FAN REVIEW: The magic of Fleetwood Mac

(Brandi Neal)
(Brandi Neal)

Submitted by Kathy Leivas

Fleetwood Mac
Staples Center, Los Angeles
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fleetwood Mac’s performance last night was not only my first time seeing them, but probably the most memorable concert I will ever see again. They did not miss a beat, and Stevie never looked lovelier.

Lindsey doing “Big Love” was really a treat. This man does not get the recognition he deserves, but indeed we did. Everybody in that audience was mesmerized — singing, dancing — and when “Say Goodbye” was playing, complete silence as not to miss the intensity only Lindsey and Stevie can create on stage.

From what I could see, age is but a number because all of them performed like it was 1976 again. I had my tickets for this concert for almost 3 months, but I’ll tell you, it was worth the time and more.

I lost my father a month ago and Stevie dedicating “Landslide” to her father was such an inspiring moment when she sang it. I felt pride and love. Other songs like “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” and “Sara” were delightful, bringing back all the reasons I love Fleetwood Mac.

I wish them only the best for the rest of their tour. All of you waiting to see this band, you are in for an experience of your life. I am truly honored. May you feel the magic Fleetwood Mac will execute. A special thanks to Stevie Nicks for fulfilling my dream. You are the poet of my heart~

FAN REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac rocks enthusiastic Cleveland audience

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Marlene Stemme, Concert Reporter

“And that’s a magical thing.” Stevie Nicks closed Fleetwood Mac’s Cleveland concert last Saturday, June 15, with this sentiment as she talked about the reciprocity between they the artists writing and performing songs and we the audience listening to the songs and giving our experience back to them. Stevie said that the thought came to her a few weeks into this tour that we listen to their songs each time as though we were hearing them for the first time. Indeed, we do. This is not difficult because each show is unique. Or, as my friend Jayne says, “To the untrained eye, it may look like the same show….” Some Fleetwood Mac shows are intense, some are emotional and personal, some are rife with wit and quirky humor, some are big-city show-stoppers.

Cleveland was the happy show. The band seemed happy, the audience seemed happy, the people around me were happy, and I was happy. Stevie smiled, grinned, and generally seemed bemused. Lindsey raced around the stage, jumping and emoting. Granted, they do these things at every show, but something about the happy aspect seemed more real in Cleveland, more true to the mood. “Don’t Stop,” which I tend to regard as an audience-pleaser, not an artistic masterpiece, was a delight. At that show, I really believed that I would look to tomorrow for hope and potential.

“Sara,” which follows intensely and beautifully from “Sisters of the Moon” in a mystical song sequencing triumph that I don’t entirely understand, hits all the notes of melancholy, yet Stevie has turned it into an inkling of hopefulness. When she changes the lyric “And now it’s gone, it doesn’t matter anymore,” to “It’s never gone, it always matters what for,” on the last pass, she sings it like she absolutely wishes for us to understand that sentiment above all else. I think it’s a teaching moment for her.

Every time, and I do mean every single time, I have seen “Stand Back,” I am always surprised and delighted. My short-term memory is apparently not very responsive, because “Stand Back” is in every Fleetwood Mac concert I’ve ever seen. It was a party in Cleveland, a crowd rouser for a crowd that was already gung-ho with enthusiasm.

On the darker and more intense side, “Gold Dust Woman” remains the phenomenon that it has become on this tour. I’m amazed that a human being can go that deeply into an experience and character, manifesting despair and darkness, and come out of it to thank the audience with a smile and a wave. There was a moment in Stevie’s performance in Cleveland, after the first chanted “running in the shadows” section, when Stevie does a sort of tranced-out dance of despair and comes back to the microphone. Looking at her expression, I thought, “That’s not Stevie right now.” She allowed herself to so embody the character that she creates in the story that her nature seemed changed. That’s a great performance.

The end of “Silver Springs” was also compelling, and, I thought a little more unhinged than I’ve seen at other times. I’ve noticed that whenever she lets the “never get away” emotions fly as Lindsey eggs her on, her voice, when she comes back to the microphone for the last line of the song, is fuller and richer. She really worked her voice over each syllable and sustained those notes. My overly-analytical mind thought, “I really love the way she sang the word ‘green.’” This is why it’s never the same show twice, and why my normal-world friends roll their eyes and tell me they hope I had fun at the show.

Lindsey is always *right there* with his songs, never holding himself back. He seemed to have an extra special dose of energy on Saturday. I always pay attention during “Big Love,” but I must admit that I sometimes start thinking of other things during the song: I’m thirsty, I wonder where I parked my car, that sort of thing. Not so in Cleveland. What in some shows seems like frenzy was in this show pure energy, like running exuberantly toward the edge of a cliff and somehow landing relatively safely on the other side.

I have become a fan of the live version of “Sad Angel,” the song from Fleetwood Mac’s new little album of four songs. Lindsey starts the song so earnestly and with such energy that I can’t help but be swept along. Mick’s drum tempo and John’s bass are so quintessentially Fleetwood Mac, and the lyrics so mythologically Lindsey and Stevie, that the song sounds like it should always have been part of their repertoire. Lindsey introduces the song with a lot of enthusiasm for their creative future as a band, and the audience in Cleveland seemed to accept the song wholeheartedly. Win/win.

Never one to miss an opportunity to discuss creative stagnation in the music industry, Lindsey introduced the four songs in the Tusk Movement of the concert by saying that they tried to “subvert the axiom” of the music industry’s repetition-until-death formula when they created Tusk. I love that he launched from that opening speech into “Not That Funny,” a great tune to follow a discussion of axioms and subversion.

Let’s discuss “Say Goodbye” then and now. When Lindsey and Stevie sang “Say Goodbye” on the Say You Will tour, I thought Lindsey and Stevie made an honest effort, and the (general) audience sometimes paid attention, and sometimes took a drink or restroom break. On this tour, ten years later, I think “Say Goodbye” is a solidifying closing song. Lindsey led the way vocally, and Stevie sang both high and low harmony parts to him. Seeing them sing and respond to each other was so compelling that I don’t mind the sustained neck pain that I endured the next day from whipping my attention back and forth between the two. Watching between Stevie and Lindsey when they are really on is often like watching the serve and volley of a professional tennis match.

These vocals and the visuals are why they were once before and are now again such a dynamic musical duo. It’s a great and final ending to a show that changes the landscape of Fleetwood Mac almost to a duo within a duo—Stevie and Lindsey in their mutual musical worlds backed up and led by Mick and John. This might not be the classic Fleetwood Mac that became supremely famous together, but it is a kind of reinvention that makes them creative, awesome, and, let’s face it, fun, going into the future. For that, Fleetwood Mac, Cleveland, Ohio gets my vote for the unabashedly happy show of my own personal and hard-won 2013 concert tour.

At the end, Lindsey told the audience that we were angels (more than “you’re a great audience,” in my enthusiastic opinion), so I can’t hesitate to say that divine fun was had by everyone present that night. I have no doubt that this spirit will continue for the rest of the tour in all kinds of happy, sad, intense, funny, and memorable musical ways.

FAN REVIEW: The chain appears stronger, tighter than ever

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Jeanie Kropat Pressler, Concert Reporter

As I took my seat at the American Airline Center in Dallas last night, “Stephanie,” the beautiful instrumental written by Lindsey Buckingham in 1973 played overhead and, at that very moment, my emotions overwhelmed me and my eyes began to tear up. Not only did I have the privilege of seeing one of the greatest bands ever born out of the late ’60s and early ’70s, I also had the privilege of exposing my two teenage daughters to the mystical magic that is Fleetwood Mac.

In 1977, when Fleetwood Mac released their multi-platinum album Rumours, I was far too young to appreciate music. As I entered my mid-20s, I had acquired a passion for music of the 1970s and fell in love with the Eagles, Rush, Led Zeppelin, but most importantly, Fleetwood Mac. Their music had become a part of me. It was then that I realized that the passionate, heartfelt music of Fleetwood Mac captured the very being of my soul and I became entranced. To this day, Fleetwood Mac’s emotional intensity, infectious melodies, and passionate poetry seize my heart and envelope me within their melodic and lyrical magic. As these entrancing artists combine their vocal harmonies and fantastical songwriting with their emotionally-driven revelations of love, loss, heartbreak and turmoil, as they did last night, one of the most definitive, classic bands prove, yet again, exactly why they have retained the status of rock ‘n’ roll royalty for almost 40 years.

For over two hours, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham took us on a sentimental voyage through Fleetwood Mac’s deep vault of world-turning hits such as “Second Hand News,” “The Chain,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Tusk,” “Sara,” “I’m So Afraid,” and “Sister of the Moon.” Faithful, supporting musicians, Brett Tuggle and Neale Heywood, along with long-time background singers, Lori Perry Nicks and Sharon Celani, provided tremendous performances that offered the balance needed to complement the classic Fleetwood Mac sound. Buckingham and Nicks further gave a glimpse into the new EP with “Sad Angel,” an upbeat song that showcased Buckingham’s surreal finger-picking, and touched us with a tender reflection upon “Without You,” a sweet, heartfelt demo written by Nicks (for Buckingham) back during the Buckingham-Nicks days.

As the lights dimmed at 8:20 pm, the deafening roar of the crowd reverberated against the walls as the familiar guitar riff of “Second Hand News” roared from the speakers. From that moment on, the band’s charisma and electricity was undeniable. Nicks’ cast her endless spell onto the crowd with her mystical twirling and enchanting, poignant vocals, Buckingham’s mesmerized with his intense finger-picking and explosive vocals, McVie’s deep, soulful bass lines stimulated a trembling from within, and Fleetwood’s insanely feverish and primal drum rolls left the crowd in absolute wonder.

Fleetwood Mac’s music has spanned across four decades and despite all the in-fighting, break-ups, make-ups, and resulting bitterness, the chain has yet to be broken. In fact, last night’s performance is evidence that the chain appears stronger…tighter… than ever. Their connection…their love of the music…their love of performing…their emotion…remains timeless and are what keeps them together…and what brings them back on tour. Fleetwood Mac is hardly “second hand news” and as Buckingham stated last night: “there are many chapters of Fleetwood Mac yet to be discovered.”

Jeanie Kropat Pressler is a contributing writer for Stevie Nicks Info.