Sunday, August 03, 2003

Fleetwood Mac Concert

I'm giddy as a schoolboy. I just got back from the Fleetwood Mac concert and I can't contain myself. It was so cool!

I got the tickets free from work. They rarely do that--they usually give us a 15% discount on most things in the group which includes many auto dealerships, Fanzz memorabilia stores, movie theaters, restaurants, and tickets to Jazz Games at the Delta Center. But they hardly ever even give a discount on concert tickets at the DC. So I was floored when I heard they were giving free tickets. I went and got mine from the grumpy Delta Center staff (they are so unhappy over there).

I wasn't that excited, to be honest. I don't like going out and, even though Fleetwood Mac is one of my all time favorite bands, I didn't feel like driving all the way downtown. But I invited my brother and his wife and we went. When I asked him he said, "Who?" I tried to explain but he'd never heard of them. His wife knew one song by them, she said. It turned out she knew two--I'd forgotten the Dixie Freaks had covered "Landslide."

This was my first real big concert in over 10 years and when it started, I was a kid again...all tingles inside. They opened, as they always do, I think, with my favorite song "The Chain." They played most of their old hits: Rhianna, Gypsy, Landslide, Gold Dust Woman, Silver Springs, Tusk, Go Your Own Way, and some of the lesser-known (at least to me)-but-still-wonderful songs: Beautiful Child, Never Going Back Again, World Turning, and the new ones: Say You Will, Peace Keeper, What's the World Coming To, Come.

Lindsey Buckingham is my hero. I was a drummer first so that spot should be held by Mick, but I just love Lindsey's solos. Mick's solo that led to world turning in the encore was fun but it wasn't as good as I've seen him do on tv. But Lindsey was fantastic. He really seemed to be enjoying himself.

That's more than I can say for my bro and his wife. They're ten years younger than me and they got earplugs so they wouldn't hurt their hearing. Don't get me wrong. That's actually a great idea, just not one someone their age would normally think of. As I said earlier, they only recognized two songs. I'm usually rather subdued. I don't cheer much at sporting events--I keep quiet most of the time. But tonight I was jumping and shouting and singing every word of every song. I can barely talk now.

Lindsey, Mick, and Stevie all had something to say. John just stood back, doing the bass-player thing, like he was one of the back-up musicians and not one of the founding members that the band is named after. Lindsey, invoking Jerry Garcia, said, "It's been a long, sometimes dificult and strange trip. But we're still here." Stevie was sweet. Before she sang Beautiful Child, from 1979's Tusk, she said she never thought they'd do it in concert, but that they were "letting" her do it tonight. I had been waiting for her to say something about Salt Lake City and she finally did. She said, "Yes, I lived here for two-and-a-half years. I was here in 8th grade, 9th grade, and 2 weeks of 10th grade." She said she loved it here. She was just getting into high school when they were transfered to Los Angeles. She said it broke her heart to have to leave. She said hi to one of her friends from here, Mary, who apparently was in the audience. She said Mary was always there for her and still is. It was nice to hear she had fond memories of this place.

Unfortunately I didn't have a very good vantage point visually or audibly. We were at the very top of the lower bowl (they hadn't sold the upper) back on the right side of the stage. That's not a very good spot for sound in the DC. The owner of the DC thought only of sporting events. It's considered the loudest stadium in the NBA. I guess that's cool for sports fans but it doesn't make very good sense for music. There's no sound-dampening material anywhere in the building's construction. I have heard that the guy in charge of that during construction walked away from the project because the owner wouldn't let him put any of that material in. So while the mixing and sound was probably great, we got a lot of echos and mushed-together tones. We did get a view of the back-up musicians that those in front of the stage didn't. Mick's huge drum kit was center stage up on a pedestal, and his percussionist was up high, too, back and to his left. Then there was another drumkit, a small five-piece, was hidden behind the speakers. When they broke into "Tusk" and a couple of other songs, all three drummers were going crazy. It was great to see--something the others didn't get to experience.

Grocery Shopping

While I'm here, I wanted to post some thoughts about grocery shopping. I went with the big biweekly list my wife makes and everytime I do, the thought occurs to me that we Americans take a lot for granted. I read once that at the height of the cold war, a member of Kruschev's cabinet came here on a tour and was taken to the produce section of a supermarket. He was sure that it was all propaganda, that all of the food was gathered and setup just for him, to make him think we had a lot, because that kind of thing could not be found in the Soviet Union. More recently, a friend of mine who speaks Norwegian, was assigned the task of chauffering the King of Norway during the King's visit to the Salt Lake Olympics. My friend took the King to a supermarket to get something and the King could not believe we had so much at our disposal. We really are a rich country and none of us seems to know it. We're such a throw-away culture, accustomed to having anything we want that when we experience a little bit of turbulence, like we are now, we can't handle it. I'm really surprised at how businesses are reacting to this slowdown in the economy. There are so many layoffs and cutbacks. You'd think that in rich times we'd be making plans to carry us through tough times. But even with 1929 under our belts, we still don't think it could happen to us and we're surprised when it does. Also, I believe in capitalism to a point. Competition is healthy for the economy. But if we can't see each other as brothers and sisters like I wish to God we could can't we find some other reason to help those who are really affected by downturns in the economy instead of only looking out for our own interests. The company I work for is a great example. I honestly believe that our gm is doing everything he can to cut costs so he doesn't have to lay off anyone. He's already kept hiring to a minimum even in good times so he wouldn't have to trim any excess fat in situations like the one we're facing now. As for the owner of the company, he has said, and I believe him, that he wants to make a profit so that he can continue to have jobs for people. He feels an obligation to the community and to his current employees to provide jobs that will allow them to support their families with one income. Of course I applaud this because my wife stays at home with kids and we feel we are sinking in a world of two-income families. Why can't it be this way everywhere? When does competition end and good will begin? Ok. Will someone help me down from my soapbox, please?

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