Music Box: Stevie Nicks & Sandra Bernhard on The Enchanted Tour’s Opening Night (Plus Concert Footage)
Stevie Nicks opened her 1998 tour promoting her ENCHANTED box set on May 27, 1998 at the MEADOWS MUSIC THEATRE in Hartford Connecticut. I saw her three times that tour, twice in one week. It was a show that I’ll always remember because it’s when she introduced her great acoustic trilogy of songs she’s never sang in concert before that were included in the collection (“After The Glitter Fades,” “Garbo,” and the “Rose Garden”/“Sleeping Angel” mash-up) that was beyond thrilling to behold.
Filmed for TV, long-time Stevie Nicks fanatic Sandra Bernhard was on assignment to interview Stevie, one of her idols. Anyone familiar with Bernhard knows of her Nicksian obsession, which has influenced many a mighty Bernhard routine. Her 1988 one woman show, WITHOUT YOU I’M NOTHING includes her classic “The Women Of Rock N Roll,” which chronicles her enchanted, fancied night with Stevie – who, after sharing the torrid tales about being women of Rock N Roll with Sandra, still hadn’t called after six months. Sandra also infused Nicks directly or indirectly many times through the years, including for Rodney Dangerfield’s 75th birthday (where she hilariously serenaded the aging icon with “Stop Dragging My Heart Around”) and MAD TV where, draped in her fairest Stevie finery, she embodied Christine McVie moonlighting as a waitress at an all-night cafe, fondly waxing nostalgic about Stevie and the rest of the Mac. Great comedy.
These concert clips are single camera shots from the sound board at the theater close by Sandra’s seats. I do not have the full concert – I don’t think it was entirely filmed, rather a few select performances were shot for b-roll footage purposes. If the whole concert was indeed filmed, I have no idea where it can be found.
And, because this wasn’t shot for commercial use, this isn’t perfect footage (e.g. the slight reverb effect on each song, etc..).
In video 1, I edited Sandra’s pre-concert TV introduction of Stevie, which was actually filmed a few hours before the show began. Once it begins, the first three songs of her set list performed are included here – her classic “Outside The Rain/Dreams” medley followed by “Enchanted.”
In video 2, I edited together “Gold Dust Woman” and “Stand Back” (“Gold Dust Woman” was the third song she performed; “Stand Back” was the tenth during that first night of the tour). Video 3 is Stevie’s signature pre-encore classic “Edge Of Seventeen” (she encored with “I Need To Know” and then “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You”). Unfortunately, a portion of “Edge…” cuts right at the point of the bridge after Stevie sings, “So…with the slow, graceful flow of age…” momentarily, but slides back in at the end of the chorus, and for the next verse (“Then suddenly, there was no one left standing in the hall…”). From this point of the video until it ends, while Stevie still sings, the camera goes to black, then to audience shots of Sandra and her pianist Mitch Kaplan for the continuance of the song, with eventual camera pans of Stevie collecting her gifts of flowers from her adoring fans.
Before the bitching starts, remember that this was filmed because of Sandra’s post-show interview with Stevie, not as a commercially released Stevie commodity. So, deal with the non-Stevie shots and just enjoy!
The interview took place backstage after Stevie’s performance. The rapport they have is intrinsic and wonderfully comfortable, as if these two fairly new (at that point) friends were two old consorts who have shared a history of tales for countless years. Stevie discussed the “Enchanted” box set, her pre-show jitters, her happily single life, her health, advice to the younger generations of Rock chicks, her songwriting (later in their discussion, Stevie recounts the devastating story behind “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You,” Sandra’s favorite Nicks song) and a myriad of other topics. The conversation isn’t rehearsed or scripted and thus, more compelling.
During the interview, while Sandra bestows on Stevie a belated birthday gift (Stevie had recently turned 50), the two start discussing their involvement in Don Henley’s STORMY WEATHER Walden Woods benefit concert, where both previously performed a month prior, in April. At the benefit, Stevie performed the standard “When Sunny Gets Blue” and a masterful, mesmerizing version the Etta James classic “At Last,” and Sandra spun Peggy Lee’s great Leiber & Stoller “Is That All There Is” into comic gold (of all the Stevie projects that have never been released to the public, this one, for me, is the Holy Grail – her vocals are spellbinding and it can only be imagined the thrill to have witnessed it). Stevie explains how performing these songs has altered her whole view on listening to music (hers or otherwise) and how her singing and songwriting have changed because of it.
Before opening Sandra’s beautiful gift, Stevie tells a brief story about why she doesn’t like to open gifts in front the their givers (it’s kinda funny). When opening the card, she asks Sandra to read the inscription (due to her near-sightedness) and Sandra does…
Dear Stevie…like all beautiful dreams this life is filled with landscapes, lovers, tender moments, sharp edges, crazy melodies. You are the weaver of so many incredible quilts. We look to you for inspiration…and love divine. I wish for you the happiest and healthiest of birthdays forever and a day. It’s a blessing to know you. Love, Sandra.”
We know exactly how you feel, Sandra.
It’s a lovely interview.