Picks and Pans Review: Stevie Nicks Live at Red Rocks

updated 02/15/1988 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/15/1988 01:00AM

One reason this is such a splendid concert tape is that director Marty Callner, who has worked with Hall and Oates, Heart and Whitesnake, doesn't seem compelled to show off his technique. He has a gorgeous setting, the outdoor Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver. And he has one of pop music's most physically attractive, musically interesting performers in Nicks. Callner's cameras record the event faithfully, without distorting it. The second reason the tape is so enjoyable is that Nicks herself, about 10 minutes into what begins as a listless performance (taped in summer 1986), literally puts her foot down. In the middle of Talk to Me, she stomps three or four times, as if to pump herself up, and the effect is galvanizing. Impassivity is part of Nicks's style, but from that moment her singing seems to take on an undervoiced passion. Her backup musicians also seem to take themselves up another notch, particularly drummer Rick Marotta, guitarist Waddy Wachtel and Robert Martin, who plays saxophone for Talk to Me. The appearances by "special guests" are overbilled. Anyone who turns away to eat a potato chip could miss the contributions of Peter Frampton and Nicks's Fleetwood Mac colleague Mick Fleetwood. And Callner lapses during Dreams, patching in a phony sky full of lightning. There's nearly an hour of solid music, though, with such Nicks hits as Stand Back and an extended Edge of Seventeen, complete with a real dove in honor of the song's refrain ("Just like the white winged dove sings a song/ Sounds like she's singing it to you"). When Nicks is shown under the closing credits walking out to the edge of the audience (where she is loaded down with stuffed toys and flowers), the crowd's affection seems well earned. (Sony, $19.95)

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