Gypsy Spirit

Fleetwood Nicks USA is one of the most authentic tribute bands out there today, performing the timeless music of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks.
The band’s focus is on capturing the true essence of Fleetwood Mac and Nicks in their prime during the ’70s and ’80s — staying true to the original studio recordings that made Fleetwood Mac and Nicks two of the best-selling and most iconic acts in rock history. Just this year, Stevie Nicks was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the second time, this time celebrating her solo career.
Fleetwood Nicks brings its spot-on recreation of Fleetwood Mac’s legendary sound to the stage at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort May 22-26 with a powerful rock concert, performing hits from the Grammy award winning Rumours album through Fleetwood Mac’s infamous reunion with their Dance Tour live album.
“The Chain,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Dreams,” “You Make Lovin’ Fun,” and “Landslide” are just a handful of Fleetwood Mac’s classic hits you’ll hear during this enchanting evening. Powerful solo hits by Stevie Nicks also are showcased, such as “Edge of Seventeen,” “Stand Back”, and “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” where the group pays tribute to the late Tom Petty.
Because of Nicks’ unique vocals, it goes without saying any tribute worth its salt has to have a vocalist who can capture them. Julie Torchin is that singer who is able to capture the voice of this gypsy enchantress in her early years with Fleetwood Mac and solo career.
Brad Torchin fills the distinctive roll of Lindsey Buckingham on lead guitar and vocals, with Russine Zellner heading up the third harmony with Christine McVie’s vocals. Danny Buss (bass), one of the founding members of the band when it first was conceived in Chicago, and drummer Dave Davis throw down the powerful rhythm section along with band mates Aaron Olson (rhythm guitar and percussion) and Dave Miller (keys, bass, vocals).
The band originated in Chicago where Julie Torchin and Danny Buss were the opening act at festivals for national bands such as Cheap Trick, Grand Funk, Joan Jett, Three Dog Night and more. That was almost 20 years ago, when their band was performing both Heart and Fleetwood Mac songs.
“We were very successful for six years playing the Chicago club circuit and festivals, but we were only able to perform on the weekends,” Torchin told the Laughlin entertainer. “So Danny and myself moved out west to Las Vegas so we could play music full time. We put the band together, but it wasn’t until a few generations later we found the right players to make it one of the most recognized in the business.”
Fleetwood Nicks has been nominated “Best Tribute Band” twice, and “Heart Alive,” their Heart tribute (with same band members and Christie Copeland on lead vocals), also won the award for “Best Tribute Band.”
“It was important to split the show into two separate tributes because both Fleetwood Mac and Heart have so many hits that people wanted to hear. Not to mention Stevie Nicks’ solo hits,” Torchin added. “In each show, we have about 2 1/2 hours of music in our catalog. It’s hard when you have a 90-minute show to choose since there are so many great songs.”
With this talented group of musicians, the challenge wasn’t mastering the music, but mastering their schedule.
“I think the biggest challenge is that everyone in our group is extremely talented, which also makes them very popular as musicians for work outside of what we do — therefore it’s sometimes a challenge to get everyone to agree on a date.
“Aaron Olson (rhythm guitar) has been playing drums for years in the popular ‘The Fab’ tribute and Rush tribute ‘Permanent Waves;’ Dave Davis has been playing the part of Barry Gibb in the ‘Australian Bee Gees Show’ both in and outside of Las Vegas; Russine Zellner has been performing her own piano show regularly in Las Vegas — as well as providing background vocals for a Neil Diamond tribute show; keyboardist David Mark Miller is working on an original jazz album and writing music for radio/TV commercials; bassist Danny Buss has been in the studio completing his original CD and working large production shows inside and out of Vegas. Brad Torchin keeps busy working with several popular musical acts in Las Vegas. He also provided instrumentation and engineered my original CD (Surrounding Sara). I have been mainly focusing on finishing my second original album Save a Soul by Love Survive, as well as writing more Christian rock songs and collaborating with Julie C. Myers (Nearly Nicks).”
There’s no denying the appeal of Nicks’ character involves ridiculously cool costumes of vintage lace and scarves, flowing skirts and lace-up boots of the witchy, mystical realm.
“It is a dream come true because everything that Stevie has brought to fashion is definitely the coolest stuff you can possibly wear,” Torchin said. “My closet is a wonderland of hippie/gypsy/goth/renaissance stuff. If I could, I would dress like this every day.”
While the outfits are part of the fun, what’s most important is the music and getting it right.
“First, I think we all love the music and this shows in our performance and the audience picks up on this,” Torchin said. “We are very honest when we say we ‘rock it like the record.’ We stay true to the original studio recordings and don’t hold back on anything. That means no lowering the key, no dancing around the melody to make it easier, etc. — which I know bands sometimes do. I’m not saying we don’t add our own creativity here and there…we do…but we stay close to the original recordings because that’s what people most identify with.
“But like with ‘Landslide,’ Stevie first recorded this in a lower key. Then on the double live album it’s really different — so it’s somewhere in between the two versions and I love the way she sings it in both. I pick parts from each and make it my own.”
With all of this music at their fingertips, what are the band members’ favorites?
“Brad’s, I believe, is Lindsey’s signature concert favorite ‘I’m So Afraid’ which really shows off his guitar solo work,” Torchin said. “Russine loves ‘The Chain,’ which I think is a big fan favorite.
“I’m not sure about the rest of the guys, but I think they really dig doing ‘Tusk’ because of all the percussion and the instrumental section that they added to the show. Aside from Stevie’s beloved ‘Silver Springs’ that was a highlight on the Dance album and nominated for a Grammy, I enjoy performing ‘Edge of Seventeen’ because it’s a song that allows you to belt. I tend to be drawn to edgier female rockers like Amy Lee (Evanescence) and Lacey Sturm (formerly of Flyleaf).”
However, there’s one crowd favorite that cannot be denied no matter where they perform.
“It has to be ‘Landslide,’ ” Torchin said. “You can’t get away without having that song in the set or you’ll leave your audience feeling like they missed out on something. It’s definitely the most requested song wherever we’ve played over the years. It’s this perfect little masterpiece that stands out from all the rock and roll and is like the centerpiece of all the ‘Mac Magic.’ ”


FLEETWOOD NICKS

Don’s Celebrity Theatre within the Riverside

Wednesday-Sunday, May 22-26 (8 p.m.)

See “Showtimes” for ticket info