Sunday, March 22, 2009

REVIEW: Lindsey Buckingham Still Snorting Lines of Something... Fleetwood Mac Live in NYC

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by Jonah Weiner
(4 Stars)

When Fleetwood Mac calls a tour “Unleashed: The Hits,” it prompts two questions: No. 1. Will I go to the bathroom during “Dreams?” “Go Your Own Way?” “Tusk?” “Say You Love Me?” The only answer is, I will not go to the bathroom at all, or I will go to the bathroom during my pants. This is the band that put out Rumours, after all – the Thriller of dentist’s waiting rooms! (That is meant as a very big compliment). Question No. 2. “Unleashed?” What leash are they referring to? Mick Fleetwood’s crisp, clockwork drumming? Christine McVie’s airy, lovely, shmaltz, absent this go-round? The need to promote a new album and thus fill a set list with the new, unfamiliar, and unwelcome?

There is no new album on the way, which means they started last night’s Madison Square Garden set with “Monday Morning,” closed it with “Silver Springs,” and played nary a whatsit in between.

Some revelations:
  • The band is loud. Surprisingly, rockingly, putting-peers-half-their-age-to-shame-ingly loud.
  • Since the mid-‘70s arrival of Cali songbirds Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks propelled the group from Brit bluesoid also-rans to superstars, you don’t appreciate quite so vividly on record that Mick Fleetwood is the band’s secret weapon. Last night he was great at putting the downbeat where you weren’t expecting it, and whacking his sticks with a hungry clobber without losing the in-the-pocket snap he’s famous for.
  • He was also wearing the weird testicle-ball thingies he wears on the cover of Rumours. And sans culottes. Made out of velvet.
  • Buckingham has probably quit cocaine by this point in his life. Yet he is still very thin, and ridiculously energized: Every other band member took a break but him. He howled when it wasn’t entirely appropriate, sometimes nowhere near a mic. He is clearly still snorting lines of something. We are guessing crushed wheatgrass.
  • Stevie Nicks still twirls across a stage with a lace shawl draped around her shoulders better than anyone else in the business.
  • The whole “I’m getting older, too” refrain from “Landslide” gained a new power now that Stevie is thirty-odd years older than when she first sang it. She delivered it with a moving, impossible combination of verve and woundedness – it was one of the night’s biggest applause lines.
  • John McVie, stoic in a black-vest-and-white-button-down combo, said not a word, hardly looked up. This is only fair, since your average rhythm section has room for only one extrovert with eyes the size of emu eggs and a penchant for skipping around the stage and cackling.
  • Kirsten Dunst and someone we are pretty sure was an Olsen sister, both in attendance, are big Fleetwood Mac fans. Including your Blender correspondent, that made three people in the building who weren’t in college when, like, Millard Fillmore was president. That was so long ago, I’m not even sure Millard Fillmore is actually the name of a president.
  • They didn’t play “Beautiful Child.” Sniff.
  • Roving merch people were actually selling little tambourines with a sticker of the four current touring Mac members – for $40. Meaning if you bought one and two of the good-seats tickets (see pic right), you were shelling out well over $400 for the evening. (And that assumes you skipped the $13 sushi rolls for sale at concession stands).
Let’s make sure you got that: Next to hot dogs and Bud Light, MSG was selling Sushi. We did not try it, because, ew.

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