To set the scene- I’m a 5’3, 19-year-old female who avoids makeup like the plague, which only aides my already-youthful face, and what did I do this weekend? I headed to the 56,000-seat Dodgers Stadium for one of the most historical concerts of this century, alone.
The Classic is a two-day festival taking place on both the west and east coasts in July with legendary acts from the 1960’s-80s headlining. Though I was most excited for Saturday’s headliner, The Eagles, I knew I was going to have an amazing weekend of great music.
I was first in line for parking Saturday afternoon, and after making friends with some friendly scalpers, we tailgated until the show began later in the evening. My seat was right behind the stadium’s home plate, which turned out to be one of the best seats in the
house—high enough to see everything, but not low enough that I had to sell my soul to be there.
The Doobie Brothers opened the first night and the leathered hands of the aged band powered through their Cajon-styled hits, as well as the lesser-known favorites of true fans. To be honest, I was not expecting the pure rawness and beautiful styling the Doobie Brothers offered, and when I say they could shred, boy do I mean it. Original band members Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons wailed on the guitar and harmonized beautifully during their set, but what really impressed me were the musical chops of the non-original members-- saxophone player, Marc Russo and jack-of-all-trade musician, John McFee. This band gave me chills I wasn’t expecting, making it one of my favorite acts of the festival.
Steely Dan was the next act up and I really did not know what to expect-- my knowledge of Steely Dan stopped at "Reelin' in the Years" (left). After their opening number, Donald Fagan immediately announced that his co-founder, Walter Becker, would not be performing due to illness. Becker was replaced by studio musician Larry Carlton, who was more than able to deliver. Steely Dan offered a more relaxed set than the Doobie Brothers and seemed to engross less emotion from the stands. Many people took the time to stand in line for a Dodger dog, but the music itself was beautifully performed whether it was everyone’s style or not.
Up next came one of my favorite bands of all time, the Eagles. Attendees were on edge due to the absence of Glenn Frey after his death in early 2016, but with the aid of Frey’s (gorgeous) son, Deacon, and popular country star Vince Gill, the Eagles were able to more than provide a killer show. After opening with a heart-breakingly beautiful "Seven Bridges Road"
the band immediately jumped into hits sung by original members Joe Walsh and Don Henley, as well as giving Gill and Frey a chance on a few. The band also played “Take it Easy” a Glenn Frey hit they dedicated in his honor. Later Deacon Frey told the audience, “You guys are my medicine tonight” before taking the lead on “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. In a late-set surprise, the band welcomed Bob Seger to the stage to perform “Heartache Tonight” which he co-wrote with Frey and he brought the energy of someone half his age. The Eagles were able to be almost-pristine in the musical sense, even without their token member, much to the happiness of attendees. Just seeing them perform was worth the $700 I paid for a ticket, and I left the first night on cloud nine.
Day two held just as much excitement. I had seen Sunday’s opener; Earth, Wind & Fire two summers ago at the Hollywood Bowl so I knew just what to expect. No one puts on a better show than them. The three original members: Phillip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson were joined by another half a dozen people for the powerhouse that is the mighty elements. The funky set was peppered with synchronized dancing rivaled by the Backstreet Boys themselves as they played their hits. The band opened with their 1975 hit, "Sing a Song" and it was a party from then on. No other band was able to get almost the whole stadium on their feet, but with their monstrous energy and positive vibe, everyone was dancing and singing along.
Journey took the stage next, with their energetic Manila-born lead singer Arnel Pineda ready to rile up the audience. Pineda has been rocking with the band since 2007 after they heard his Steve Perry-esque vocals on Youtube. The band sped through all their best hits, but also took the time to showcase each of the musicians amazing talents. Drummer Steve Smith was especially impressive in his nearly 10 minute solo that left the audience stunned. All I could think was “Imagine if that was your grandpa.” Their smash hit "Don't Stop Believin'"
was saved until the end, where they pulled out all the stops with explosive streamers and confetti in an epic finish.
Before I talk about Fleetwood Mac I have to warn you dear reader, I am not a fan of Stevie Nicks. An atrocity, I know, but if I’m being honest, Fleetwood Mac puts on a damn good show and their set was one of my favorites. Also they were the only act with fireworks maybe that helped. Fleetwood Mac was the band with the most intact original members, with all five in attendance. Though animosity has been rumored, it seemed as though core members Nicks, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham were friendly enough to put on an amazing show. They harmonized just as beautifully as they do on their numerous albums and gave new energy to hits I had heard time and time again. Nicks danced around like the hippy, flower child she is which gave the audience (or at least me) the confidence to get out of seat. Nicks even made a beautiful tribute to her longtime friend Glenn Frey, and offered his son Deacon her greatest respect for stepping up the night before. Nothing prepared me for their grand finish however. Their anthem "Don't Stop"
finished their set, and my unforgettable weekend, with fireworks, dancing and loud, unbothered, rock and roll.
A concert like this happens once in a lifetime and I am so grateful to have been able to attend. I went alone, but was able to get out of my head and be confident enough to speak to people twice my age comfortably. Concerts of that caliber do not happen often and nothing could have prepared me for it. My favorite part of the night was during an intermission where the intercoms played Creedence Clearwater Revival and the whole audience was singing. The companionship music brings to a group is magical and I definitely felt the love this weekend.