Saturday, December 28, 2013

#46 See Stevie Nicks in Concert

"If you love somebody, save their soul. Tie them to your heaven and erase their hell. Love the lifestyle, if you feel it. Don't try to change them. You never will." -Long Distance Winner, Buckingham Nicks

Ever since I can remember, I have always been fascinated and enchanted with the beautiful songbird that is Stevie Nicks. I believe this all started over an HBO Special way back when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. HBO was airing Stevie Nicks' Bella Donna Tour concert for an entire month. Not sure which month it was, all I know was every time they aired it, I watched it. I was completely drawn by how different she was from other women. We were coming off the age of 70's disco and shiny spandex and here was this doll faced rocker chick with her wild blonde hair cascading down her shoulders, sporting dark lips, porcelain skin, flowing lace dresses, scarves and knee high boots while rocking it out on the stage with her tambourine.

Her voice was not as melodic as the many other popular female singers, it was raspy, alto and most definitely one of a kind. The lyrics to her songs were poetic and mystical. Even back then, as young as I was, I got what she was putting down. She sang of love, heartbreak, dreams and life, but she did so in such a fabled storybook way. When the guitarist began playing the riff that would become one of the most famous in all of music, that being the riff to Edge of Seventeen, the audience on TV went nuts and I would get the chills. It wasn't until many years later that I found out Edge of Seventeen, one of my most favorite Stevie songs, was partially written about one of the members of one of my all time favorite bands, The Beatles.

"I'm a few years older than you, my love." Edge of Seventeen, Stevie Nicks

I wanted to be this woman. I wanted to look like her, dress like her, sing like her, move like her and write like her. I didn't stand a chance in hell. I was a freckle faced little redhead. My hair was cut so short I was usually mistaken for a little boy. My mother called my hair the Princess Diana or Dorothy Hamill look. My ass! They still had hair on their head. I'm surprised my mother didn't just shave my head and call it the Kojak look. I guess it didn't help that I acted like a little boy too. I was a complete tomboy growing up. I had no girly fashion sense at all. I also had the boy's name of Christian. But then again, Stevie is a boys name too.

Stevie Nicks Concert
My ticket stub for Stevie!!

Hmmmm... maybe we are on to something. I could sing (back then I could), I was more of a soprano than raspy, but it was singing. I could dance, I took tap. I had been on the stage before, I did theater. And I won the creative writing award in my 3rd grade class. I could learn to play the tambourine. Can't be that hard. Wow! I was halfway there. (Yea right!) Of course every time I would try to grow my hair, my mother would chop it. Eventually I was allowed to have it shoulder length. I started sneaking into my Aunt's makeup in the bathroom and experimenting. I went to my childhood friend Renee for assistance on how to be more girly. (It was also around that time that I started noticing boys.)

My parents started giving me Stevie Nicks cassettes and Fleetwood Mac albums for Christmas and my birthday. My dad would tape all Stevie and Fleetwood Mac specials on the TV via Betamax. (Remember those?) My mother had a flowy white dress in the basement that I would wear as I danced around the basement pretending to be the redheaded version of Stevie Nicks. Then one little sister caught me and busted my ass so badly that I may have wanted to rip the heads off of all her Barbies then beat her with their plastic headless bodies. I have not lived that down to this day!

"Sara, you're the poet in my heart. Never change. Never stop."- Sara, Fleetwood Mac

Oh, one other little fandom factoid I feel compelled to share. As a Catholic we receive Confirmation, which is a ceremony welcoming us into adulthood much like a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. One of the traditions of a confirmation ceremony is choosing a name to be confirmed with as an adult. We are supposed to choose the name of a saint or the name of our confirmation sponsor. Not me. Not this gal! I choose my name based on a favorite Fleetwood Mac song of mine that Stevie sings. You may have heard of it. It's called "Sara". Needless to say the nun in charge of Confirmation was not to thrilled about the reason for my choosing my name. Thankfully Sister Monica was one of those cool nuns. She played basketball better than most men. She also pointed me towards a Saint Sara which would look much better to the bishop concerning my Confirmation registration. She said he probably has no idea who Fleetwood Mac is anyways. Rock on Sister Monica! Rock on!

Fast forward to August 24, 2001. My ex husband had just come back from a trade show in Atlantic City (which we refer to in these parts as AC.). It was my birthday. Granted, the first seven or eight years we were together my ex was really shitty about my birthday. I had actually become desensitized to my birthday because in our house, it was just another day. I used to love my birthday too. However, as he matured he started giving me some of the best, most thoughtful birthday presents I could ever want. One year he bought me a new diamond engagement ring. Another year, back when I was still huge into NASCAR, he surprised me with a few laps around Pocono in a racecar. Another year, when we were really broke, he built me a display shelf for the knick knacks I collected at the time and cleaned and fixed everything in the house.

" I know you really want to tell me good-bye. I know you really want to be your own girl"  -Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks

However the best birthday present I had ever received were two tickets to see Stevie Nicks play at the Taj Mahal in AC on September 15, 2001. It was my 28th birthday. He wanted me to have a weekend away with my sister to see my favorite artist of all time. He was going to take care of the kids that way I could really enjoy myself. He knew how skittish I could be about leaving them. I was still a little skittish but knew my parents were close by as well in case he needed help. I was in seventh heaven. To say I was excited would be an epic understatement. For the next few weeks, all I listened to was Stevie music.

My sister Alicia and I began planning our weekend. We were going to drive down early Saturday morning and stay at the Sandpiper in Wildwood, NJ. It would be way cheaper than AC on a Saturday night and we could hit the famous boards we grew up on as kids. It was also Firefighters Weekend in Wildwood so there would be a parade and lots of cool stuff going on all over the little island city. The drive to AC was a little under 40 minutes from Wildwood so it wouldn't be bad. We were all set and very stoked.

"I guess we don't believe that things could go that far. Somewhere in the night someone feels pain. The ones that walk away. Try to love again." - Trouble in Shangri-La , Stevie Nicks

Then the unthinkable happened. The September 11th attacks, the worst attacks on American soil since Pearl Harbor took the entire world by shock. The world literally stopped. It shut down completely. Not only were we not sure there would still be a concert but in all honesty, Stevie Nicks or not, I had no desire to go anywhere. I was devastated and heartbroken. That week, I spent more time crying while glued to the TV than I had ever in my life. I couldn't even imagine being away from my kids because September 11th was a harsh reminder that life is so short and horrible things could happen in the blink of an eye. I knew no one that died in the attacks but you would have thought every single victim was a close relative, that is how hard I mourned. I wasn't alone in feeling that way either. Most Americans were just as devastated.

By Thursday, my ex husband saw how much I was in a bad way. He said they were still holding the concert and insisted I needed to go. I couldn't stop living life because of this. None of us could. He was right. So, Saturday morning my sister picked me up and we headed to the shore. I was very quiet the first forty minutes of the ride. I was not excited. I was sad. I felt guilty that one of my biggest dreams was about to come true yet there were over 2900 other people who were no longer able to dream. It wasn't fair. As we were driving by the Allentown airport we saw a plane coming in to land. I held my breath. My sister pointed out that the plane had landed safely which was comforting. Life was moving forward regardless of how guilty I felt.

"I'm tired. I'm thirsty. I'm wild eyed in my misery." - Sorcerer, Stevie Nicks

It was time to join the living again. Once we hit Philadelphia, I was smiling again. After we took the exit onto the Atlantic City Expressway, I was excited again. And when we entered Wildwood, there were firetrucks and firefighters everywhere, proudly flashing their lights and waving the American flag. It was so beautiful and so colorful and so American. I may have found myself all teary eyed but it was a good teary eyed. After we checked into the hotel, my sister and I walked to the boards. (The Boards is what most people that visit the Jersey Shore call the Boardwalk. We also do not refer to the state as New Jersey. It is just Jersey to us.) As we turned the wooden ramp onto the boards we gasped. The entire boardwalk was a glorious sea of red, white and blue. People were cheering the firefighters, hugging them, and thanking them. Every few minutes a roar of applause would break out up and down the boardwalk.

I found myself smiling uncontrollably, a tear escaping my eye and rolling down my cheek every now and then. I find I can be very aloof about things or I can be overly emotional about things. It is always a crap shoot on how I am going to deal with difficult situations. Generally it is usually one of the two ways I just mentioned. Even I do not know how I will react to something until it happens and I react. It is rare that there is any type of middle ground. I am either cold, quiet and distant or emotional train wreck. This time I am emotional train wreck. I am keeping it in check at the moment though. My sister and I buy memorial ribbons to wear from a vendor whom is donating the proceeds to the families affected by the attacks.

"Dreams unwind. Love's a state of mind." -Dreams, Fleetwood Mac

As we walked further down the boards, I noticed the fire fighters were so humbled and taken aback by all the attention. We spoke with a few of them. Some were melancholy and some were mad as hell. Some had known firefighters lost in the attacks and some didn't know anyone in the attacks. Some were in the city after the attacks to volunteer and since they were working in shifts, came to the shore for the weekend. Some were going back into the city that night. The one thing they all had in common was how proudly they spoke of New York's bravest. It was a brotherhood, there was absolutely no denying that. And while they mourned for their fallen brothers, they celebrated their courage and spirit. To this day I am so happy I got to experience such an event so close to the city that I loved so dearly.

My sister and I grabbed some pizza at Jumbo's (A slice of pizza from there is....jumbo and delicious.) then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the show. I must have checked to make sure I had the tickets about 17 times. This makes me really nervous because when I check for something so many times, I always end up going stupid and forgetting anyway. I give them to Alicia to hold. She is calmer than me. After a final outfit check ( Back then I was so frumpy so I don't even know what the point was.) we get in the car and head to AC.

"I am dealing with a man, who when away from me, stays deep inside my heart. He said if anyone falls in love, it will be one of us." - If Anyone Falls, Stevie Nicks

Once at the Taj Mahal we make our way to the Arena. It's pretty big but all the seats seem good. Our seats happen to be on the left side of the stage. After we find our place I go check out the merchandise. Holy shit is everything expensive. I decide I will not be making any purchases tonite. Instead I pay $8.00 for a watered down mixed drink in a plastic cup. I wasn't a big drinker back then (only family parties) so I start feeling a buzz right away. When I get back to my seat my sister is giving me a half amused/half annoyed look. Tambourine Lady has taken a seat in front of us. Well, I shouldn't say she has taken a seat because she is standing. I know this because her burgundy corduroy clad ass is right in my face. She is shrieking (not yelling but shrieking) and waving her tambourine, complete with burgundy ribbons, around in the air like she just don't care.

Good for her and all but I hate to tell her there is still about 30 minutes until show time. She should really save all her bravado for then. My sister nudges me and points to my right. There is a couple sitting next to us. My sister and I start rolling because the guy is giving tambourine lady the stink eye and shaking his head. He looks like he wants to send her sailing. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being super excited to see your favorite artist play, but this lady had to be drunk or on uppers or both because she was a one woman carnival. I was waiting for a second head to pop out of her shirt.

Finally the two women with her tell her she needs to sit down. They look embarrassed. She listens to her friends but every few minutes she sticks her arm straight in the air, shrieks "Stevie!!!" and starts waving her tambourine like she has a nervous tick. I am waiting for her to crack someone in the head with her tambourine. Don't think she would enjoy the show that hasn't even started yet so much with a tambourine shoved up her ass courtesy of the man sitting next to me. Just sayin.
"So I'm back to the velvet underground. Back to the floor that I love. To a room with some lace and paper flowers, back to the gypsy that I was." - Gypsy, Fleetwood Mac 

About 25 minutes pass when the lights go dim in the arena. The riff from Edge of Seventeen starts booming from the amplifier. Everyone jump to their feet. We are all going crazy like the Tambourine Lady now. The song playing though is "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child. She is not opening with Edge. Bet she is closing with it. Sweet. All of a sudden spotlights shine to the floor of the arena near the back. The doors swing open and a few security personnel enter the arena. Cool. Stevie is going to walk through the crowd to the stage. Nice. In the back of my mind I begin to wonder how she is going to sing Bootylicious without Destiny's Child. This should be interesting. Then, all of a sudden, the music comes to a halt.

Someone is now walking down the aisle in the middle of the arena flanked by the security. I recognize the hair immediately. It is definitely not Stevie. My sister leans into me and asks "Is that Donald Trump?" I say "Yep!" He walks to the stage. You can see Stevie come out to talk to him. He stands there chatting with her for a good five minutes. This sends Tambourine Lady over the edge. She starts bashing the shit out of Donald Trump, very, very, very....very loudly. I am starting to get the feeling that she does not care for The Donald very much.

The tambourine is now being whipped around violently above her head whiles she screams at the top of her lungs, "Nobody cares about you and your fucking wig." I find myself feeling conflicted over that statement mostly because I am sure there is at least one or two people that do care about him and his fucking wig. Perhaps a more accurate statement would have been,  "Most people do not care about you or your fucking wig."  I also hear her yelling something about how he ruined Stevie's opening and that perhaps the rich prick should have done this all before the show but he is an attention whore and is trying to steal Stevie's thunder. I guess Don T. does occasionally enjoy the spotlight however I do find myself in disagreement with her observation that he is trying to steal thunder. He could afford to purchase his own thunder. I mean she said it herself, he is a rich prick.

Then there was the a colorful statement made about how he should get back on his rich prick helicopter and go to the toupee store and buy a new wig because the one he has now looks like a dead squirrel and that maybe it really is a squirrel. It's a theory I guess. She makes some valid points about the whole hair thing I must agree. However, I'm not sure if I agree with the animal of choice. I, personally, may have selected something more along the lines of a chipmunk, which is in the same rodent family as the squirrel, but I am not the one doing the bashing so I'll give her squirrel. I may have also heard her mention something about the women in his life. Supposedly they only sleep with him because he is rich but Tambourine Lady wouldn't let him or his ugly hairpiece anywhere near her hairpiece. I mentally award her an A+ for creativity in her use of an analogy that is pretty clever.

"Who in the world do you think you are fooling? Well I've already done everything you are doing. Well the two of us, we must be...a great temptation to have even started. Great temptations never die." -Two Kinds Of Love, Stevie Nicks

My sister and I both had to sit back down because we were laughing so hard that we were really close to pissing ourselves. So much rage against The D. I become startled when Tambourine Lady whips her head around and says to me "Can you believe this asshole? I feel so bad that Stevie even has to talk to him. She is probably flipping out that he ruined her entire fucking opening. Fuck him and his wig!" I am trying so hard not to laugh in her face. She is really pissed off. All I can manage to say to her is "Yea...he's really rich. Totally ruined her opening." She agrees with me then whips back around. Thankfully The Donald is finally making his way back out of the arena. I was beginning to fear for his safety. The way that woman was waiving her tambourine around, she could have probably used it as a deadly projectile even from 1000 feet away.

She does bid Donald farewell though. Not with applause like a lot of the people in the Arena are doing but with a simple statement that, while not word for word, went something like this.... "That's right wig man.... you're too good to stay for the show. We don't want you here anyway. You are not good enough to hear Stevie's songs with your helicopter." This woman obviously has issues with hairpieces and transporting devices that utilize multiple propellers. We all have our "issues" I guess. Not gonna judge. And for the record, I have absolutely nothing against Donald Trump. I like the guy. He's ok. Never did anything to me. Nearly gave Tambourine Lady a coronary but she is a whackjob anyways. ( Ok, I may be judging a little.) Not a big deal. We have two hours of Stevie music ahead of us. It's all good.

" Time cast a spell on you, but you won't forget me. I know I could have loved you, but you would not let me. " -Silver Springs, Fleetwood Mac

Stevie Nicks Concert 2001

Once the doors close and Mr. Trump has officially left the arena, Stevie waves to the crowd. We all go crazy again. She motions her hands for us to quiet down. She says "Thank you all so much for coming out tonite. I know we are all experiencing much grief and anxiety about the tragedies of the past week that have stricken our country. We are all so saddened by the events. We are all still trying to make sense of the reality we are facing. I would like to take you away from the pain for a few hours. Let's lose ourselves in the music tonight. Come away with me for a little while. It's okay."

I am now bawling. So is Tambourine Lady. I love this woman. She is always so sweet and gracious. You could hear the pain in her voice as well. You can see how much she loves her fans. I needed this. I needed her reassurance that is was okay to be here and not feel guilty. I have no tissues but I have the napkin from my drink. I wipe my eyes. My sister is now misty eyed because she knows how much this meant to me. What a bunch of saps in this family!!

"Rock on ancient queen, follow those that pale in your shadow." - Gold Dust Woman, Fleetwood Mac

I hear the cowbell start clicking. She is opening with Gold Dust Woman, my favorite Stevie song. I find I am singing along with Stevie even louder than Tambourine Lady. (I am always the stuck next to the crazies. The funny thing is, deep down I am crazier than most people in many ways. As of late, I've come to accept it and unleash it not hide it. I have taken my place as the reigning crazy one and I have never been happier to do so. I am the Queen. The one and only.)

Stevie brings us through 4 decades of music throughout the night. She sounds amazing. She is one of those artists that sounds exactly the same live as on her recordings. I go nuts through Stand Back, dancing as much as I can without knocking out the guy next to me. An hour into the show, Tambourine Lady has run out of steam. She is sitting in her seat, not waving the tambourine. The guy next to me leans in and says "I hope she stays sitting because I was about ten seconds from kicking her and her tambourine down the the side of the arena." I start laughing. Told him I think even her friends would have enjoyed that.

Stevie Nicks Concert 2001

Stevie dedicates the hauntingly beautiful song "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You" to the victims of 9/11. This is another one of my favorites. I don't think there was a dry eye in the arena. I am now wiping my tears in my sleeve because I have no tissues. Even the guy next to me gets choked up. She wrote this song for Joe Walsh of The Eagles. He had lost his daughter when she was 3 1/2 years old. Even though she was just a little girl, she was an old soul whom related to and understood her father so much. He used to take her to a park in Colorado that she loved. Her only complaint was that she was too little to reach the drinking fountain to get a drink. After she passed, he placed a little silver drinking fountain under her favorite tree in the park and dedicated it to her and "all the others who were too small to get a drink." This moved Stevie so much that she wrote this song for him. He was her soul mate. He was the man who made her believe in love at first sight.

                                                 "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You"

Has anyone ever written anything for you
In all your darkest hours
Have you ever heard me sing
Listen to me now
You know I'd rather be alone
Than be without you
Don't you know

Has anyone ever given anything to you
In your darkest hours
Did you ever give it back
Well, I have
I have given that to you
If it's all I ever do
This is your song

And the rain comes down
There's no pain and there's no doubt
It was easy to say
I believed in you everyday
If not for me
Then do it for the world

Has anyone ever written anything for you
In your darkest sorrow
Did you ever hear me sing
Listen to me now
You know I'd rather be alone
Than be without you
Don't you know

So, if not for me, then
Do it for yourself
If not for me then
Do it for the world
Poet... priest of nothing
Poet... priest of nothing

Stevie Nicks

As the concert comes to a close she does not disappoint. Our lovely songbird finishes with "Edge of Seventeen." She knocks it out of the arena. There is nothing like hearing her sing that song live. The live music gives me the chills and her voice is filled with utter passion. This is her swan song as a solo artist. This is her white winged dove. It's just like Lynyrd Skynyrd with Free Bird. Until you see it live and in person, you just will not understand how dynamic and powerful a song it is. After the show, I tried to get closer to the stage, hoping to get a glimpse of her, but she was already gone. 

It didn't matter. I was in the same room with her. 20 years after I first took notice of her on that HBO special, I got to spend any evening with her. I got to hear her perform live and in person. I got to feel her energy. This truly was a dream come true for me. I will always so thankful to all who made it possible for me to experience this moment. To sum up my feelings in the words of Stevie herself, "I run around like a spirit in flight, fearlessness is fearlessness. I will not forget this night. Dare my wild heart. Blame it on my wild heart."

Can a wild heart ever truly be tamed?

"Well I've been afraid of changing, cause I built my life around you. But time makes you bolder. Children get older. And I'm getting older too. Yes, I'm getting older too." -Landslide, Fleetwood Mac 


"My love is a man who has not been tamed. My love lives in a world of false pleasure and pain. We come from different worlds but we are the same, my love. I never doubted your beauty, I've changed. I've changed." -Beauty and The Beast, Stevie Nicks

My Favorite Stevie Photos. Such a beautiful, honest, human spirit. 

Stevie Nicks
Such a natural beauty.

Stevie Nicks
We share a love of hats!
Stevie Nicks
A style all her own. She is a shorty like me. Love the boots. 

Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks
Still beautiful in her 60's. 
Stevie and Lindsey
Stevie and Lindsey

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