Two rock and roll nuggets, Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde, will surface near the Truckee River this week.
Nicks, former Fleetwood Mac frontwoman — a radio powerhouse in the 1970s, icon in the 1980s and Internet luddite in the 2000s — opens the second of her 24 Karat Gold Tour at the Reno Events Center on Thursday, Feb. 23. She brings good company: The Pretenders, led by Hynde, whose opening set may boast songs that stand, arguably, on par with Nicks.
The promise of the Pretenders’ performances of “Back On The Chain Gang,” “I’ll Stand By You” and “Talk Of The Town” bring on a wave of excited anticipation of the soundtrack that was part and parcel to a distinct era of this listener’s life. But mention of the Pretenders also brings a nervous fear similar to being called on by your teacher on the day you forgot your homework. Walk with me to one of the most intimidating moments of my life.
I was photographing Hynde for a pre-performance event in Arizona. The organizers’ instructions to me were, “Wait with her and her manager at the coffee shop until we call you to walk over. And don’t mention her past music to her.”
Not one for small talk, Hynde let her manager do most of the speaking while we waited, until he went to settle up on the payment. I was sitting across from the one who wrote so many of the songs that continue to be my jukebox staples, who had performed alongside a who’s who list of punk and rock outfits over the years, and whose no bullshit aura of carrying herself told me not to test the boundaries. Instead, we talked about vegetarian restaurants we had encountered on our travels, as she is an outspoken activist on animal issues.
Eventually, she told me she loves the process of writing music, but doesn’t like being the focus of peoples’ attention. This comes from a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who continues to write and tour after nearly 30 years.
The Pretenders occupy the opening slot throughout the cross-country 24 Karat Gold Tour. On the opposite end of the fame and infamy-seeking spectrum is headliner Stevie Nicks. Her own hit catalog – including songs such as “Landslide,” “Rhiannon” and “Edge of Seventeen” — continues to have a strong grip over FM radio and the rabid devotion of her fan base can seem like the shawl-adorned precursor to today’s Swifties or Beliebers. For this tour, Nicks promises to stray from her usual greatest hits menu and dive into a variety of music from her recent “From The Vault” collection, also entitled “24 Karat Gold.”
In interviews for the release of the musical collection, Nicks admits that her old recording sessions were both sufficiently productive and drug-fueled. Concertgoers can expect to hear songs from as far back as the “Buckingham Nicks” album straight through her career to Fleetwood Mac essentials and songs spanning her solo years.
That the Reno Events Center is a more intimate-sized opportunity to see Nicks and the Pretenders perform than most of their arena dates, which only adds to reason to see the two kick off the final leg of the 24 Karat Gold Tour.
Stevie Nicks and special guests The Pretenders will entertain at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb 23, at the Reno Events Center. Tickets range from $45 to $137 at the REC box office and at ticketmaster.com.