My friend and I have been talking about going for years. But like a lot of things, we kept putting it off. She got married and had kids, I moved and stayed restless, other stuff happened. Time flew.
Now her kids are finally older, and I’m more or less settled. At her birthday party last year we talked about going again, and about two months ago I thought about maybe getting tickets for this year. As the thought played around my head, iTunes served up “Gypsy” at random.
Talk about a sign. A few mouse clicks and $70 later, I had two tickets to Night of a Thousand Stevies.
I love Stevie Nicks. For me she’s right up there with Cher, Debbie Harry, and Patti Smith: smart, strong, gorgeous women who do their own thing, and damn the men who can’t keep up. Some find Stevie too flaky and out there but I disagree. Her music skews to the pop side of rock for sure, but I don’t understand how people miss the darkness and melancholy under all that pop sheen.
Had a shitty breakup? Maybe not looking quite your best today, but have to do a few interviews? Are you really sad and tired but, instead of stabbing your ex-boyfriend to death because he was such an asshole, do you have to sing with him in front of 60,000 people tomorrow night? Stevie has been through some shit, and knows there is a heavy, heavy price to pay for love. She wrote songs about all of it to help the rest of us, and lord knows, she has always helped me.
Even though many of her songs come with a warning label, they all ultimately say love’s worth going for, and she performs them like no other. Stevie also had the flowy skirts, the platform boots, the tambourine, and the fabulous hair to twirl away everyone’s sorrows any time she hit the stage.
This is why my friend and I wanted to go, because Night of a Thousand Stevies takes this spirit and gives it a party—with all the right people. The event was born in 1990, when Stevie was going through a rough patch and NYC’s underground fun scene got together for a night of in-abstentia Stevie worship. Night of a Thousand Stevies (NOTS to the cognoscenti) has been going strong ever since—just like Stevie.
So, as NOTS turned 26 and was still able to stay on her parent’s health insurance, my friend and I, and my friend’s Stevie friend who has also wanted to go forever (we are everywhere), finally twirled the night away in Union Square.
I knew we’d have a blast as we walked into a lobby decked out with flower garlands and white winged doves while a giant TV blasted a live performance of Stevie singing “If Anyone Falls,” one of my favorites. I changed into my 5” platform shoes, my friend pulled out her tambourine, and off we went upstairs.
Who was there? Before you ask, yes, there were lots of straight guys in attendance. They were easy to spot—dancing with their girlfriends or wives and having a fabulous time, and taking it all in stride. Of course there were lots of gay men, but fans of all ages, colors, and gender orientations showed up—it was hard to say if there was any kind of majority, because most of us were dressed up in our favorite Stevie drag.
All the Stevies were there. Rumours-era Stevie (me), Beret Stevie, Big ‘80s hair Stevie, Klonopin Stevie, Gypsy Stevie, Velvet Underground Stevie, and today’s’ Victorian Stevie. Lovers and other assorted characters were in attendance, too. I saw a Lindsey, a Mick, and one of the male backup dancers from her “I Can’t Wait” video. A lot of people went DIY and just projected their own Stevie onto the night: I saw lots of Goth Stevies and a Leather Guy, looking for some Lace.
We started dancing immediately. The first song was “Stand Back” from her Storytellers special and though totally groovy, tinged with a little sadness since Stevie’s intro talks about how Prince inspired and played on the tune. The songs didn’t stop, and were either classics, deep tracks, or remixes spun by a DJ or sung live by different performers throughout the night.
Highlights included: dancing away to a cover band’s fantastic live version of “Silver Springs” with a quartet of Bearded Stevies, someone asking me just before I left if I had done a performance on stage earlier that night, and sitting on a couch with my friends to give my feet a break. But by far, the sweetest part of the night was when the melancholy opening notes of “Gypsy” gently burst through the speakers. Everyone said “Ooooh!” and went nuts as all the Stevies twirled and danced as one.
I can’t wait for NOTS 27.