Last entry we profiled four different creative men doing extraordinary things in their respective fields.
This entry we focus on four very powerful & very different women using their talent, strength & voices to create something legendary & unforgettable.
Stevie Nicks - October 30th - American Airlines Center - Dallas, TX
Finally in her presence - I had only seen Stevie Nicks briefly once before at a special performance with the Foo Fighters for a series of gigs they were performing as the Sound City Players with a revolving door of guests that were part of the documentary Dave Grohl had produced about the legendary studio Sound City.
She announced early that she would be shaking things up a bit, not playing the kind of set list her fans had been used to been hearing for decades. Then she and her band quickly played her 1983 hit If Anyone Falls, a reassuring sign that although she’d be playing some unfamiliar material, the show wouldn’t be all obscurities.
And it wasn’t. But it was weighted heavily toward deep cuts and non-hits, including a song that dated back to 1973 and her Buckingham-Nicks days, and others that for one reason or another never made it on to an album — at least till the 2014 release of 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault found a home for songs such as Starshine (which Nicks said she wrote while hanging out with Tom Petty) and Belle Fleur.
But about a third of the show was hits, from Nicks’ solo career and from Fleetwood Mac, with some excellent twists and turns —
extending Gold Dust Woman with Nicks going into her iconic spin with the shaw thing she's known for.; singing Leather & Lace with background singers Sharon Celani and Marilyn Martin doing the Don Henley parts; the expected but still climactic intensity of Rhiannon, a song Nicks somehow manages to invest her entire self (and possibly more) in every time she performs it.
There was warmth and humor in Nicks’ show, during which she told the stories behind several songs (including how she wrote Leather & Lace for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, then asked for it back when they split up, and how Prince’s Little Red Corvette helped inspire her hit Stand Back, which he played on). I had thought that she may pay some tribute to Prince like alot of people have in their performances this year & she did something very powerful & unique.
It started with the last song over the PA before the show began was Sign 'O The Times & after that Prince held an almost constant precense.
Instead of just a moment of silence, she told stories & his image would appear from time to time, most notably during Edge of Seventeen.
She said it best when she delcared it being "completely unnacceptable that he is gone".
Gold and Braid
If Anyone Falls
Stop Draggin' My Heart Around (with Chrissie Hynde)
Outside the Rain
Dreams (Fleetwood Mac song)
Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)
Crying in the Night (Buckingham Nicks song)
If You Were My Love
Gold Dust Woman (Fleetwood Mac song)
Edge of Seventeen
Rhiannon (Fleetwood Mac song)
Leather and Lace
Opening the show was the second woman in our profile - Chrissie Hynde & her band the Pretenders who Nicks brought out early on to do the Tom Petty parts on Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.
Her along with the Pretenders blasted through a tight first act, with Hynde in a great mood, greater voice and appealing loose form. She came onstage wearing a cowboy hat and, a few songs in, doffed her jacket to reveal a sleeveless “Everything is Bigger in Texas” T-shirt.
They were on fire — starting off great and really getting locked in about midset, especially showy guitarist James Walbourne and Martin Chambers, the band’s longtime, sledgehammer-force drummer, with bassist Nick Wilkinson and pedal-steel player Eric Heywood making more subtle contributions.
Back in 1984, Hynde wrote the lines, “I’m not the kind I used to be/I got a kid, I’m 33, baby.” That was more than 30 years ago, but she seemed like she was 33 again, just so equally powerful, playful & ultimately unforgettable.
The Pretty Reckless - October 27th - Gas Monkey Live - Dallas, TX
Back after two years with the just released Who Ya Selling For? - Taylor Momsen & the Pretty Reckless were firing on all cylanders from beginning to end of this amazing performance. Her work as an already iconic frontwoman is next level business.
Anyone that reguarly reads this blog or knows me personally can attest that I've followed the band from the very beginning and witnessed her transition from child actor to a powerhouse singer, stunning front woman & just one bad ass rock star.
She along with the band have matured quite a bit in the six years since their debut & even a bit drastically just since their last record Going to Hell just over two years ago.
Taylor did what alot of young girls do when they are exploring their sexuality while under the spotlight, they push the limits as far as they can & for someone like her, so profoundly attractive, the results jaw dropping at least & scorched earth at her most extreme.
Her completely naked frame on the cover of Going to Hell & cathartic sillhouette on the inside sleeves might be the greatest example of tear inducing perfection science has to offer.
Taylor seems even that more confident now at the ripe old age of 23 & with that she appears to no longer see the need of the truly outrageous over-the-top sultriness as before. Even her voice is finding this bassier Janis Joplin thing & heart seems to be in allegiance with Classic Rock.
She still knows she's dead sexy however & can effortlessly flip that switch at will which she did several times during this performance.
The transition is complete, enough time & she's put in enough miles now to be known as the singer for the Pretty Reckless, not that chic from teen soap opera Gossip Girl which I'm sure is to her great delight.
Follow Me Down
Since You're Gone
Oh My God
Make Me Wanna Die
Living in the Storm
Going to Hell
Take Me Down
Fucked Up World
Die Antwoord - October 1st - House of Blues - Dallas, TX
The fourth ass-kicking female in our quadra-focus is the incomparable Yolandi Visser from Die Antwoord.
Those crazy and creative group we all love and admire for some reason, Die Antwoord, also consists of the intriguing, strange, talented and egocentric Ninja & producer DJ God.
Though Die Antwoord, or “The Answer,” may seem a little strange in the states with their wild antics and love for violence, sex and shock value, they’re actually representative of “Zef,“the counter-culture movement in their home country of South Africa.
Recently the band announced the end of their musical career, having always said that they would only make five albums. And that they did. Die Antwoord isn’t done making headlines by any means, given that they’re moving on to filmmaking after their involvement with recent cult hit Chappie.
Yolandi is seemingly fearless, has the most unique style I think I've ever seen, could give the aforementioned Miss Momsen a run for her money for Best Body Ever & does it all with an effortless cool that feels irresistably dangerous.
An instrumental introduction began before the floor lights faded out, creating an anticipation throughout the crowd that cannot be explained with words. The audience was shouting, clapping and masked with faces painted in unbroken stares. DJ God came out first with an instrumental opening. Spiritual electronica with diverse instruments and heavy beats streamed from the speakers as Visser’s voice crept in.
In the middle of the stage was an LED screen with an elevated walkway behind it for the duo to navigate through, and by navigate I mean pace, jump, dance and then some. Die Antwoord were active to say the least, living up to their talked-about stage presence and exceeding any expectations you may have had. Ninja immediately jumped into the crowd and Visser joined him soon after, tearing off her hoodie and aggressively whipping her hair free, before completely mooning the crowd in act of gleeful defiance & exhibitionism.
This was one of those concerts where the front of the crowd was truly blessed.
At this point in the show, Ninja had the crowd chanting Visser’s name. And they selflessly did so. Yo-lan-di, Yo-lan-di. Ninja disappeared off stage just as Visser returned wearing a hoodie dress covered in banana icons. She frolicked aimlessly around the stage, often bending over just enough for the audience to see what was under the hoodie.
Visser often left the stage for costume changes but departed with awesome electronic jams performed by DJ God and then returned in magnificently hilarious yet somehow fashionable wardrobes.
She along with the rest of Die Antwoord ended their set thanking the audience and then raging to some deep electronic music alongside their dancers. When the beats faded out the trio bowed at the front of the stage, and all I could think of what that we collectively should be bowing to her.
Meg O Neil