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The moonlight confessions of Stevie Nicks

By Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

She says she hasn't spoken to Buckingham in a couple of years, though she did write him a note after his February 2019 heart attack: "You better take care of yourself. You better take it easy and you better do everything they tell you and get your voice back and feel the grace that you have made it through this."

Nicks has cataloged the ups and downs of her life in journals - she estimates she has roughly one per year of her life - and she plans to leave many of them to her goddaughters, of whom she has 11 or 12; she can't be certain. She chose most of her goddaughters at birth - asking their parents if she could fulfill the role - and relishes the way they keep her "totally young and up on everything." She loves to spoil them all with gifts imbued with meaning, like a pair of pink strappy heels she found at a store in Australia and deemed "Cinderella slippers."

Tokens are important to Nicks. In 1977, she began having gold moon necklaces made to give as gifts to those she felt needed them. Over the years, she's bestowed them to celebrities (the Haim sisters, Taylor Swift, Tavi Gevinson), soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Make-a-Wish recipients. Members of the coven - her "Sisters of the Moon" - are told the moons are lucky charms and to pass them along to another in need, should the moment arise.

Nicks is wearing the signature necklace in "24 Karat Gold," the concert special slated to play in theaters for two nights only, Oct. 21 and 25. (A CD version comes out Oct. 30; streaming plans for the film have yet to be determined.)

In May, Nicks flew to Chicago, where Joe Thomas, the film's director, was finessing a cut of it. The final version features 17 songs, only four of which are Fleetwood Mac hits. The show emphasizes Nicks' solo career - MTV standards like "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," "Stand Back" and "Edge of Seventeen." Performing music from her "dark, gothic trunk of lost songs," she tells the audience, makes her feel like she's a 20-year-old embarking on a new career. "This is not the same Stevie Nicks show you've seen a million times," she explains, "because I am different."

"This is the show where you get to meet this girl, finally," says guitarist Waddy Wachtel, who served as the tour's musical director and has known Nicks since 1970. "She can relax and work her own rhythm. It's a joy to see her get into her own songs instead of fighting to get her due in a band where there are three really strong songwriters."

 

On the road, Wachtel says, Nicks travels via private plane because she has declared herself too old for tour buses. She loves lavish hotel rooms with pianos, a perk Wachtel thinks she's earned: "She doesn't have a husband. She doesn't have a boyfriend. She wants a good room to be able to play her music as loud as she wants."

Nicks was just as specific when it came to editing the concert film. In the editing suite with Thomas, she insisted that "dorky" over usage of the phrase "like" be excised and was exacting when it came to the way she looked.

"He'd show me something and I'm, like, 'Are you serious? You're actually thinking about using that horrifically bad shot of me?'" she recalls, describing how she'd proceed to pace around the room, popping breath mints into her mouth. "If you're a woman and you're not 30, you want to look as good as you can. You start to realize that men see women completely differently than we see ourselves."

"She is so particular - and God bless her for that," says Thomas. "I mean, Stevie has the best skin I've ever seen - she should have her own cosmetic line. You sit there and you go, 'People over 65 would love to look this good.' And then she gives you a look that could fry your eyeballs."

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