Crystal Visions…The Very Best Of Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks

What can you say about Crystal Visions…The Very Best Of Stevie Nicks. With 16 songs on the CD and 13 on the DVD, plus 30 minutes of never-before-seen home video, along witrh commentary from Stevie on not only the DVD, but in the booklet — this set is a gem of a collection. Often overshadowed by the juggernaut of Fleetwood Mac and that group’s relationship dramas, one tends to forget that the gravelly throated Nicks is a powerful solo artist in her own right. And while her very distinct vocals and ‘ethereal’ stage presence might not be to everyone’s liking, nobody can deny this woman'sm staying power at the rock/pop forefront for ovcer 30 years.

On the CD portion, there is the obligatory kick-off track, “Edge of Seventeen”, one of Stevie’s most recognizable solo songs and arguably her best. In the booklet Stevie mentions Waddy Wachtel’s guitar playing and arrangement, making “Edge” much more than just the piano-driven song she had originally intended it to be. Giving Waddy a ‘shout out’ endears Stevie to me like nothing else here. I have loved W.W. since his days with Linda Ronstadt and always felt he was one of the unsung heroes of rock guitar.

Other highlights of these 16 songs include “If Anyone Falls In Love.” If any song brings me back to the 80s, this one does. I just love that blaring keyboard and those perfect backing vocals. There’s a great studio version of “Silver Springs,” a ‘leftover’ from the Rumors sessions; a remixed dance version of “Dreams,” which is interesting for not much else than the backbeat and new vocal Stevie recorded. Then the smokin’ smokin’ smokin’ (did I say it was smokin?) live version of “Rhiannon.” Stevie mentions her vocal coach in the liner notes for this song, and in my opinion her voice has never sounded better. “Stand Back” is inspired by Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” with the uncredited purple one himself on keyboards. How about a fun live version of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock & Roll”? Nicks mentions in the booklet how much she has always loved Led Zeppelin. Finishing things off is an epic 9-minute plus live version of the “Edge Of Seventeen” with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra providing ‘urgent’ accompaniment.

As for the DVD, there is aforementioned commentary where Stevie tells us about how the videos were made and who made them with her. In the case of “Stand Back,” she shows a video that was never aired. What I like about the commentary track is that the singer is informative yet so self-deprecating, you find yourself as entertained by what she’s saying as you are by the videos themselves. And like the CD, she balances out the content — the “Stand Back” video is right there with the unusual gems, like a live clip of “Edge Of Seventeen” from her first-ever solo shows, which first aired on HBO when Bella Donna was out, along with the video for “Sorcerer.”. To top it all off, there's a 30-minute ‘making of’ of Bella Donna, featuring more unreleased, never before-seen video and audio. Stevie Nicks has avoided what I usually hate about greatest hits collections. Though she has certainly included some of her biggest hits on Crystal Visions, she has also included tasty morsels of some lesser known tracks, definitely songs that were never ‘hits’ in the true sense of that word. That, along with live material and the DVD, makes this a truly magical set from rock and roll’s most enduring enchantress.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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