Big Mac with Cheese
Earls Court, London
Classic Rock Magazine
With the 'Rumours' line-up back together,
Fleetwood Mac present some classic songs with an oversized dollop
were the best, most visceral blues band in Britain when guitarist
Peter Green was in the driving seat in the 60s. From such elevated
beginnings they evolved - via trips down some stylistically suspect
B-roads and off-ramps- into the heady, folky, fragmented 'Rumours'
band of the the mid-70s, and the slick, big-haired days of 'Tango In
The Night' in the late 80s. Via videos on Top Of The Pops and MTV
they became a huge, massive-selling, globe-trotting AOR juggernaut.
They've endured a raft of potentially destructive personnel changes,
an infamously voracious consumption of mountains of cocaine, and
enough intra-band relationships, affairs, break-ups and make-ups to
fuel a television soap opera script for years.
Having eventually imploded/splintered/run out of steam/gone off the
rails (choose your option), they regrouped in 1997 on the back of
Don't Stop' being appropriated by former US President Bill Clinton
as his campaign song, Over the course of three up-and-down decades,
Fleetwood Mac have shown themselves to be nothing if not survivors.
And they're still with us, still gigging.
And only someone who has spent the last 30 or so years in isolation
in the I'm An Idol Celebrity Get Me Out Of This Academy, Brother
house would be in any doubt about which of the many faces of
Fleetwood Mac they were going to see illuminated in the stage lights
on this tour; there'd be no green manalishi - with or without a
three-pronged Crown - putting in a guest appearance tonight.
Fleetwood Mac 2003 is quite clearly, the Stevie and Lindsey show.
With the well-chronicled fights and feuds and old wounds healed and
a new album to promote, the once Hoover-nosed 'Rumours' line-up of
1976 is back on the road. But not quite; this time they are without
Christine McVie, who has retired from the music business
On stage the nucleus of Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and founder
members John McVie and Mick Fleetwood are bolstered by no less than
six extra people on stage: two percussionists, two backing singers
and two guitarists/keyboard players.
Unsurprisingly, 'Rumours' and new album 'Say You Will' provide the
majority of the songs tonight. Stevie Nicks, who regularly, ducks
out of hitting high notes, dedicates what turns out to be a
beautiful version of' 'Landslide' to Christine McVie, who is in the
audience. For a band with such a glittering back catalogue, the set
could have sparkled with a seemingly endless stream of three and
four- minute pop songs. But, to the band's credit, they approach the
show from the opposite tack, looking to prove that they are still a
vital unit trading on the fact that they're accomplished musicians,
Unfortunately that seems to mean that they also feel they have a
right to show off. They do, but they shouldn't. On at least two
occasions Buckingham goes outrageously over the top when it comes to
guitar abuse on the extended jams while Nicks provides the visual
accompaniment as a whirling dervish dressed in black.
Mick Fleetwood. should know by now the boredom factor and the
momentum-sapping quality of a drum solo. But he rattles one off
anyway, albeit one like you've never quite seen before. Fleetwood
ventures out from behind his kit wearing some bizarre waistcoat
contraption thingy fitted out with drum sample triggers so he can
continue to play while prowling the stage. It's all very bizarre.
And very long, But such downsides are overshadowed by the quality of
so many of the songs (even if that is not always matched by the
quality of their performance); plus a strangely charged band dynamic
that gives them an unexpected edge. Fleetwood Mac are in an enviable
position, and it's one that will enable to continue for a lot longer
'Eyes Of The World'
'Second Hand News'
'Say You Will'
'Never Going Back Again'
'What's The World Coming To'
'Gold Dust Woman'
'I'm So Afraid'
'Go Your Own Way'
'World Turning / Mick Solo'