Can the real Stevie Nicks please stand up?

Some “Second Hand News” on Rumours ATL

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Rumours, the Fleetwood Mac tribute band, played a faithful but underwhelming show at the Jefferson last Friday.

Courtesy Rumours

“Let’s dream together, shall we?” said Stevie Nicks stand-in, Mekenzie Jackson, to a crowd of mostly middle-aged white people. The stage at The Jefferson Theater was doused in pink and red lighting on Saturday night, yet the energy in the room was fairly stagnant. As the majority of the crowd stayed in their seats in the upper balcony, or at tables by the bar, the dancefloor was left bare and waiting for those willing to “dream” alongside the Atlanta-based cover band, Rumours ATL. It had been two years since the group had come to Charlottesville, but they seemed right at home in The Jefferson Theater. “The Jeff is our favorite venue ever,” Jackson said at one point, resulting in thunderous applause from an otherwise tame upper balcony. 

Although the masses seemed to be lacking energy, this was made up for by the personality and flair of the band — all sporting Fleetwood Mac-inspired-attire. While not every middle-aged white woman in Charlottesville was at the concert, it certainly felt like it. Everywhere you looked was another blonde-haired woman sporting a black top hat, flowing black clothing and smokey eye makeup. A battalion of Stevie Nicks impersonators had gathered together to hear off-brand Fleetwood Mac on a freezing Saturday night.

The dance floor was made up of younger attendees — those under 40 were not as shy about dancing and jumping along to songs like “Second Hand News,” “Rhiannon” and “I Wanna Be With You Everywhere.” That being said, there were a few older fans dancing up front — most notably the man with the baseball cap, a beer can in one hand and his other arm flailing wildly, a look of true euphoria crossing his face when the opening chords of “Don’t Stop” rang out. 

Throughout the night, lead guitarist Doug Easterly, and drummer Daniel Morrison, seemed to lose each other, creating an awkward disconnect not only in the music but with the audience as well. Keyboardist and Christine McVie vocalist Adrienne Cottrell constantly was motioning towards the sound booth to adjust the levels on her microphone. And at one moment, Stevie Nicks vocalist Mekenzie Jackson walked off stage completely. Moments like these certainly fit the low-stakes mood of the night. Concert-goers came and went as they pleased, and the only real sense of urgency and enthusiasm came with the better-known songs like “The Chain” and “Don’t Stop.” During “The Chain,” the last song before the encore, the balcony observers showed their most enthusiasm all night — attendees danced around, stomped and shouted. There is no way to avoid losing your mind to a song like “The Chain,” no matter who is performing it.

The clearest distinction between Rumours ATL and any other performance is the fact that it feels more like a music history lesson than a concert at all. Jackson would introduce songs like “Dreams” by talking about the context in which it was written, how it was Fleetwood Mac’s only number one hit, and how special it is that Nicks, a woman, wrote it. Before “Rhiannon” she dove into a story regarding a conversation between Nicks and Mick Fleetwood, discussing witchcraft and the validity and relevance of writing a song about it. And preceding “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” Jackson discussed Tom Petty’s relation to Nicks, and why he was featured on it. While moments like these definitely slowed down the course of the show, without them the music itself would have felt less genuine. It is already difficult to stand up and perform songs as iconic as “The Chain” and “Go Your Own Way” with as much gusto as the original group, but without context Rumours ATL surely would have lacked the authenticity necessary to captivate an already quiet crowd.

If you missed when the actual Fleetwood Mac came to town in 2015, Rumours ATL was an effective consolation — but still, hold out for their next tour. 

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