Halloween with Stevie Nicks – what an experience!

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Stevie Nicks played the Orion Amphitheater Halloween night, and it was amazing. (Michael Seale / Hville Blast)

In my lifetime, I can say with certainty that I have attended more than 1,000 concerts. I love music — particularly live music — and when I moved to Huntsville in the spring I could not wait to see a show at the (yet to open at the time) Orion Amphitheater.

Since it opened, the venue has received a wealth of praise, and Monday night I finally made it out there. And what better show to have my first Orion experience than seeing Stevie Nicks on Halloween night. Let me explain:

My Orion Amphitheater experience

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There really isn’t a bad seat in the house at the Orion. (Michael Seale / Hville Blast)

Think about the things that usually annoy you at a concert: long lines for concessions, restrooms and entrance; not enough room where you’re sitting; bad acoustics; parking issues; unruly crowd members, etc.

Well, exactly zero of those issues were a factor Monday night at the Orion. And this was a packed house. But even before entering the seating area, the good vibes were evident as folks enjoyed the food trucks and picnic area outside the arena. I do regret that I did not wear some sort of Halloween costume, as I was in the minority.

We parked a good ways away from the amphitheater, paid $15, and walked with hundreds of other people along the sidewalk toward the venue, and the walk was even pleasant.

Getting through the gates was no problem (I have had more issues getting into high school football games than I did Monday night at the Orion), and our seats were easy to find.

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There were enough food trucks and spots to get drinks that lines were not a factor. (Michael Seale / Hville Blast)

Then of course, there was Stevie Nicks. By the time she launched into her second song of the set, the classic Fleetwood Mac tune “Dreams,” the crowd was dialed into her, and vice-versa.

When she belted out, “Thunder only happens when it’s raining…” a chorus of thousands of fans sang along and were in it for the duration of the show. A concert is exponentially better when the crowd is feeling the music, and this crowd was into the show.

Stevie Nicks gives props to Alabama

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Fans raise their phones to urge Stevie Nicks to come back out for an encore. (Michael Seale / Hville Blast)

It’s been a while since my parents took me to see John Denver when I was 5 years old, and as I said, since that first concert I have easily attended more than 1,000 shows, but this one was special for a variety of reasons (i.e. Nicks singing “Landslide” made the hair on my arms stand up, her encore performance of “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty with a slide show tribute to Petty behind her was incredibly moving).

One of those reasons is that Nicks acknowledged how Alabama played a major role in her career.

As Nicks explained, before joining Fleetwood Mac, she and Lindsay Buckingham were in the band Buckingham Nicks, and had started recording music in 1973 in California.

The duo’s music, however, was not met with much commercial success out west, but significant radio airplay in Birmingham (courtesy of WJLN, a former local progressive rock station) prompted Buckingham Nicks to book shows in Alabama.

Buckingham Nicks’ popularity in Alabama led to sold out shows and, more importantly, attention from Mick Fleetwood, who was looking to change the lineup for his band, Fleetwood Mac. After hearing a recording of the duo performing the song “Frozen Love” in Tuscaloosa, Fleetwood invited Nicks and Buckingham to join his band.

Nicks told a shorter version of this story, but said she owes a great deal of gratitude to the music fans in Alabama.

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Stevie Nicks acknowledged the role Alabama had in her career. (Michael Seale / Hville Blast)

Can’t wait to go back to the Orion

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I cannot wait to see another show at the Orion. (Michael Seale / Hville Blast)

This being my first show to see at the Orion, I tried to soak it all in and pay attention to the details, and I came away with such a positive feeling I could not wait to share my personal review.

The sound system was fabulous, as were the visuals provided — a screen behind the band that alternated between pertinent images and the live action happening on stage — and the staff was helpful, the crowd was energetic and the night was simply perfect.

Yes, Stevie Nicks was the star of the night, but the Orion Amphitheater is a star that will continue to shine for Huntsville.

Have you been to the Orion? What are your experiences thus far? Let us know on FacebookTikTok and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter!

Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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