Nikon @ Jones Beach
Saturday, June 22, 2013
On Saturday, June 22nd, something tremendous happened to me. Days later, it still feels like a dream when I recall watching Fleetwood Mac, live, surrounded by the still waters of Zach’s Bay at Jones Beach, N.Y. I saw one of the greatest bands of all time (yes, Kanye, of all time) and crossed a major entry off my bucket list at the mere age of 21. Music of the past resonates with me deeply, in a way that many teenagers and twenty-somethings miss out on by ignoring the great artists of decades past. As one of my friends said during the pre-concert tailgate as “Don’t Stop” played over our iPod speakers, “Do you remember ever not knowing this song?”
It didn’t seem that age had adversely affected the band’s performance at all. Stevie Nicks, now 65, was impeccable. Her voice sounded just as it did at the beginning of Fleetwood Mac, distinctive and “a little kind of gnome-like,” as she described it in 2011. She wore all black, as always, and twirled around the stage frequently, arms spreading her light-colored shawl out in her signature butterfly-like manner.
Lindsey Buckingham is still a wizard on his bizarrely-small and acoustic-looking Turner solid-body electric guitar. He took the guitar-heavy “Big Love” to an extreme, performing one of the best guitar solos I’ve ever heard in concert or on a record. He was so engaged in his music that, at the end of the minutes-long fingerpicking glory, Buckingham bent over, hands on knees, panting from the exertion. The rest of the band was just as energized and focused, particularly evident during Mick Fleetwood’s extended drum solo which lasted long enough for Nicks to leave the stage and find her black to p hat in time for “Go Your Own Way.”
The tension between Nicks and Buckingham, former lovers who split during the 1976 recording of the band’s legendary album, Rumours, was palpable throughout the concert. The second of three encore songs was “Silver Springs,” which Nicks sang directly to Buckingham for nearly all of its four and a half minutes. As I witnessed the thread of love still hanging in the air between them, I felt the chorus was particularly apt: “I’ll follow you down ‘til the sound of my voice will haunt you/you’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.”
My only qualm with the evening was the complete lack of enthusiasm from anyone over 25 in my seating section, the age group that constituted roughly 98 percent of the patrons. Those in the floor seats far in front of me stood for the entire concert, while my section remained quietly seated. Before this, I had never been shushed during a concert—certainly not one in a massive outdoor amphitheater. I watched as the man next to me asked his wife to stop dancing to “Stand Back” and sit down. As my friend and fellow Fleetwood-goer Laura Valk put it, “No one sits for Stevie. No one.” I really don’t think I’ve seen so many middle-aged people act “too cool” for anything before. Quite frankly, this is something I would expect more from my generation than from those who grew up when Fleetwood Mac ruled the airwaves.
The apathy of the older crowd in my section has manifested itself differently in my own generation. There are college students who can’t tell you who sang “Landslide” and have never heard “Go Your Own Way” sung by anyone but the Glee Cast. A number of college-aged music fans only listen to tracks that have come out in the last month, even calling music from 2012 “old news.” We miss something tremendous by subscribing to this mentality; there is so much to be discovered in the music of the past. Inspired songwriting and devoted musicianship produce beautiful results that transcend the decades, and Fleetwood Mac’s powerful, sold-out performance is a testament to this truth.
Marie-Claire Bousquette / Duke Chronicle / Monday, July 1, 2013