Stevie Nicks Honors Tom Petty at Emotional Louisville Show
Stevie Nicks, the High Priestess of Rock and Roll ended her 2023 solo tour with a powerful and poignant tribute to her late friend and collaborator Tom Petty at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 27. The singer-songwriter performed a set that mixed her Fleetwood Mac classics, solo hits and covers, as well as songs that she wrote or recorded with Petty over their four-decade-long friendship.
Nicks opened the show with the rousing “Outside the Rain/Dreams”, and “If Anyone Falls” before honoring Tom Petty, who according to her story, almost had her album Bella Donna complete but needed something. Her producer told her that another singer, who she’d never met, had written a duet and offered it to her Producer for free, if she’d sing it on his album also. It was then that Nicks dedicated a segment of the show to Petty, who died in 2017 from an accidental overdose of painkillers. She said that Petty was one of her greatest mentors and heroes, and that she missed him every day. She then performed a stunning version of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, the duet that they recorded for her debut solo album in 1981. She said “One version made it to #3, the other to #1, and Boom, I had a solo career.”
Band leader, accomplished guitar legend and longtime friend Waddy Wachtel sang Petty’s part of the song, while images of Petty flashed on the screen behind her.”Edge of Seventeen”, which she revealed was partly inspired by Petty’s wife Jane, whom she met in 1978. She then played a video clip of Petty introducing her at her 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, where he praised her as a trailblazer for women in rock. She thanked him for his support and love, and said that he was the one who helped her get there.
She followed with “Fall from Grace”, then told of a song written in 1966 by Steven Stills of Buffalo Springfied, which she says is more relevant than ever today. She then performed her recent cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”, which she said was a reflection of the turbulent times.
Throughout the show, Nicks charmed the audience with her anecdotes and insights, revealing the stories behind some of her songs and sharing her wisdom and humor. She also paid tribute to her musical heroes and friends, such as Prince, Dolly Parton and Paul McCartney, whom she collaborated with on Parton’s upcoming rock album. as well as songs from her solo albums, such as “Stand Back.” Every Stevie Nicks show is a masterpiece in storytelling.
Nicks began closing the show with a stunning rendition of “Gold Dust Woman”, transforming the arena into a glittering wonderland. She thanked the fans for their support and love, and said she hoped to see them again soon. As she left the stage, she left behind a trail of magic and mystery that only Stevie Nicks can create. The Encore again returned to honor Petty with “Free Falling”, then a rousing version of “Rhiannon” and, lastly, she dismissed the band and backup singers leaving only the Grand piano player and Waddy Wachtel on a solo acoustic guitar for her iconic “Landslide.” This was especially moving as the light wall showed countless photographs of Stevie and former bandmate, the late Christine McVie. Stevie told the audience that she had lost someone she never thought she could possibly lose, and that performing that song helps her heal from the loss of her lifelong friend, Christine.
Here’s my setlist: