“Why does the greatest love become the greatest pain?”
— Stevie Nicks, “Thousand Days“
Sometimes I imagine a parallel universe where Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham never met cute while singing “California Dreaming” together at a youth church function in 1966. Without that moment, there would be no Buckingham Nicks album, no chiffon-twirling witchiness, no Rumours, and a lot less pain spread out over the lives of the five members of Fleetwood Mac who took the stage on Sunday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. That isn’t to say that the music that poured out from the decades of fighting, jealousy, drugs, and break-ups wasn’t sublime — it has always been that and more. But, while Fleetwood Mac’s tortured path through the pain has always been fascinating and tuneful, it has not always been easy to watch.
“Thank you for coming back!”
A lone voice called out during a small pause between songs at Damien Rice’s sold out performance at the Apollo Theater Saturday night. The Irish singer-songwriter paused, and smiled ruefully, and finally responded, “thank you for coming back.” Rice was right to be grateful for the loyalty of his fans, who have endured an eight year hiatus between Rice’s 2006 album, 9, and My Favourite Faded Fantasy, released this October. Aside from a few tracks on charity albums, a bizarre appearance at a Haiti benefit in 2012, and an unusually revealing interview concerning the disintegration of his band and his relationship with girlfriend and collaborator Lisa Hannigan, Rice seemed to be destined to become another one’s of rock’s famous recluses. When asked how he spent the intervening years, Rice admits to doing a bit of sailing off the coast of Ireland, but mostly gives opaque answers about “cleansing” his mind, which might just mean therapy. From the lyrics of My Favourite Faded Fantasy, it certainly seems that Rice has managed to seek and find forgiveness from those around him, and, perhaps most importantly, from himself.