Sunday, June 29, 2008

Night at the Beach

I saw Stevie Nicks at Jones Beach again last night. After having dragged both James and Dan to shows in the past for company, and trying to lure people to just go to the beach with me before the show, I was out of willing companions and had to buck up and once again go alone.

I wouldn't mind so much if it weren't such a date concert. Lesbians, married couples, gay boys and even man-dates: everyone goes to see Stevie Nicks in pairs.

rainbowI sat on the end of the row on the aisle, warmed by a disturbingly hot armrest whose illuminating light bulb accounted for the heat emanating from it, I think. Jones Beach is always more freezing than you expect it to be, especially with threatening weather. Last year I was painfully shivering in the flooded ampitheater, watching Chris Isaak take off his shoes and socks and roll up his pantlegs to come out into the wet audience and sing a foot-soaked serenade. This year, I was prepared with sweatshirt and umbrella. It had been pouring in Manhattan when I got to Penn Station, so I expected to be sitting in the rain again during the concert (as I had for John Mellencamp), but luckily when I arrived to Jones Beach, all I saw was a rainbow looming above the bandshell.

Stevie Nicks is predictably good in concert, and I don't think her show has changed much in the last three years. This year she added a couple cover tunes - a recent Bob Seger song "Face the Promise" and a stirring rendition of Dave Matthews' "Crash Into Me" (the only forgiveable Dave Matthews song in my opinion), which felt like she must've written it or somehow inspired its composition, seeming so natural to grab the folds of her dress and sing, "Aw, hike up your skirt a little more, and show your world to me," as if it were an invitation for all women to join her.

In a way, it's good to be alone at a Stevie Nicks concert, because pretty much every song makes me cry. From the first notes of her opening number, "Stand Back," to some of her lesser-known album tracks like "Outside the Rain" and "How Still My Love" (which I can't believe she actually performs live), a date might find me bawling next to them. Better to leave me alone with my torment.

There are so many details of the concert which are unendingly fascinating to me but boring to most so I guess I'll skip them. But I guess what keeps me coming back are the slide shows of old photos of Stevie projected on the screen behind her, and footage of her twirling over and over again in some scarfy costume, intermixed with unicorns galluping through a splashy stream. I can't really even imagine where I would rather be.

This year's opening act was even worse than Jeffrey Gaines - Peter Cincotti, whose only redemption came when he closed his set with a rousing cover of David Guetta's club hit "Love Is Gone." I should've shown up an hour late, but I actually enjoyed my leisurely bus ride from Freeport, with the sun's golden rays blinding us a little in our seats. I was listening to a shifty-looking man tell another passenger first that the FBI has been watching him for years, and then that he was actually working for the FBI. I took his picture because I don't think I could've really described his look to anyone, other than as a trench-coat-clad character who might have been on an episode of the X-Files.

The bus ride back was uneventful and got me on a train that gave me enough time to drown my sorrows in some Sangiovese at Marshall Stack before putting myself to bed. But no dreams of sorcerers and doves and unicorns...