Friday Evening Videos: “If Anyone Falls”

The first time somebody told me that rock-n-roll goddess Stevie Nicks once lived in Salt Lake City, I didn’t believe it.

It sounded too much like the far-fetched tales my Mormon friends used to tell about all the celebrities who were secretly members of the LDS church. Now, to be fair, there are a number of famous people who also happen to be LDS — Gladys Knight comes immediately to mind — but there was a time when I heard so many variations of “Did you know that so-and-so is a member?” that if even half those stories were true, there would be more Mormons in Hollywood than plastic surgeons. (This was pre-Internet, you understand, when it was a lot more difficult to verify such things.) I’ve long wondered where those stories came from and why they were such a tenacious aspect of Utah folklore for so long. My working theory is that they probably arose from a deep cultural insecurity that manifested as two sides of the same coin: a longing for a hometown hero who catches the national spotlight, as well as an ironclad certainty that nobody cool has ever come from Utah.

Except Stevie Nicks, apparently. That particular urban legend turns out to be 100% true, as corroborated by the lady herself just over a month ago when she brought her 24 Karat Gold tour to Salt Lake on February 25. I’d seen Stevie live a couple times before, but always as part of Fleetwood Mac, not in a show focused on her solo work, so this concert had a very different feel to it. It was more personal for her, I think, and that carried over into the audience’s emotional response; it felt personal to me as well, as if somehow a 19,000-seat arena was magically shrunk into the neighborhood club, and Stevie and her band were just playing and goofing around for a small group of friends. Stevie herself looked and sounded fantastic, far more youthful than her actual age and far healthier than the previous times I’d seen her. She was chatty and a little bit scatterbrained and very funny, like the cool aunt who’s been everywhere and met everyone and has a million stories to tell. I found her utterly charming. Yes, I’m like every other male rock-and-roll fan (and not a few female ones!) of a particular age in that I’ve had a crush on her since my early teens, but I really fell a little bit in love with her on February 25. By the time she performed her signature tune “Landslide” in the finale, the emotions were running high. I may or may not have shed a tear when my 60-something rock goddess sang the line “And I’m gettin’ older too… ”

But long before that moment, she opened the concert with one of my favorite songs of hers, “If Anyone Falls,” which was the second single released from her 1983 album The Wild Heart. “If Anyone Falls” wasn’t as big as the album’s first single, “Stand Back,” rising to only 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 — “Stand Back” hit number 5, thanks I would guess to a propulsive synthesizer track played by none other than the late, great Prince — but I always liked this one just a hair more, for reasons I can’t really articulate. The lushly romantic tone, perhaps, so nicely illustrated in the official MTV video by images of Stevie watching old movies by herself in an empty theater. I’ve done that a few times myself… usually late at night, like it is now… the time of day when I find I most enjoy listening to Stevie Nicks…

Incidentally, in case you’re still wondering about when, exactly, Stevie lived in boring old Salt Lake, it was while she was in eighth and ninth grade, which by my calculations would’ve been the mid-1960s. Her best friend from those days still lives here, and she was at the concert the other night. Stevie called out to her several times. I love the idea that a rock star of her magnitude could still be friends with someone she knew in the eighth grade, so very long ago…