It's been a while since I've seen so many people leap to their feet and cheer at North Harbour stadium. If only the Knights could pull a crowd this size. Still, I couldn't help but think the venue was all wrong.

Die-hard fans of Stevie Nicks and John Farnham were treated with a sensational night from two of the music industry's finest.

On equal billing with all advertising, yet most definitely there as a support act, I thought Farnham would perform a duet with Nicks, such was the way it was billed.

After all, he has done numerous highly successful duets, more recently with the likes of Tom Jones. Highly polished, an energetic performer and a consummate vocalist, he knows exactly which buttons to push to work an audience from a cold start.

Never far away is New Zealander and old friend, backing vocalist Lindsay Field, whose deep, rich tones in There's a Fool Born Each Minute give away his quality as an outstanding performer.

I've been spoiled to see Farnham at his best in "The Last Time Tour", performing in a more intimate, in-the-round format under a marquee, where he is truly in his element.

I believe Nicks and Farnham are better suited to smaller venues rather than a stadium atmosphere, a big call on those whose repertoire is heavily mixed with ballads.

That aside, Farnham has never lost his charisma. At 56, he still has women blatantly dropping various pieces of size 8 to 10 underwear on stage, something that didn't happen through the Stevie Nicks set.

All I really wanted to hear was Nicks' Rhiannon and Landslide, and I was one very happy vegemite in a cast of thousands.

Her extensive songlist brought everyone to their feet time and again throughout the night. Heavily gloved and dressed in her trademark Wicca shawls and taffeta garments, she left the stage probably once too often, but it seemed to not bother her die-hard fans.

Where the energetic Farnham and concert-opener Vanessa Carlton would openly engage the audience and maintain momentum between songs, Nicks left the stage for a Shakespearean costume change, leaving her high-calibre backing band to muster the intro to the next set.

Nicks said at one point she had come a long way. She has, too. There aren't too many people who are still alive who did opening sets for big-ticket names such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

Her Fleetwood Mac era was far and away a career highlight and the songs that cascaded throughout the night brought back many memories.

It's curious to see how our musical heroes handle the curse of age. Recent visitors, such as Tony Joe White, the legendary Joe Cocker and Mark Knopfler, and the highly anticipated Rolling Stones, have all dealt with it and moved on.

Sadly, the imagery projected on to a giant screen at the rear of the stage was Nicks from another life. It was the way we remembered her from old sound clips and the reason many a guy there had her as a bedroom pinup in the 70s and 80s.

No doubt it's the way she wants us to remember her. Nicks has successfully fought many demons in her 57 years but there wasn't much in the performance to say she, too, had moved on.

By no means a gym-junkie, in a couple of uncomfortable moments she looked unsteady on her feet while performing her signature pagan-gypsy pirouettes.

Her trio of leather-clad support vocalists, who included sister-in-law Lori Nicks, drew a call from the row in front for "someone on stage please smile".

But it was the haunting voice and list of truly memorable musical treats that carried off the night superbly. And credit must be given to Waddy Wachtel, who co-wrote Werewolves of London with Warren Zevon. He did a flawless job as the tour musical director and guitarist. If only we were inside and in-the-round.