Fleetwood Mac is back
Several of the members who contributed to Fleetwood Mac’s classic albums, including the legendary Rumours, and subsequent commercial success had gone their own way over the years, but after years of separation (and a little animosity), these hit-makers got over their differences and now Fleetwood Mac is back and gigging extensively. If their performance at The Forum Tuesday night is any indication, they may now be even better than ever.
Initially, I was a bit skeptical of Fleetwood Mac’s touring and the reasons why they decided to put aside their differences and reunite as the musical family they once were. I mean, c’mon — this band went through A LOT of turmoil over publishing, collaborations, personal affairs, etc. After hearing and reading about this for years, it was hard to see the integrity behind their reformation. Some people (myself included) might have wondered, “Are they doing this JUST for money?” The answer is simply “No.” My assumption was wrong. The entire band had the venue jazzed from beginning to end, and that energy can’t be motivated by money alone.
Lead singer Lindsey Buckingham danced through his guitar solos and really felt the music he was playing. Stevie Nicks looked and acted like the beautiful witch she always wanted to look and act like. There was no shortage of twirling and dancing, and the crowd loved it. I, for one, was under her spell. Thank God the spell was one of love, my favorite kind of hippie-witch spell.
Not only was everyone from the classic lineup on stage and rocking, they looked happy to be there. Even Christine McVie, who left in 1998 and didn’t return until last year, was enjoying every second. McVie is the voice you hear on songs like “Don’t Stop,” “Little Lies,” and “You Make Loving Fun” — a vital part of the band, indeed. For the first time in almost 20 years, the members seem to feel camaraderie in their dysfunctional musical family.
The group consistently talked of Los Angeles being their home and reason for success. We all loved hearing that. It’s almost as if the crowd felt the need to celebrate. There was a hint of LA pride in the air, which is rare, but refreshing, and the audience was interacting from the first note. Many in the crowd even looked like they should’ve been in the band, which shows Fleetwood Mac’s influence both musically and stylistically. Stevie Nicks wannabes were everywhere, but it was kinda cute.
Fleetwood Mac plowed through the hits and played them well. Many of the pop songs we grew up loving were extended into Phish-style jams, which was a welcomed and appreciated surprise to many, especially considering the group’s (generally) poppy approach to music. Personally, I loved it. Always a good time watching fellow musicians improvising and enjoying their set.
At times Buckingham would harmonize with the female vocalists behind him and at other times we were treated to just his guitar and Stevie Nicks. When they played “Landslide,” you could hear a pin drop. Bassist John McVie (yes, he was married to Christine McVie) was solid and kept the backbone of the band strong. The most interesting part of the show, though, and something I thought to be quite special was Mick Fleetwood’s drum solo. It was long and climbed with intensity to a point where he started chanting, yielding an uproarious response from all of us in the audience.
Between certain songs, Buckingham and Nicks would tell stories of how they met, how a song was written, and even their extensive drug use. It was a perfect passage to the next tune, and the show’s momentum never wavered. Buckingham’s vocals attacked the microphone like his fingers did the guitar. The guy is impressive, but like everyone else in Fleetwood Mac, he needs the others to bring out the best in any song.
Despite the band members’ median age being 70, they played like it was their first (or last) show. Not only was it better than I thought it’d be, it was one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. After reforming and sounding so damn good, how can you stop? They can’t stop. They won’t stop (thinking about tomorrow). Get it? I thought it was clever.
I hope the politics within Fleetwood Mac no longer interfere with their progression because a show like the one they delivered at The Forum Tuesday night is good for everyone, including them!
Anthony Marks / LA Music Blog / Thursday, April 16, 2015