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Reprise/WEA presents
Stevie Nicks: Crystal Visions (2007)

"You'll never get away from the sound of the woman who loves you."
- Stevie Nicks, singing Silver Springs

Review By: David Krauss  
Published: July 20, 2007

Stars: Stevie Nicks
Other Stars: Tom Petty, Don Henley, Sheryl Crow
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:00m:14s
Release Date: March 27, 2007
UPC: 093624999812
Genre: rock

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-B+A B

DVD Review

Ask any of today's top-selling female rock stars who influenced them most, and a large percentage would quickly name Stevie Nicks. Known for her haunting melodies and abstruse lyrics, the Fleetwood Mac front-woman took regular sabbaticals from the pop supergroup from the 1980s onward to forge a formidable solo career that produced such enduring rock hits as Edge of Seventeen and Stand Back. Her smoky vocals and mystical persona (characterized by flowing capes and an omnipresent, gypsy-like tambourine) bewitched audiences, allowing her to infiltrate a largely male genre and pave the way for future female rockers like Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge.

Crystal Visions: The Very Best of Stevie Nicks celebrates the artist with a CD/DVD combo package that includes 16 audio tracks and 13 music videos spanning more than 20 years. Though much of the audio material also appears on the comprehensive 1998 collection, The Enchanted Works of Stevie Nicks, Crystal Visions features enough fresh cuts to make it another essential release in the singer's catalog. As it should, this new CD remains squarely focused on Nicks' solo work, but unlike Enchanted, it also honors her tenure with Fleetwood Mac with the B-side rarity Silver Springs, as well as recent live versions of the intoxicating Rhiannon and soul-searching Landslide, and a fetching 2005 techno remix of Dreams with Deep Dish. The disc also includes two cuts from Nicks' 2001 release, Trouble in Shangri-La: Sorcerer and Planets of the Universe.

Nicks' distinctive voice has certainly evolved over the years, but she wisely heeds its current limitations, so she never sounds forced or shrill. She's still got plenty of range, but uses it sparingly, preferring to put forth a world-weary, earthy sound borne from age and a textbook rock 'n' roll lifestyle. The two versions of Edge of Seventeen that open and close the album—and were recorded 25 years apart—show us how Nicks has both grown and stayed the same over the course of her long, productive career.

The videos showcase Stevie's magnetic presence, despite an annoying sameness that fails to properly distinguish each song. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around dates back to the form's infancy, while Stand Back, Talk to Me, and I Can't Wait allow us to revel in '80s nostalgia. Nicks' hair gets bigger and blonder with each successive video, and though none are bona fide classics, almost all boast fine production values and a seductive hook that keeps us involved. Sometimes It's a Bitch employs childhood pics and video and concert clips to present a panorama of Stevie's career, while Sorcerer proves that even in her 50s, Nicks still has it, oozing sex appeal and attitude.

As a video artist, she can't begin to rival Madonna, but Crystal Visions proves Nicks has a knack for grabbing our attention and focusing it where it belongs—on her music. This slickly produced CD/DVD combo gives us the best of both worlds, and should keep fans satisfied until she releases her next original song cycle.

CD Selections
Edge of Seventeen
I Can't Wait
If Anyone Falls in Love
Stop Draggin' My Heart Around
(with Tom Petty)
Silver Springs (with Fleetwood Mac)
Dreams (with Deep Dish)
Rhiannon (live)
Rooms on Fire
Talk to Me
(live with The Melbourne Symphony)
Stand Back
Planets of the Universe
Rock and Roll
Leather and Lace (with Don Henley)
Edge of Seventeen (live with The Melbourne Symphony)

DVD Selections
Stop Draggin' My Heart Around
(with Tom Petty)
Edge of Seventeen
Stand Back (Scarlett Version)
Stand Back
If Anyone Falls in Love
Talk to Me
I Can't Wait
Rooms on Fire
Whole Lotta Trouble
Sometimes It's A Bitch
Blue Denim
Every Day
(with Sheryl Crow)

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyesyes

Image Transfer Review: As expected, the more recent material looks best. Every Day and Sorcerer sport vivid hues and a lush sheen the 1980s videos lack. (Stevie's ruby red lipstick in Sorcerer is almost blindingly intense, and so well saturated it resembles Golden Age Technicolor.) The earlier efforts look rough and faded by comparison, but then again, no one ever dreamed they would one day be viewed on upconverting widescreen TVs. The images are sharp enough—dutifully highlighting Nicks' seductive appeal—but a bit of remastering would perk up the package considerably.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Crystal Visions is, after all, a CD/DVD combo, so one expects the sound to be crystal clear, and the engineers at Reprise Records don't drop the ball. The music on both discs is crisp and vibrant, with a wide dynamic range and plenty of subtle nuances. Bass is strong but never overpowering, and even during the heaviest rock arrangements, Stevie's vocals always remain prominent.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Music/Song Access with 13 cues and remote access
Production Notes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks
Packaging: Four fold case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Home video footage
Extras Review: A lively commentary track kicks off the DVD extras, and provides Nicks with an opportunity to reminisce about and critique her video legacy. Candid and frequently funny, Stevie seems to relish pointing out mistakes and shortcomings, while relating interesting anecdotes and identifying the friends, relatives, and colleagues who populate her videos. (Can you spot Mick Fleetwood in If Anyone Falls and I Can't Wait?) She disses the first Stand Back video—which she conceived—and bemoans her lousy lip-syncing in Stop Draggin' My Heart Around. She also exults '80s excess, explains the genesis of Edge of Seventeen, and deciphers some of her cryptic song lyrics. Fans will love this intimate track, and even casual Nicks admirers will find much of her monologue fascinating.

Next up is a 30-minute montage of never-before-seen home video from the Bella Donna recording sessions. The intriguing, somewhat revealing footage includes Stevie in the booth laying down both lead and background vocals, conferences with producer Jimmy Iovine, a very rough first attempt at How Still My Love, the album cover photo shoot, and some good-natured clowning.

A glossy booklet, featuring written recollections by Nicks on all the CD audio selections (with the glaring exception of Rooms on Fire), as well as full-color portraits and rare candids, completes the set's supplements.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

A keepsake for diehard fans and a primer for newbies, Crystal Visions: The Very Best of Stevie Nicks salutes the legendary female rocker with a supremely satisfying audio-video package. Her heyday may have been the '80s, but this collection proves Nicks' music and personality is still as fetching as ever. Recommended.


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