Last night at the Wiltern in Los Angeles Stevie Nicks performed at a star-studded concert in celebration of In Your Dreams, her first solo album in a decade. But yesterday the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman also turned 63, and a table full of miniature cupcakes greeted showgoers entering the historic venue, which Nicks said the Mac used for rehearsals back in 1975.
It wasn't the only reminder that this still-potent style icon has been a rock star for longer than Lady Gaga has been alive: Nicks treated Thursday's two-hour show like an in-person episode of VH1's Storytellers, explaining how new tunes such as "Annabel Lee" and "For What It's Worth" connect to classics like "Dreams." "It's all one big thread," she said, a point driven home when Lindsey Buckingham arrived onstage to help her play "Soldier's Angel," a haunting In Your Dreams cut inspired by a trip Nicks took to the Army's Walter Reed Medical Center. (Mick Fleetwood made the scene last night, though he didn't perform.)
Backed by a nine-piece band that included percussionist Lenny Castro and her longtime guitarist Waddy Wachtel, Nicks sounded as weirdly – and awesomely – imperious as ever in "Rhiannon" and "Gold Dust Woman." (Wachtel turned the latter into an extended psych-goth freak-out as Nicks went whirling-dervish in her sparkly shawl.) But you could tell she was more excited about the new stuff. "In Your Dreams" was bright, Beatles-esque pop; "Ghosts Are Gone" rocked harder than anything else. Nicks introduced the Twilight-informed "Moonlight" as a kind of a sequel to "Sorcerer," from 2001's Trouble in Shangri-La. And she said she wrote "Secret Love," her current single, about "some ancient creature we can't remember."
Dave Stewart, who co-produced In Your Dreams, showed up to play guitar on several tunes, as did Mike Campbell on the folky "For What It's Worth." (Nicks said Tom Petty had recently given her a badge officially inducting her as an honorary Heartbreaker – "the only girl in the group," she added proudly.) The singer concluded her main set with a disco-grungy "Edge of Seventeen," then returned to the stage for "Love Is," a gorgeous piano ballad she said dates back to her earliest days with Buckingham.
"I'll never forget this night for as long as I live," Nicks told the audience at the end of the show. If that's a line she's used countless times before, that didn't make it seem any less true.