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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

My First Guest Blogger

Hi. This is Jonanna Widner. I am very honored to be Julia’s guest blogger for the day. I am also the assistant editor and music writer for the Reporter. I would say that I am Julia’s right-hand man, only:

1) I am not a man.
2) My desk is actually to the left of Julia’s office.
3) I don’t think she thinks I am her right-hand anything.
But, that’s still what I tell my parents.

But I digress. I’m here to report on the escapades of last night’s KBAC White Witch Caravan. The White Witch Caravan was the brainchild of KBAC’s morning DJ Honey Harris (with whom I do a Wednesday morning segment every week, btw, called “Fun Wednesdays. Which I know is a truly stupid name for a radio show, but, hey, I kinda shoot my cleverness wad every week writing the Reporter table of contents). Anihoots, the WWC was this deal where several lucky KBAC contest winners got free tickets to last night’s Stevie Nicks concert and joined Honey and me for a grand excursion to the Journal Pavilion to see the show. The grand excursion began at the Cowgirl, where proprietor Nicholas Ballas had invented the “White Witch Cocktail,” which was a margarita with a coaster containing a line of fake cocaine on top of the glass. By the time I rolled up to the Cowgirl, most of the contest winners were already there, including this very cute couple, the wife of which was dressed in “Rhiannon”-era Stevie garb. It was their anniversary, and they both were super-obsessed with Stevie Nicks, so it was cute to see them celebrate their love with classic rock and fake cocaine. (I apologize here, as, due to the consumption of several WW Cocktails, I can’t remember everyone’s name). Several KBAC staff were also in attendance, including Luther Watts and Station Manager Ira Gordon. As the WW Cocktails were slurped down in quick succession, we got to know one another. There were a couple of enthusiastic Santa Fe natives who regaled me with their hippie/classic rock tales (they told me about how the Rolling Stones like Santa Fe and will come here to eat New Mex food, I think at Café Estevan but I can’t remember; about how David Bowie once hung out at El Farol and how Bono sang a couple songs there about 15 years ago). There was Rhiannon lady, Honey sporting a fake white-winged dove on her wrist (a Stevie Nicks corsage?) and former SFR intern Delores McElroy, who is perhaps the most Stevie-obsessed person who is not a gay man or Courtney Love that I’ve ever met. Delores looked smashing in a red, Stevie-type dress and high suede boots definitely culled from the Fleetwood Mac line. She also was lugging around a HUGE bouquet of flowers that were just gorgeous. I asked her, “Who gave you the lovely flowers?” And she suddenly got very serious, looked me in the eye, and said, “These are for Stevie!” and then shifted them to the arm furthest away from me.
As we continued to imbibe and plan our one-hour journey to the Journal Pavilion we grew louder and more noticeable and people were starting to stare at us. I felt kinda geeky, like we were the hyper Classics Club members planning our weekend excursion to the Renaissance Festival. But it was cute. And fun. After awhile I didn’t care, and off we went.
Two hours later (somebody who will remain nameless forgot their tickets and we had to turn around and go get them. Then we stopped at the liquor store) we arrived at the Pavilion.
OK, this is the part that sucks. We had general admission tickets and so we were supposed to just grab a seat on the grass. I immediatly got separated from the rest of the group and ended up with my friend who lives in Albuquerque, Frannie, and a friend of hers, who had met me at the show. So the three of us sat together, but I had no idea where everyone else was.
The show itself was great, much better than I thought it would be, in all honesty. Stevie’s voice is in top form, and, from what I could tell from her blown-up image on the giant screens, she looks good. She also looks the same as she did 10 years ago, with long hair in the back and those thick bangs in the front. She went through several wardrobe changes, variations on the “wispy, sequined and black theme.” She sang most of her hits except “Landslide.”
It’s amazing how Stevie Nicks makes the lines of the world blur, how everything gets a little gauzy and softens. It’s rare when I have a cheesy, visceral experience due to a musical act, but dammit that lady gets to me. And, oh my god, the giant screen behind her was a work of dorky art: At one point, there was a computer-generated dove flapping around. At another, there was Stevie up on the screen, then a computer-generated butterfly few out of her heart. And, during the final song, the screen featured a montage of Beauty and the beast/ Wolfman/ monster love stories.
I got up to go to the bathroom during Stevie’s cover of some Bonnie Raitt song. Very, very poor decision on my part. You know how we were sitting in the middle of the grass? Well, when I returned, I realized I would never find my friends, even though they stood out among the usual Stevie fans. I was contending with thousands of people, a very large grass area and a very big beer buzz. I decided I’d just sit down and enjoy the rest of the show by myself.
Once, when I was a sophomore in high school, I got separated from my friends at the Pink Floyd show at Texas Stadium. That was a terrifying experience that ended with me sobbing in the filthy stadium bathroom while “Wish You Were Here” played in the background. I felt isolated and alone and miserable. This was a totally different concert loner experience. I sprawled out on the cool summer grass, by myself among thousands of strangers, so content I didn’t even care about the guy of questionable intelligence yelling “Whoo! Whoo!” at random times behind me. You know how at concerts there’s always one person hanging out by themselves? Just sitting there? And you wonder what their story is? I was that person and at first it was a little embarrassing. But then as the first delayed guitar riffs of “Edge of Seventeen: started, I became the biggest, happiest geek in the amphitheater. Goddamn that’s a good song. By the middle of it, I was having a spiritual experience. I remembered why I like rock ’n’ roll so much. I remembered why people still clutch on desperately to songs that are 10, 20, 30 years old. I remembered why people like Delores go through the trouble of buying expensive flowers and lugging them to Albuquerque. It was a hackneyed, cheesy moment, and I’m not a bit embarrassed by that. Well, OK, maybe just a little.
And then it was over. We all met up at the pre-appointed meeting space and got in the stuffy van and headed back to our lives. Before I drifted off to sleep, I caught up on the rest of the group: Delores talked a security guy into letting her go up to the stage and got to give Stevie her flowers and shake her hand. Honey also got “separated” and ended up watching the show from some “VIP” section. And, apparently, the married couple “rolled around on the grass” during much of the show and may have conceived a child. I hope they name it Stevie.