Fleetwood Mac(kie)

Normally, I’m not a big proponent of writing concert reviews – but last night’s Fleetwood Mac performance was simply awe-inspiring. The last time I saw the group perform at the Sprint Center was about eight years ago. I sat in the next to last row of the nosebleed section. From what I remember – I enjoyed the show despite the high-altitude and lack of oxygen. Stevie Nicks was a mere speck on the stage … a tiny black ant draped in a shawl.

Last evening, however, I was in the fifth row and felt Lindsey Buckingham’s sweat flick off him and land on me. He probably lost 8lbs on stage last night. Plus, it was the first time I’d seen the entire group perform in their entirety as Christine McVie made a jubilant return sixteen years after her retirement.

Some of the more inane highlights:

Lindsay Buckingham enjoys the limelight more than any other human being on earth. He preened like a deranged peacock – thumping his chest, letting out a banshee wail at the end of nearly every song and playing his guitar with blistering speed. I don’t think I’ve ever applauded more for any performer in my life. To be honest, I didn’t have a choice. Buckingham would always find the lone spotlight to stand in triumphantly and wait for the audience to acknowledge his genius. He is a consummate entertainer – an entertainer with jaw-dropping guitar skills and hair like a frayed Brillo pad.

Christine McVie is not only back, but universally loved. She’s like Mother Teresa on keyboards. Or Walter Cronkite with maracas. Any time another band member would compliment her – which happened often – the crowd would go crazy with adoration. Since she’s been gone for so long, you tend to forget what an integral part of the group she was. My only beef? She didn’t sing “Hold On” – which pretty much summed up my MTV infancy.  She moved around the stage purposefully and deliberately – with a sense of porcelain politeness. Even though her stage presence wasn’t as commanding … the crowd simply wanted to watch her and appreciate all her subtle nuances. Her gorgeous harmonies are ethereal and dreamy – as is her posh British accent.

 

Stevie Nicks is the popular poet laureate of the group. Her signature look was in full effect on stage – complete with black, flowing shawl, Gaussian dress and boots that came straight from an old-timey Disney witch. Yes, she twirled. Yes, she bobbed and weaved. Yes, she sashayed, shimmied and flailed her hair around. It was everything you ever wanted and more. She owned the audience from the first second she floated on stage. Between songs she’d tell stories and relinquish anecdotes about the band. You can tell she’s genuinely pleased McVie is back as Nicks kept ambling over to hug and love and squeeze on her sisterfriend.  And even though she sang most songs in her lower register, she never missed an opportunity to hold a note for dramatic effect. That – and her hair was never mussed.

Mick Fleetwood is the crazy-talented yet completely crazy uncle you keep locked in the basement. He tore through his drum solos with wild-eyed abandon — occasionally standing up to point his drumsticks at Nicks after a particularly raucous performance. The man is – for lack of a better term – nuts and embraces every single aspect of being on stage. I’m not sure what he was strung out on … perhaps a combination of Geritol and speed … but I’ll have what he’s having.  John McVie, meanwhile, stood behind everyone and didn’t say anything all night. He probably wanted to come downstage once or twice but was afraid he’d be impaled by Buckingham’s barn-burning bravado.

My favorite part of the evening? The band’s final pre-encore song before they left the stage – a rousing 10-minute long (extended dance version) of “Go Your Own Way”.  That damn song has been stuck in my head for the last 24-hours. It was sheer rock-n-roll bliss. Now if Stevie would have just sung “Stand Back” – I could have died happy. Alas … no. That probably meant Buckingham would have had to sing “Holiday Road”. Oh well – you can’t win ‘em all.

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On The Radio

I’ve spent the last couple days pinch-hitting for my BFF Dana Wright on the radio. She’s one half of the illustrious KC talk show duo “Dana & Parks” on KMBZ Radio every weekday from 2-6pm. The show is an intoxicating blend of pop culture, water-cooler fare and local newsie-esque stories that typically have folks in a dither. Oh – and did I mention it’s wildly popular? It often teeters between being the #1 and #2 highest-rated radio show in the metro.

Its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 3+ years because of the weirdly chaotic banter between my dingbat bestie Dana and her no-nonsense partner-in-crime Scott Parks. They’ve become birds of a feather. She’s like a loveable magpie … chattering away while being engaging. He’s like a hungover Sam the Eagle from The Muppets … keenly aware, astute and not going to take crap from anyone.  I love them both and religiously listen to them every day.

So when Parks foolishly asked me to sit in while Dana was on her honeymoon, I was immediately intimidated. “I’M NOT INTIMIDATING!” Parks yelled at me when I announced my hesitation. After approximately thirty minutes of meekly talking in to the microphone, Scott told me to “chime in … or else”. I did, indeed, manage to take the stick out of my ass and we were off to the races.

The topics were varied, interesting and not out of my wheelhouse. (Thank GOD we didn’t talk sports.) We discussed a 14-year old boy who – after nearly a year of chemo/radiation – opted to die rather than go through another round of treatment when his cancer returned. We analyzed the story about a scathing, racist video making the rounds at a fraternity at OU. Oh, yeah – and we played the radio version of Family Feud.

The beauty of the show is that I can chime in with pithy, bon mots when warranted. For the most part, though — I just soak in what’s being said. Listeners call in with their two-cents worth and unmitigated opinions, as they should. It IS their show after all. I’m just a mere pawn in the game. Parks handled everything deftly with little fuss or muss. Clearly he’s been doing this awhile.

And clearly – my cherished dingbat bestie Dana has the best job in all of broadcasting.

Highlights, you ask?  When someone texted in: “Who is the woman subbing for Dana? She’s awesome!” and from another texter: “Parks, your new co-host is an ass. But he’s fabu-laaaaaaaaaass.”  Even better? Parks invited me over to have a beer with him after the show. (Read that: I invited myself.) Since I don’t know him nearly as well as Dana, it was nice to bond.  He pointed out we have absolutely “nothing in common” and could not be bigger opposites.  I agreed wholeheartedly.

No wonder we got along so great.

I think I’ll continue to fill in occasionally – which would be a fun outlet for me.  As I told Parks yesterday, “I didn’t swear, fart or black out. Uh, I wish I could say the same for you. All in all I’d say it was a success.” He told me I was adequate at best.  We’re now BFFs too.

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