Sunday, November 18, 2018

REVIEW Lindsey Buckingham Live in Ann Arbor November 17, 2018

Lindsey Buckingham displays big life after Fleetwood Mac in Ann Arbor
By Gary Graff
The Oakland Press

ANN ARBOR -- One door closed on Lindsey Buckingham this year -- and hit him on the butt on the way out.

Now he's ready to open another one.

That was the message of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's concert Saturday night, Nov. 18, at the Michigan Theater. Fired by Fleetwood Mac earlier in the year, he's responded not only with a lawsuit against the band but a purposeful renewal of his solo career, including a compilation of what's come before, and promises of much more to come. "You are here at the beginning of something new," Buckingham told the Ann Arbor crowd mid-show. "We have lots more down the line...We're looking forward to having time to do all that."

Though he played some of the group's material, Buckingham did not mention the turmoil with Fleetwood Mac -- who he spent 42 off-and-on years of multi-platinum success with -- or even the band superficially during the nearly two-hour, 21-song show; The closest he came was while discussing the "Solo Anthology: The Best of Lindsey Buckingham," when he noted that he "likes looking ahead and not behind -- that's certainly served me well this year." But his song choices were clearly statements of purpose, including a solo acoustic pairing of "Shut Us Down" and Mac's "Never Going Back Again."

And he ended the night with the pointed and potent choice of his 2008 solo track "Treason," whose chorus declared, "Deep down there's freedom...We will rise from this treason."

Mostly, however, Buckingham and his tight four-piece band gave every reason to anticipate good things to come from his new path. Saturday's show offered an insightful and, to some, revelatory showcase for the creative inventiveness and even quirkiness that's made him one of the standout pop auteurs of the past four decades. For guitar fans in particular it was a festival of finger-picking dexterity as Buckingham -- in his trademark black jacket, black T-shirt and blue jeans -- simultaneously played leads and rhythms on both acoustic and electric, driving songs such as "Go Insane" and a solo acoustic "Big Love" into frenetic fury. Fleetwood Mac's "I'm So Afraid" was its usual epic discourse, with Buckingham slapping his guitar and mugging for ebullient fans who lined the front of the stage.

And the Mac's "Go Your Own Way" was a soaring, triumphant anthem with an extended solo at the end.

The show also let Buckingham dig deep into his solo catalog for songs he noted were seldom played, including shimmering gems such as "Surrender the Rain," "Not Too Late" and "Soul Drifter," the stomping angst of "Doing What I Can" and the gentle, bluesy "Street of Dreams" and the disco-flavored "Slow Dancing." "Holiday Road" from the "National Lampoon's Vacation" series was a roaring rockabilly set-up for a spirited romp through the Mac's "Tusk," while "Turn It Down" nodded to New Wavey pop.

During his comments Buckingham promised a new album and vowed to "see you again next year." And with Saturday's show he gave every reason to anxiously await both.

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac brings a different kind of drama to Rogers Arena in Vancouver

A revved up, magical, and vital Fleetwood Mac brings a different kind of drama to Rogers Arena in Vancouver
by Janet Smith
Photo: Rogers Arena

Rogers Arena on Wednesday, November 14th.

Drama has always been a part of Fleetwood Mac's mystique—from the romantic rifts that fueled Rumours right up until this year, when long-time singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham departed the band with the usual acrimony before its tour. Was he kicked out, or did he leave voluntarily in a huff? That's bound to be cleared up by the ongoing lawsuit.

But the epic Vancouver tour stop here last night at Rogers Arena was all about the love and good vibes. From the opening kick-drum tick of “The Chain”, it was clear the band was eager to go their own way without Buckingham, adding Crowded House frontman Neil Finn and former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell to the mix. And the crowd—a wild mix of ages, from kids in Rumours T-shirts to moms in their best feathered top hats to old dudes with canes—went gamely along for the ride.

Everyone on-stage was having a complete ball, gleeful drummer Mick Fleetwood smashing away like Animal without the aggro, the hulking timekeeper shown in closeup-cam via projections from multiple angles. As he tore through an insanely extended drum solo in “World Turning”, he repeatedly asked, “Are you ready to release the hounds?” Met with the crowd's screaming “Yes!”, Fleetwood then proceeded to do so on his kit.

It was easy to forget that the hyperenergized 71-year-old helped found the band no less than 50 years ago—as in five freaking decades. At the end of the concert, long after the ovations for fittingly upbeat show closer “Don’t Stop” had died down, Fleetwood took the stage in his jaunty black knickers, red shoes, and scarlet top hat to plead with the crowd heading up the aisles of Rogers Arena to simply "be kind” to one another.

Fleetwood’s manic energy was matched by Stevie Nicks’s Gypsy splendour, the songstress fondling the streamers hanging off her microphone and tambourine as she sang, and wrapping herself in a glimmering gold shawl for showstopper "Gold Dust Woman". Spinning magically in her full black skirt and black-suede platform boots, she looked preternaturally young.

For his part, though he didn’t bring the loaded history Buckingham would have had with the others on-stage, Finn managed a nice balance of achieving the Mac-veteran’s tone while somehow still making the songs his own. He also treated fans who lived through the '80s to his own acoustic Crowded House ballad “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, in a transcendent duet with Nicks—another of the show’s feel-good moments.

Campbell, meanwhile, brought the necessary chops to the guitar work, not to mention gravitas to the encore’s "Free Fallin’", sung by an emotion-drenched Nicks and set against projections of the late Tom Petty.

For die-hard fans, the band dug deep into its vaults, back into the bluesy '60s under original frontman Peter Green. Christine McVie—back in the fold after a 15-year hiatus from the group—held her own on the keyboards, and gave most of the room a new appreciation for the '80s radio hit “Little Lies”.

The biggest highlight of a show that didn't lack them came midway through, and we don’t have to tell you which song it was. Nicks was as bewitching as ever in “Rhiannon”, spreading her black shawl like wings and throwing a spell over the packed arena.

In the process, she brought something magnetically older and wiser to the catharsis that's long been part of Fleetwood Mac's storied run. So, yeah, maybe there was drama after all.


REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in Vancouver November 14, 2018

Fleetwood Mac sprinkles gold dust on a Vancouver evening
Photos by Ryan Johnson
Vancouver Weekly

Fleetwood Mac at Rogers Arena, 11/14/18

After canceling their Alberta shows due to a voice-related illness concerning Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac landed at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena Wednesday night (Nov. 14) with a hit-packed setlist.

Right off the bat, the band opened with one of their greatest songs, “The Chain.” A song that would sum up the drama of the group’s early days, and set the tone for many, many more years of conflict, heartbreak and forgiveness.

Nicks was, in a word, enchanting. But even though she was no-doubt the most popular of the group, each member of the band got to shine in the spotlight.

The biggest news of this tour was that usual singer-songwriter and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham wouldn’t be joining the rest of the band. This is just another chapter in the long-running, career-defining drama-fest that is Fleetwood Mac. But honestly, Buckingham wasn’t missed. Instead of replacing him with session musicians and having the remaining key members of the band get all the attention, the group opted for Crowded House frontman Neil Fynn and, of course, iconic guitarist and former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers member Mike Campbell.

What a pleasure to once again see Campbell on stage. After the passing of Tom Petty last year, it was uncertain when the Heartbreakers guitar legend would shred it in front of a stadium-sized live audience again. The additions of Fynn and Campbell set the tone for ‘An Evening with Fleetwood Mac’—projecting themes of friendship, nostalgia and mastery.

Mick Fleetwood was as energetic, crazy and loud as ever, toying with the audience and bouncing around in his red shoes. Nicks had obviously recovered from her voice issues, because that voice was in fine, pristine form all throughout fan favourites “Rhiannon,” “Landslide,” “Gypsy,” and many, many more. Her biggest performance of the evening would come with “Gold Dust Woman”—for which she donned a glittering gold shawl and contorted, danced and flailed around the stage in true witchy form.

Refreshingly, Fleetwood Mac went back to the original days of the band—before Buckingham and Nicks joined—to offer up some 1960s blues courtesy of original frontman Peter Green. The audience ate it all up happily.

After a 15-year hiatus from Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie was back on vocals and the keyboards. While it was beautiful to see her, and to hear McVie classic like “You Make Loving Fun” and “Everywhere” sung by the original voice, that voice has not quite held up. Not that that isn’t to be expected after so long away from the grind of band life.

Meanwhile, Fynn’s voice more than suited classic Buckingham-centered pieces like “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop.” If audience members were uncertain of who he was, they sure as hell figured it out when he dove into an acoustic version of his mega 80s hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” Nicks eventually joined him, and it was one of the most special moments of the evening.

The first song of the encore was, fittingly, Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” Nicks sang the iconic song as a photo montage of Petty rolled on the big screen. Many of those photos included Campbell and Nicks at various stages of their lives. Nicks’ powerful friendship with Petty—both collaborative and personal—has been one of the most defining relationships of her career. It was extra special to see Campbell—Petty’s right-hand stage mate for so many years—playing along old friend Nicks. In a way, this homage to a classic rock n’ roll figure was one of the more impactful ones seen at Rogers Arena in recent years. There were more than a few tears, and Nicks certainly shed some.

It is lovely to see that Fleetwood Mac is by no means passé. Nicks has certainly entered a point in her career where she is revered by all ages and is very much still in fashion. In fact, just last year she performed a duet with Lana Del Rey for “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems” (on Rey’s Lust for Life album), blowing the minds of millions of ‘good witch’ super-fans all over the world

Wednesday night proved that some bands and some songs just simply last.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Don't Stop: 50 years on, Fleetwood Mac are still rising from the ashes of their own self-destruction

The storied band have found a home for themselves teetering on the brink of implosion – unwilling, or perhaps unable, to let each other go. Their new anniversary album, '50 Years – Don't Stop', could hardly be more aptly titled, writes Alexandra Pollard.

1CD | 3CD | 5LP Versions Available November 16th at Amazon
Affairs, breakups, terrifying brawls between lovers, damage to instruments (and skulls), divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism, rows about money, musical differences, and lots and lots and lots of hit records: Fleetwood Mac might have sounded mellow at times, but off stage they were anything but.

“We’re a group of people who, you could make the argument, don’t belong in the same band together,” Lindsey Buckingham once said of his fractious group. “It’s the synergy of that that makes it work.”

Whether they’ve triumphed because of their famously volatile relationship, or in spite of it, Fleetwood Mac have risen from the ashes of their own self-destruction more times than seemed possible. In the past 50 years, they have found a home for themselves teetering on the brink of implosion – unwilling, or perhaps unable, to let each other go. Their new anniversary album, 50
Years – Don’t Stop, could hardly be more aptly titled.

Not that the current members haven’t tried to stop. Stevie Nicks left the band in 1990 over a dispute with Mick Fleetwood, but rejoined a few years later. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham quit in 1987, just before the band’s world tour, to “get on with the next phase of my creative growth” – only to spearhead a reunion a decade later. When Christine McVie packed the whole thing in 1998, she even went as far as moving to a sleepy village in Kent. “There’s no more chance of [McVie returning],” said Stevie Nicks in 2012, “than an asteroid hitting the earth.” A little over a year later, McVie was back in the band, no asteroid in sight.

Stevie Nicks Empowers Through Her Songs

Rock Hall nominee Stevie Nicks empowers through her songs
By Sue Amari, special to

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The story goes, on a hot summer day in 1970, Janis Joplin shouted off the opening band when its set ran long. Stevie Nicks, that band's diminutive singer would later comment,"Being yelled off the stage by Janis Joplin was one of the greatest honors of my life."

Both women would go on to beat the rock odds and be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, just 14 percent women. When this year's inductees are announced in December, Nicks could become the first woman to be inducted into the Hall twice -- once as a member of Fleetwood Mac, and once as a solo artist.

Joplin and Nicks' stage personas, so indelible, were built on opposite characteristics. On stage Joplin swaggered, overpowered. Along with her aversion to sharing a stage, she rarely shared a microphone. Her string of backup bands was an interchangeable not-as-important. It was always Janis Joplin and a forgettable else.

Nicks found fame in the five-member Fleetwood Mac, whose soap opera backstories became the stuff of rock legend. On stage, she twirled and harmonized. Her songs about gypsies and witches shared space with songs by her guitar-picking ex-lover Lindsey Buckingham, who was also her songs' arranger. At concerts she became ethereal, the feminine yin to his masculine yang.

Critics responded in an odd sort of way. Nicks penned "Dreams," the band's only No. 1 hit, as well as half of Rolling Stone's selections for Fleetwood Mac's top 14 songs and seven of the ten fan-favorites in a Rolling Stone poll. Yet Nicks was routinely critically dismissed as a "ditz," a "bimbo," and a "mooncalf" -- while Buckingham was hailed as the band's creative genius.

Which begs the question: Why was it either/or?

Commenting on critics' tendencies to overvalue Buckingham while dismissing Nicks, writer Amy Mulvihill suggested, "I wish these people would actually listen to her songs."

Early Nicks' lyrics gave a twist to a familiar subject -- the demise of a relationship. In Nicks' songs there is no crying at a party, offering another piece of her heart, or worrying that you'll love her tomorrow. 

Instead, she offers new options, from the flippant, "Well who am I to bring you down?" to the caustic, "Rulers make bad lovers, better put your kingdom up for sale." 

She ruminates, but it never leads to despair. It's just a learning moment, an important step on the road to something else. It was an empowering shift of perspective, done with the lift of a shawl by a perfectly manicured hand.

"Stevie took traditionally feminine characteristics, unabashedly embraced them, and then made them the source of power," songwriter and singer Vanessa Carlton commented.

It's probably no surprise her life mirrors the lyrics. Still performing at 70, her picked-apart love affairs, critic dismissals, addictions and weight ups and downs, never stopped a career that now spans almost 50 years, and includes eight Grammy nominations for her solo work, 28 years of a reverential fan-fest called, "The Night of a Thousand Stevies," and a continued relevance best expressed in a 2014 millennial TED talk that advised a new generation of fans to "just be Stevie."

There is a temptation to call it ironic -- the fact that this diminutive woman draped in shawls and lace could end up so triumphant -- but ironic  would embarrassingly miss the point.

Just listen to her songs.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Fleetwood Mac add a second Wembley date to European Tour and announce that the Pretenders will be opening for them on the Euro dates. 

Tickets for the new show, June 18th, go onsale Friday, November 16th, with the Live Nation presale beginning November 15th, sign up at LIVE NATION

REVIEW Lindsey Buckingham Live in Birmingham, Alabama November 12, 2018

Is Lindsey Buckingham’s solo show a declaration of independence from Fleetwood Mac?
By Mary Colurso
Photos By Joe Songer - View Gallery (27 photos)

Lindsey Buckingham has always been an intriguing artist, an exacting craftsman, a compelling performer … and a guy who likes to be in charge of his destiny.

Plays well with others? Sure, but not always. The history of his most famous band, Fleetwood Mac, is fraught with tensions — both personal and professional — that have been a creative spur for some enduring, and truly wonderful, pop-rock music.

Buckingham comes with baggage, in other words.

It’s interesting baggage, and it doesn’t prevent him from excelling on stage. But longtime fans have to wonder how Buckingham is feeling these days, after his ouster from Fleetwood Mac earlier this year and his exclusion from the band’s 2018-2019 tour. (It comes to Birmingham on Feb. 13.)

We know that Buckingham is suing Fleetwood Mac for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract and more. (An October story by Rolling Stone includes a copy of the legal complaint.) But is he hurt? Angry? Frustrated? Determinedly pushing past the rift to focus on his future?

About 750 people in Birmingham have an inkling, after seeing Buckingham perform with his solo band on Monday at the Lyric Theatre. The singer-guitarist, 69, was large and in charge at this sold-out show, delivering nearly two hours of music with passion and intensity.

Buckingham’s 9 p.m. setlist, 21 songs full, reached into the past, pulled from his hit list and offered listeners a mini-retrospective of his solo career. His work with Fleetwood Mac was part of the mix — ticketholders likely would rebel if Buckingham ignored that — but the primary emphasis was on his very own catalog.

Buckingham’s selections included “Trouble” (a standout on his first solo album, 1981’s “Law and Order”), “Go Insane” (the title track from his 1984 record and a top 40 single) and “Holiday Road” (featured in the 1983 movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation”). The artist also chose lesser-known but equally effective tunes such as “I Must Go,” “Doing What I Can,” “Don’t Look Down,” “Turn it On,” “Down on Rodeo” and “Treason.”

His skills as a guitarist were abundantly on display, via percussive picking and sinewy solos, and Buckingham displayed a certain amount of stage swagger. He became playful during at least one of his interactions with the band — was that a modified duckwalk? — and Buckingham’s voice, although not consistently strong, rang out with clarity and conviction throughout much of the show.

Buckingham’s confidence in front of a crowd is a given. His outsize talent is, too, and it served him well here in 2012, during a one-man show at the Alys Stephens Center. On that occasion, Buckingham came off as stellar but rather severe, keeping himself at a distance from the crowd. This time, though, he seemed to have something to prove: Buckingham tried harder, played longer, talked more, smiled often and made a concerted effort to show his appreciation for the audience.

Although you’d never call him emotionally vulnerable, Buckingham let his reserve melt and he opened up a bit, telling listeners that he was beginning a new chapter with this four-man band. He said it several times, in fact, mentioning an album that’s in the works as part of his “new start."

In this context, some of the songs on Buckingham’s agenda — “Shut Us Down,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Never Going Back Again” — could be interpreted as mission statements, declaring his final independence from Fleetwood Mac and his resolution to thrive on his own.

“I love all of you for being here,” Buckingham said. And it was easy to believe that he meant it.

The affection went both ways, of course. Birmingham’s love affair with Buckingham dates back to 1975, when he and Stevie Nicks performed at Municipal Auditorium (now called Boutwell Auditorium) to promote their self-titled debut album, “Buckingham Nicks.”

Thanks to airplay on a local radio station, the record was wholeheartedly embraced here, and Birmingham was one of a few cities where fans turned out in force for the duo. Buckingham and Nicks, who were shortly to join Fleetwood Mac, have said the Birmingham concert provided their first taste of stardom.

Buckingham made sure to acknowledge that connection during Monday’s appearance, reminiscing about the Buckingham Nicks show and paying gracious tribute to those long-ago ticketholders.

“There are people here who saw Stevie and me back then,” Buckingham said. “And it’s great. It’s so circular.”

At this point in his career, Buckingham certainly has no need to court an audience, but it was gratifying — and kind of refreshing — to see him do so at the Lyric. In a way, Buckingham was asking listeners to stick with him, Fleetwood Mac or no Fleetwood Mac.

With a standing ovation, shouts and cheers, Birmingham fans responded with a resounding yes.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Fleetwood Mac Postponed both Edmonton and Calgary Shows

The Edmonton and Calgary shows scheduled for November 10th and 12th were postponed until April 13th and 15th, 2019 due to an illness in the band, which turned out to be Stevie not feeling well.... I hope she feels better with a few days off.... The next scheduled date is Vancouver November 14th.

PHOTOS Fleetwood Mac Live in Columbus, OH November 7, 2018

Photos by Ron Valle