BY SANTI GABINO JR.
Embark on a captivating musical journey across the eras, as the Athens Theatre in DeLand sets the stage for two incredible shows! On Friday, Sept. 8, at 7:30 p.m., NightBird – The Ultimate Tribute to Stevie Nicks will take the stage, presenting a varied repertoire spanning her entire career. On Saturday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m., Turnstiles, A Tribute to the Music of Billy Joel is under the spotlight, performing the Piano Man’s greatest hits!
Born in Phoenix in 1948, Stevie Nicks embarked on her musical journey as a young dreamer during the vibrant 1970s. Her entry into the music world gained significant momentum when she joined the legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac alongside her then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham. Nicks’ unique and raspy voice coupled with her evocative and poetic songwriting quickly established her as the heart and soul of the band. As the 1970s unfolded, Fleetwood Mac found themselves in the midst of a whirlwind of success and fame. However, beneath the surface, the band members were navigating a web of complex emotions and relationships.
Nicks’ first solo album, Bella Donna, released in July 1981, was a commercial and critical success, establishing Nicks as a solo artist outside of her work with Fleetwood Mac. It includes some of Nicks’ most well-known songs, including “Edge of Seventeen,” “Leather and Lace” and “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Her unique fusion of rock and folk, sprinkled with a touch of witchy mystique, has inspired generation after generation.
Beyond her musical prowess, Nicks’ fashion sense, characterized by twirling shawls and flowing skirts, created an iconic look. With a career spanning over a half-century, Nicks has earned the nickname “The Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll” due to her immense impact on the genre. She has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both as a member of Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist.
Nicks’ rise to fame wasn’t without its challenges. Her resilience in a male-dominated industry and her determination to stay true to her vision set her apart. Nicks’ music doesn’t just entertain; it encapsulates emotions, weaves stories, and offers a glimpse into her world.
Nicks’ personal life has often been a subject of public interest. She has been open about her struggles with substance abuse and her journey to sobriety. As she famously once said in an interview, “Sometimes a person has to go back, really back — to have a sense, an understanding of all the things they haven’t learned and perhaps have been avoiding.”
Switching gears in the tapestry of music, Billy Joel’s presence is as unmistakable as his piano’s chords. Born in the Bronx in 1949, Joel’s journey from playing in piano bars to filling arenas can only be described as a symphony of determination. His 1971 debut album Cold Spring Harbor didn’t make the waves he hoped for, but his second release, 1973’s Piano Man, struck a chord with listeners, becoming a singalong classic (we bet you’re singing it in your head right now).
Joel’s tunes aren’t just catchy; they’re windows into emotions we’ve all felt: at the bar, at home, after a breakup or all of the above.
Joel’s evolution from rock to pop didn’t just ride trends; it shaped them. His album The Stranger melded intimate ballads with toe-tapping anthems, and 52nd Street earned him a Grammy (one of six throughout his career) for Album of the Year. His storytelling can also be seen in “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and “Goodnight Saigon,” where he once again brilliantly packed history into verses.
Billy Joel, a musical virtuoso with a career now five decades strong, holds a fascinating array of accomplishments. A pianist and composer par excellence, he remains one of the few artists who sold out New York’s renowned Madison Square Garden for a record-breaking 12 consecutive concerts. His astonishing run of hits includes such timeless tracks as “Uptown Girl,” “Only the Good Die Young” and “Movin’ Out.” His rich baritone voice and masterful piano playing, coupled with his undeniable charm, have solidified his place in the pantheon of music legends, ensuring that his melodies will continue to captivate generations to come.
Tickets and more information can be found at www.AthensDeLand.com or by calling the box office at 386-736-1500.