opportunity for music lovers to discover material that one may not have been previously aware of and missed out first time around. Simply put, it is a brilliant Blu-ray of a brilliant show.