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Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (07/15/2004), Fleetwood Mac returns with music and nostalgia for dedicated fans < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (07/15/2004), Fleetwood Mac returns with music and nostalgia for dedicated fans

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, July 15, 2004

Fleetwood Mac returns with music and nostalgia for dedicated fans
y Dennis Magee, Courier Regional Editor

Cedar Falls --- The spirits are willing.

But the bodies. Well, they've seen a few miles and a few years.

"This is the seniors' tour," Steve Babcock says.

He and his wife, Vicky, are tipping a few beers --- the emphasis on few, not beer --- in a parking lot south of the UNI-Dome. They're wearing matching T-shirts with FLEETWOOD MAC screened across the front.

The couple followed their favorite band to venues in Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin earlier this year. If it's Wednesday, then this must be Iowa.

The Babcocks drove 222 miles from their home in Maplewood, Minn., to catch the show --- again --- and hear Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

"They're just special to us, from our partying years," says Steve, 57.

Vicky, 54, says the couple's pace has slowed. The tone apparently shifted as well.

"Everything is legal now, assuming tailgating is legal in Iowa," Steve says. "But we'll be out of beer soon, so it won't matter anyway."

The appeal now is music and memories from a band firmly entrenched in rock 'n' roll history.

"They symbolize an era. In addition to how good they are, it's the nostalgia," Steve says.

Others getting a jump on the 8 p.m. concert feel the same glow.

"I'm reliving my youth here," says Jim McNamara, 45, of Marshalltown.

He's enjoying life: A concert by his favorite group lies ahead, as well as a shared experience with his daughters, Amanda, 19, and Megan, 21.

The girls bought the tickets as a Father's Day present. They know their dad is a serious Fleetwood Mac fan because he has most of the band's albums.

"I used to have posters," McNamara says. "I think they're all torn and tattered now."

A few parking spaces away, members of Mick's Chat Room, an Internet group, convene on what amounts to a field trip. Some of the ladies are related, but most got to know each other on the Internet because of a unifying passion for Fleetwood Mac.

About a dozen chatters show up from Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa. The member traveling the farthest is coming from Charlotte, N.C. She's catching a flight to Minneapolis, changing planes and heading on to Waterloo Regional Airport.

Her flight is supposed to land at 8:30 p.m. The concert is scheduled for 8.

"(The band's) always late," says Kristi Dunigan, 39, of Jackson, Mich. "She won't miss much."

Connie Tengewall, 42, of Buffalo, Minn., clamps one hand over her ear, a cellular telephone against the other.

"She's in the air!" Tengewall announces at 8:15.

The rest of Mick's group, now camped two rows from center stage, cheer.

Tengewall was on the floor in 1979 when Fleetwood Mac first played the Dome. The band was among the hottest acts touring, tickets were $10 and 25,500 people jammed the building.

"It was festival seating, and we all got crushed," she says.

But the band delivered.

"I remember just being mesmerized," she says.

Wednesday's concert isn't the event it was in '79. But then it can't be.

To begin with, singer-songwriter Christine McVie opted out of the 1 1/2-year tour. UNI officials also won't allow that many people in the Dome anymore. The venue is set for 12,000 on Wednesday, but Heather Tousignant, director of operations, says only about 7,500 tickets are used. Top price in 2004 is $97.50.

"The tickets are probably a little too high for our market," Tousignant says, "though they're the cheapest on the tour."

Chairs fill the floor, and concert-goers are content to use them until the music begins. Most at the show are between 31 and 50 years old, according to surveys Tousignant distributes. Anecdotal evidence suggests the official uniform consists of a Hawaiian shirt --- preferably red or yellow --- Bermuda shorts and comfortable shoes. Cell phones are optional.

The surveys also reveal most in the crowd traveled more than 100 miles to get to the Dome and spent more than $351 on concerts last year.

For true Fleetwood Mac believers, one thing remains constant: The soundtrack for so much of their lives sounds as good today as it did 25 years ago.

"It's the genius of the music and the relationship behind the music," Kristi Dunigan says.

"I think they're better now then they have ever been," she adds.

The lights dim, and shadows walk on stage. Concert-goers vault from their seats like they've been juiced with electricity.

Mick Fleetwood pumps the drums, starting a familiar rhythm.

And it's 1979 all over again.

Date: 2004-07-15         Number of views: 2064

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