Like most everyone else in the mid-1970s, Fleetwood Mac and Rumours were in heavy rotation on my stereo. I hadn’t followed Fleetwood Mac since their beginning in 1967 but was familiar with the incarnation that had Bob Welch on board (and I followed him when he went solo). But there was no avoiding the band once Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie. Then we all followed the soap opera as the couples in the band broke up, band members hooked up with each other, and the drugs, drugs, and more drugs.
Since then the band broke up, got back together, took another break, back together, some of them together, none of them together, and got together again. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it just be an all-hits night with each member robotically playing his/her part? Would there be tension on stage?
The show was wonderful. One of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. There was a lot of love – on stage, from the band, and from the audience.
rtb and I decided we’d hit Jones Beach first. On the bus, the woman behind us asked if the bus stops at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. I smiled and answered her that it does – it goes to the theater and now will take you from the theater back to the LIRR station. The woman remembered that the buses used to run after the concerts but had stopped doing so. rtb told the woman that the after-concert buses was all thanks to me. [Some of you may remember my difficulty in getting home from the Jones Beach Theater a couple of years ago and how I wrote letters to many people including the president of Live Nation. The manager of the theater was instructed to answer my letter, he treated me to an evening at the theater in the VIP section, and has worked out an arrangement with NICE so that the buses are back to get us out of the theater. Thank you, Adam!]
The water was cold but nice once you got used to it. We spent a very relaxing day hanging out on the sand and reading and talking. Then we stopped off at the concession stand on the beach. rtb remembered that the theater is dry, which I hadn’t noticed since I don’t usually drink at big venues. You can drink in the VIP section but the rest of us can only buy $5 bottles of water or $5.50 bottles of soda. Inside we both had the bbq, which was good. There are also grilled cheese and empanada trucks. The rest of the foods are typical fare.
We were sitting way up on top. I could see the VIP section from up there.
The show was scheduled to start at 8pm. When we got up there we could see the stage was set up for Fleetwood Mac so there would be no opening act. Since sunset was not until 8:30pm we knew they would not be on stage anytime soon. Since everyone knows when sunset is going to happen, why can’t they give a time after sunset for the show start?
John McVie (bass) walks on stage so quietly that you wouldn’t notice him except for his all-white outfit – hat, shirt, pants, and shoes. Mick Fleetwood (drums), of course, makes an entrance. Tall, skinny, white shirt, black short pants, and red shoes, he enters, plants himself center stage, and raises his arms as he takes in the cheers. Then Stevie Nicks (vocals) and Lindsey Buckingham (guitars, vocals) walk on stage hand in hand. He sweetly kisses her hand and steps aside to give her center stage.
The band immediately went into “Second Hand News” and “The Chain.” Buckingham introduced a new song, “Sad Angel.” When Buckingham introduced several of the next songs as being from an album that was made by creative people and not by musicians who find a formula and beat it into the ground the crowd cheered because we knew they were going to play songs from Tusk. During his guitar solo for “Tusk” I had a revelation at just how good a guitarist Buckingham is. In the past I was so caught up in the hits and the soap opera that I hadn’t noticed. He really is one of the great rock and roll guitarists. His solos were full force and he was left gasping for breath.
Fleetwood is still a powerful drummer and with McVie makes the perfect rhythm section. Nicks’ voice was beautiful – clear and heartfelt – and she changed the melodies on some of the songs and made them new again.
At the end of “Sara,” Nicks moved from her mic to Buckingham’s. He stood behind her and when she was finished Nicks gave Buckingham a long loving hug. I got chills. There is still a lot of affection between these two people.
Buckingham and Nicks did most of the talking. While looking down at the crowd up near the stage, Buckingham introduced a song as being before your time and a girl shouted out her birth year and said she was legal. This flustered Buckingham so much that he couldn’t continue for a bit. The other funny bit was when Nicks told the story of how she and Buckingham joined the band. She thought it was their demo of “Without You” but had gotten it wrong in earlier shows and Buckingham had to correct her. Fleetwood joined them with a small kit in-between the two and while Nicks and Buckingham told the story the camera kept going back to Fleetwood who made faces and made the sign of the cross with his drumsticks at the part of the story when Buckingham would only sign as the new lead guitarist for Fleetwood Mac if he could bring along his hippie girlfriend.
We saw Nicks spinning ‘round and ‘round for several songs. She also wore different accessories for different songs – shawl, top hat – and there was the beribboned tambourine. She also explained the beauty of Buckingham and Nicks. His guitar plays counterpoint to their vocals.
We heard most of the hits. Unfortunately with Christine McVie no longer part of the group we didn’t get to hear songs like “Say You Love Me” or “Over My Head.” The back-up musicians and singers did a wonderful job – especially the keyboard player and back-up guitarist.
The cameras for the two big screens not only covered the band from the front but also Fleetwood’s drums from above.
We heard some new songs and rarely heard songs. A stand-out of those was “Silver Springs,” which they played for the second encore. Buckingham and Nicks, who performed several lone duets during the night, ended the evening with “Say Goodbye.” It was another quiet duet that Buckingham explained had been written ten years ago – long enough after all their troubles but still close enough to see everything clearly. It was a beautiful way to end the night although I would have preferred one of their upbeat songs.
We were so happy to see the Jones Beach Theater in top shape. Sandy had put it under water and they had to totally rebuild. Nicks mentioned the new dressing rooms and Fleetwood cheered the fact that the theater was back and how resilient we all were after the damage from Sandy. We even got to see the Supermoon over the bay.
Brooklyn Vegan has a set list and a lot of good close up shots.
By Carene Lydia Lopez