Stevie Nicks enchants Huntsville audience at the Orion on Halloween night

Annabelle Blomeley, Culture Editor

A quarter moon shone in a cloudy sky but there was no chance of rain — the perfect spooky weather for a Halloween night concert with the witchy singer herself, Stevie Nicks.  

Nicks, best known as a singer-songwriter who was originally with legendary band Fleetwood Mac before forging a name for herself, skyrocketed to fame in the 1970s with her rock-defining sound and uniquely haunting voice.  

Also known for her aesthetic of scarves and flowy dresses, her complicated love life that eventually broke up Fleetwood Mac, and her signature twirls and delicate dances, Nicks hadn’t changed at all during her performance at Orion. Although she’s now 74 years old, she’s still got it. 

After announcing her tour in July, Nicks surprised the state of Alabama by adding one more show in late August in one of Alabama’s fastest growing cities, Huntsville. 

And Alabama didn’t let Nicks down. The show sold out quickly for the Orion Ampitheater’s intimate venue. 

Before the show, the screen behind the stage clicked on to reveal a man at a desk, who enthusiastically declared on behalf of the city of Huntsville that Oct. 31 is officially “Stevie Nicks Day.” 

In a crowd buzzing with excited energy, Nicks’ eight-person band then came out and started playing the beginning of her song “Outside the Rain” from her solo album, “Bella Donna.” As Nicks walked out to stand in front of her signature mic stand adorned with glistening and flowing scarves, the crowd erupted in cheers. 

On the stage, Nicks was exactly as one would expect her to be. She wore a long black dress corseted in the torso and with long sleeves slightly puffed at the shoulders. Her famous long blonde hair was curly and wild, just like it looks in photos from the ’70s and ’80s. 

Her unforgettable voice, deeper and huskier than most artists, settled over the audience, who were effectively starstruck at the sight of the musical legend.  

As “Outside the Rain” wrapped up, Nicks and her band immediately transitioned to one of Fleetwood Mac’s most famous songs, “Dreams,” from their 1977 album “Rumours.” 

Not only has Nicks perfected the spooky, mysterious witch persona, but her songs were perfect for singing and dancing to on a Halloween night. Behind her, a video of a gothic staircase overlayed with the figures of ghostly, dancing women played. 

Now here I go again, I see the crystal vision / I keep my visions to myself / But it’s only me who wants to wrap around your dreams, and / Have you any dreams you’d like to sell, dreams of loneliness?” Nicks sang to the crowd, who sang right back.  

After finishing “Dreams,” Nicks smiled at her fans and said that although she’s been performing for decades, only a few times has she performed on Halloween. 

“You know, the older you get, the less you actually think about going out and trick-or-treating. It seems a little age inappropriate at a certain point,” Nicks said. “But when you do what I do, and you get to actually be on stage on Halloween, the sky’s the limit. So, Huntsville, I welcome you on this beautiful Halloween night. Let’s get this Halloween party going.” 

Throughout her 16-song setlist, Nicks played all of her and Fleetwood Mac’s best hits, including “Gypsy,” “Stand Back,” “Edge of Seventeen,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Landslide,” and more, all of which sounded exactly how a fan would want them to. 

Before “Gypsy,” Nicks told the story of how she reconnects to her pre-fame self, which involves her taking her mattress off her bed, adding pillows and old quilts, and reflecting on who she was before Fleetwood Mac took off. 

Nicks’ fans were from a mix of different generations, with older women dancing freely in the stands to younger women donning their best Nicks outfits: long flowy black dresses, hats, scarves, bangles and more. 

“I loved it. I’m 70 years old, and this was the music of my generation. I haven’t seen [Nicks] before so this was a real treat for me,” said Lynda Wilder, a Birmingham native who attended the concert. 

Stunning visuals played behind Nicks during her set, from rotating paisley patterns for “Stand Back” and city scenes of a woman standing in the rain with an umbrella for “Gypsy,” to white doves flying around live videos of the band and Nicks performing for “Edge of Seventeen.” 

For “Bella Donna,” Nicks brought out the original blue shawl she wears in the album’s back cover photo, holding it in front of the spellbound audience. 

“I started listening to her in college, and a lot of her songs just speak to my heart,” said Claire Bolton, a 2009 alumna from The University of Alabama who now lives in Huntsville. “The concert was amazing. I haven’t really been to a concert that was this energetic, so it was fun.” 

Nicks wasn’t the only one performing her heart out. Her band isn’t just made up of any performers. Comprised of guitarists, a bassist, pianist, drummer and two backup singers, it’s obvious Nicks only plays with the best of the best. Her band electrified the audience and paired perfectly with Nicks’ vocals and occasional tambourine-playing. 

For the slow and thoughtful song “Landslide,” Nicks had grown adults wiping away tears as she sang, “But time makes you bolder / Even children get older / And I’m getting older too,” which is a surreal thing to hear from the aging Nicks, who wrote the song nearly 50 years ago. 

After performing a killer rendition of one of her most famous songs, “Edge of Seventeen,” Nicks and her band walked off stage, making the Orion audience, which was smaller and more intimate than what might be found in Birmingham or Atlanta, erupt into cheers and chant “Stevie” in hopes of an encore. 

The Orion, which just opened in May and seats 8,000 fans, was the perfect size for a Nicks concert. It was small enough for intimacy, but big enough to feel one with the crowd.  

Finally, after a roaring Orion audience, Nicks and her band regrouped on stage for a Tom Petty tribute of his hit song “Free Fallin’” As she finished up, Nicks said she had a Halloween surprise and left the stage with her band. 

The crowd was anxious for her to play another one of her hit songs, “Rhiannon.” As her band put on black witch hats, Nicks came out in her own witch hat and cloak, the perfect Halloween costume for anyone who knows even a little about Nicks and her ways. 

And then the crowd got what they so desperately wanted: “Rhiannon.” With Nicks’ incredible vocals, her band’s obvious talent, a witchy video of an orange sky with creepy tree branches, and flashing purple and orange lights, “Rhiannon” was the most perfect ending to an already perfect show.  

As Nicks sang of the titular Rhiannon, who was taken “by the wind” and like “a cat in the dark,” it seemed that nearly every audience member in attendance quietly made note to themselves that this Halloween was surely something special.  

“This is the best Halloween I can ever remember having,” Nicks said. 

And it’s safe to say the fans in the Orion definitely agreed.