Earliest Stevie Memories

This was a post I made to the alt.music.fleetwood-mac newsgroup on December 20, 1995 in response to a thread about our earliest memories of Fleetwood Mac fandom.

Reading Alisha's post and the replies to it brought me back to my first memories of learning about Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. I remember being in middle school when "If Anyone Falls" was all over the radio, and being fascinated by the "shadow against the wall" section. I taped that song from the radio and played it over and over (too poor to actually go out and buy the record).

This was one of the main factors at work when, a few years later, I on impulse bought a ticket to Stevie Nicks' Rock A Little tour, which was coming to Red Rocks during the summer of 1986. I was 16 years old, and it was only the second concert I had ever been to. It wasn't even as if I was a big fan, but I wanted to start going to concerts (wanted to be cool), and the family of one of my good friends were all a bunch of Stevie fanatics. I knew they would be going, and that they would love to have me along (Carol, my friend's mother, had wanted to recruit me to the Mac/Stevie bandwagon for years. I remember hearing "Beautiful Child" while visiting my friend, and feeling almost intimidated by the raw intimacy of it.)

We went up to Red Rocks at 1 a.m. the night before the show, because seating in the front of that venue was (and still is) all general admission in the rows closest to the stage. Our car was third or fourth in a line of many others, and I sat in it through the night listening to Led Zeppelin IV (another part of my awakening during that period) on a walkman. Finally, we got in, and Peter Frampton began the show. Not having been tuned into the 70's scene, I was pretty unfamiliar with Frampton, and impatient to get to the main attraction. When she came out and performed it had an effect on me that was nothing short of spellbinding. It's not as if I really even remember the actual songs that clearly, since I was unfamiliar with most of them. I remember hearing "Dreams" and thinking "I know this song! (A longtime staple on my parents' AM radio station) She sings this?". I remember "Talk to Me," because it was her big single at the time. But mostly I just remember standing there, watching, listening, dancing, absorbing. The whole thing -- the costumes, the lyrics, the band (especially Waddy), the enchanted voice and enchanting stage presence -- put me under a spell that continues to this day. At that moment I understood why rumours always flew about Stevie Nicks being a witch with magical powers... metaphorically, I felt captured and (I hate to overuse this word, but it's really the one that fits best) spellbound.

I've seen many many concerts since then, but that one still remains the best in my memory, tied only with her 1990 return to Red Rocks to promote Timespace. That show was almost identical to the Red Rocks special now out on tape, except of course that at this show she didn't feel like it would be her goodbye to the world. The taping of the special happened only a month or so after the concert I saw in '86, and tickets went on sale the same day the show was announced, for $6 a piece. Unfortunately, I had no car at the time, and by the time I found out the show had been announced and was able to get the bus to a ticket outlet, the show was sold out. It still remains a major regret of mine that I wasn't able to make it.

After that time, I borrowed Carol's tape of Rock A Little, copied it, and then went out and buying everything Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac I could lay my hands on. It became an important part of my emotional life, and it remains so. One of the peak experiences in this journey was when I was able to meet Stevie, a couple of weeks before her birthday in 1994. I had worked as an intern at a local radio station, and my devotion to Stevie was well-known there, so when she came to do an interview, I was lucky enough to be invited to meet her. That was lovely -- she's a very down to earth person who although she is swept along by her schedule, would like nothing better than to sit down and talk with you for hours about whatever is on your mind. (Or, at least, that's the impression she left me with.)

So, maybe because it's the holidays and maybe because of all of this reminiscing, I just want to say a big thank you to all the people on this newsgroup. It's great to have such a feeling of community for this particular passion, which often gets mis-(or not) understood by the people nearest to me geographically. May we continue strong and healthy into the next millenium, and may the current and former members of one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time do the same.

Earliest Stevie Memories / Paul O'Brian / obrian at colorado.edu / Revised April 2006
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