The Soundstage Sessions

by: Stevie Nicks

Recorded in October 2007, just over half a month after the release of her hits collection Crystal Visions, The Soundstage Sessions finds Stevie Nicks running through her hits -- both solo and Fleetwood Mac tunes -- in front of a small studio audience. This performance, which was also released simultaneously as a DVD, is suitably intimate and respectful of Nicks' original recordings, right down to how "Stand Back" and "If Anyone Falls in Love" are slathered in synthesizers that overwhelm the otherwise subdued arrangements. This fidelity isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the performance has a tight West Coast studio pro feel (a vibe partially achieved by Waddy Wachtel's presence as a co-producer) and Nicks is in good form, never pushing too hard, never straining, always sounding assured even when she's navigating through the gentle misogyny of Dave Matthews' "Crash." Nothing about this is flashy but -- despite the addition of "Nashville" strings to "Landside" (strings not heard on the original broadcast) -- it's not too tasteful either, thanks to those welcome waves of analog synths and the songs they serve. That may not make The Soundstage Sessions a memorable affair -- and fans wanting this, her first solo live album ever, to be memorable aren't asking too much -- but it does make it enjoyable, albeit in a pretty gentle fashion. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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