There is no doubt about it that Botanic Park is not only picturesque but an amazing space to host an outdoor live concert. It is hard to believe that such a space is literally a heartbeat away from the centre of the city. Adelaide has been spoilt for choice this week with so many great entertainment options to choose from and the crowds definitely flocked to Botanic Park to see the legendary Stevie Nicks and the Pretenders. It was a massive crowd that gathered to see these legendary performers and despite being a little cool it was a great night for it.

My biggest gripe is that it is unfortunate these days that the concert experience is very much focused on those with the platinum visas and the corporates who can afford the best seats that come with the best view who may not be the biggest fans of either act but this seems to be the nature of the beast. If any improvements can be made it would definitely be improving the sight lines for those in general admission who are stuck quite a way back relying on watching the show on the video screens. Is that an experience? Hmm, I beg to differ! Some may be content to sit on a rug or a chair swilling wine and eating fancy cheese with friends in a relaxed environment but some of us want to be a lot closer to the action and in amongst it watching the show.

Nevertheless, Adelaide experienced three outstanding performances and kicking off proceedings was local singer Zkye. Hot damn! Zkye was great and was the perfect tonic to get the night started and she played the show of her life in front of what would have been a very tough crowd. Hopefully there will be a few fans at the next show she plays in Adelaide.

I was quite excited to see the Pretenders play as I have been hanging out to see them play for a long time. Now, I can cross them off my bucket list of bands. Chrissie Hynde is a total rock star and still has plenty of that rock swagger and attitude. She didn’t miss a beat and the band sounded brilliant. It was a bit hard hearing what was said in between song but with a set list this good that seemed irrelevant. Would anyone be game enough to get out their phone to shoot some video or a quick few snaps? The focus on the night was very much on experience it, don’t film it and rightly so.

Their set started with two new songs from Alone namely the title track and Gotta Wait before returning to the familiar Message Of Love. So many great songs in their back catalogue but the likes of Kid and Hymn To Her were sensational. Back On The Chain Gang went down well and The Kinks cover Stop Your Sobbing was a nice surprise. I’ll Stand By You was the wow moment of the set and Chrissie Hynde’s voice is just as stunning now as it was back then when the song came out. Their set ends on a high with the super popular Brass In Pocket.

The sun had set by the time Stevie Nicks came on stage and by about this time a warm jacket was required as the temperature started to drop. The crowd did go nuts when the Queen of Rock and Roll took to the stage wasting no time getting in to Gold And Braid. Nicks welcomed Adelaide fans and said to the crowd that they arrived at 4.30am to admire the most beautiful sunrise she had ever seen, the best in her sixty nine years. She also commented that this has been a fun tour and let’s go. If Anyone Falls off The Wildhearts album was next and then one of my all time favs Stop Dragging My Heart Around with Chrissie Hynde was one of the night’s highlights. There was quite a story that preceded this one about this a conversation with a spiritual friend and the origins of how this song came to being. Stevie paid tribute to Tom Petty knowing that he is still out there rocking somewhere.

Belle Fleur apparently is a song about a car Stevie Nicks had which had no reverse and that it was the love of her life until she joined Fleetwood Mac and didn’t need it any more like an “old boyfriend”. It is a life on limos and knowing that getting in the limo is a goodbye which made her sad as she didn’t know when she would be coming back. Gypsy was an absolute stunner as was Wild Heart. Bella Donna was a significant song in Nick’s career proving that she has a “real” solo career and with a second solo album it was no longer just a “fluke”.

Each song had quite a story which was fascinating to hear as Nicks took this crowd through her entire career. Fleetwood Mac classic Dreams was stellar and the Buckingham Nicks Crying In The Night was as well. After Starshine Nicks asked the crowd whether they are warming up and is this your summer. Nicks also talked about the frustration of stealing music and the decision not to make albums until 2009 where in Melbourne she saw the Twilights film which inspired her to write a poem and by the time she got to Brisbane she was able to write a song on the piano, proving to be a record that bought Stevie back.

Stand Back was another fine moment in the set and who would have thought in 1982 they would have a chance meeting in Los Angeles where the great man Prince would spend forty five minutes on guitar part for that song would change her life and “then he was gone”. Nicks described playing that song as if Prince is walking with her. The main set came to an end with Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman and the brilliant Edge Of Seventeen. Nicks thanked the crowd again and described herself as the crazy auntie who had to many stories to tell. The encore topped things off with two more Fleetwood Mac classics Rhiannon and Landslide which Nicks making the statement “see you next year!”

Review by Rob Lyon