The last time I was in Philadelphia was for a One Direction concert, and before that, another concert. There’s been a couple high school trips and college programs thrown into the mix too, but that’s not really the point. The point is, I’ve had my share of experiences in “The City of Brotherly Love.”
My latest visit was this past weekend, with my dad. We had bought tickets to see Fleetwood Mac live in April, over a year ago. Obviously I would’ve told this story in April if it happened in April. It did not. Stevie Nicks had been battling an illness and the band was forced to postpone the date of the show. This wasn’t announced until we were already halfway to Philly last April, but we persevered and waited for a second announcement. The announcement came a few days later, in which the band made the decision to postpone the performance until November 3rd. It was not ideal, but when it’s Fleetwood Mac, you wait it out.
Fast forward to present day, my dad and I had made our plans to meet in Philly. I took a flight out of Charlottesville, due to it’s relatively close proximity to my school, while my dad flew out of Norfolk. I touched down in Philadelphia sometime in the early afternoon, met my dad, and we headed for the hotel. After arriving at our lodging for the weekend, and making a quick outfit change, we set our sights on Reading Terminal Market. I have many fond memories of Amish pretzels and desserts here.
At Reading, we wandered through the large crowds, finding new sights and smells around every narrow turn. It’s very exciting to experience such a wide array of cultures and foods all under one roof. It goes without saying that my next move was towards the pretzel place. We ordered one pretzel, each taking an occasional bite, as we continued to walk. My dad managed to find a beer, and later, we even split a cheesesteak! Let’s just say it wasn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon.
After hobbling back to our hotel, both in a food coma, we relaxed for a couple hours and solidified our plans for the evening. My dad had gotten a restaurant recommendation from a work friend and made a prior reservation at L’Angolo Ristorante. We were staying in a stylish hotel that had a beautiful hotel bar, complete with a fireplace, so we decided to have some drinks in the lobby before dinner. I had my usual Moscow Mule, with an occasional Vodka Cranberry. I even ordered my first Cosmopolitan, ever. It was very Carrie Bradshaw of me.
Next stop, L’Angolo Ristorante. My dad started the evening off with a bang by ordering an Uber black for our transportation, which he generously continued to do throughout our whole trip. Upon arriving,I found it very fascinating that this restaurant had a BYOB policy. This was due to the lack of a liquor license, so they allow their patrons to bring bottles of wine for the table, and no cork fee either! Once we were seated, I noticed that it was both small and intimate, but also packed. I dined on the fabulous lobster ravioli, while my dad went for some sort of salmon special. We spent the night talking about my dad’s old friends, the places he’s lived, and the jobs he’s worked. It seemed as though we had hit the jackpot for delicious, hole in the wall, Italian food in Philadelphia.
The next day, we woke up early to get a head start on our day. We decided to try our luck at a morning visit to Reading again, in hopes of beating the crowd. It was still relatively crowded, but there were much less people than the day before. In search of a breakfast spot, we found Hershel’s East Side Deli. After noticing in line that the sandwiches were quite large, we decided to keep it light and split one. What we split was their “Egg & Cheese Sandwich,” with pastrami. It was flavorful, and just enough.
At the conclusion of our breakfast, we set the navigation for Independence Hall. I had visited the historic site on a school trip before, but was surprised to discover my dad had never been. We spent the day seeing the sights and even stumbled upon a Veteran’s Parade, which had an impressive skydiving presentation with a large American flag.
While walking back to the hotel, we found a brewery and ended up finishing off our day of sightseeing there. It was called Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant. My dad ordered pretzel bites and I got Thai lettuce wraps. I chose not to partake in beer consumption, but as far as light appetizers go, I gave this place an A+.
Back to the hotel we went, for some quick napping and planning. Yes, tonight we’d be seeing Fleetwood Mac, live in concert, with floor seats at Wells Fargo Arena.
I found a sushi restaurant on OpenTable, called Kinme, that looked perfect for a quick bite before the show. Kinme also had the same BYOB policy as L’Angeolo’s, which I didn’t normally run into. I became curious whether this policy was a popular occurrence in the restaurants of Philly alone, or if I was just inexperienced in this arena. Nonetheless, I had miso soup, and fantastic assortment of sushi and sashimi, so I was happy.
It was finally time. The moment we’d been waiting for all weekend. Fleetwood Mac. After finishing our meal at Kinme, we hopped in an Uber for the concert venue. I was intrigued by the situation of the city’s various sports and entertainment arenas being so close together, as we neared our destination.
The merch table was our first stop. Next, with t-shirts in tow, my dad ordered us a couple Vodka Cranberries, and we walked down the stairs to our seats. I had never gotten such close seats for a concert before this show, other than of course being front row at a smaller general admission show. What made being so close to the stage even sweeter was the fact that we were seeing one of the world’s best-selling bands ever, and my personal favorite. I am a huge fan of the band as a whole, and of course the legendary Stevie Nicks. The band’s members at our show consisted of the usual Christine McVie, John Mcvie, Mick Fleetwood, and of course Stevie Nicks, but no Lindsey Buckingham. It’s rumored that he was fired due to some sort of disagreement, maybe money related. Due to Lindsey’s absence, the band has moved on with two newer additions. These new members include Neil Finn of Crowded House and SplitEnz, and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Once the show began, it was nothing short of pure magic. I was in awe of the voices of both Stevie and Christine, who both still sounded incredible, after many years since first recording many of their hits. Mick Fleetwood’s character was captivating and electric. Neil Finn not only fit in perfectly, but also played Don’t Dream It’s Over, which he wrote when he was a member of the band, Crowded House. This is one of my favorite songs, so hearing it live was surreal. Mike Campbell’s guitar skill was one of the best I’d ever seen or heard. The band even made an homage to the late Tom Petty, with a performance of Free Fallin’ during the encore. It was absolutely unreal to see one of my favorite bands in the entire world in real life, and with my dad, who got me into them in the first place. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this night