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MUSIC REVIEW

Nicks charms and twirls through harder-edged rock

What do Stevie Nicks and Chris Isaak have in common?

Besides a record label and a onetime appearance by the erstwhile Fleetwood Mac chanteuse on Isaak's late, great eponymous Showtime series, not much it turns out.

There certainly appeared to be little fan base overlap for the night bird and the retro rocker Sunday night at the Tweeter Center. Judging by Nicks's rapturous reception, most of the 1/3 capacity crowd -- likely in part because the top ticket cost $125 -- was there to see the female half of this odd pairing.

Although the 59-year-old lost her high notes long ago, Nicks's familiar rasp was in strong form as she twirled and beguiled through a nearly two-hour performance, ably supported by her stalwart trio of female back up vocalists. Backed by a tight band, led by longtime guitarist Waddy Wachtel , Nicks clearly wanted to rock a little, focusing on her harder-edged solo material, like chugging opener "Stand Back," gauzy, dark Mac hits "Rhiannon" and "Dreams" and up-tempo covers of Tom Petty and Led Zeppelin.

Particularly effective was the simple acoustic arrangement of "Landslide," accompanied by video images of her father and her younger self, and the shiver-inducing death rattle stomp of "Gold Dust Woman."

The only disappointment was the number of songs relative to the length of the show. Several of her biggest hits were omitted for several reasons: band spotlights, including a superfluous drum solo; four costume changes, all variations on the be shawled, ruffled black dresses that are her trademark; and an endless outro to "Edge of Seventeen" as she shook hands with the faithful and it started to feel a bit like we'd been listening to the song since we were 17 .

Since Nicks saw fit to include a spirited encore of Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" from her new "Crystal Visions" compilation it seemed doubly odd to push aside the duets "Leather and Lace" and "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," especially when she had such a gifted male touring partner on hand.

If Nicks suffered from time management issues, Isaak was the model of economy packing 16 songs into 70 minutes.

Matinee-idol dreamy and with a pillow-soft falsetto at 50, Isaak and his whip - smart crew tightly maneuvered through the best of his sultry and rocking Elvis Presley-Roy Orbison-inspired repertoire of heartbreak and yearning.

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Stevie Nicks and Chris Isaak

At: the Tweeter Center, Sunday night

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