Thursday, October 22, 2009


Gig review: Fleetwood Mac
Photo by: Ross Gilmore

THE subtitle of this reunion tour claims we can expect Fleetwood Mac Unleashed, but it might just as easily be considered Fleetwood Mac Lashed Back Together. Few bands have been through such interpersonal upheaval and still managed to take to a stage together some 40 years after their formation. Gratifyingly, old enmities and possible past mistakes weren't just glossed over with a few platitudes.

"(The album] Rumours was recorded when we were going through such emotional turmoil," notes Lindsay Buckingham diplomatically. "So yes, there was a lot of aggression in this song." The following Second Hand News was one of the night's more impassioned tracks, regardless of the band's seeming newfound comfort with one another.

Buckingham, guitarist and often the lone singer, and singer Stevie Nicks still appear to be the kind of polar opposites you'd never normally place together. Nicks is a loveable Bohemian in shawls and floaty floor-length dresses, and bleached-blonde soft focus on the big screens.

Buckingham's thousand-yard stare and gritted teeth give a certain frightening perspective to the fact that he says Big Love described the person he was in the Eighties and that he's now merely an echo of that man. Performed solo, the song is roared, lascivious, almost confrontational.

Next to such huge personalities, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie form a prosaic backlines. Yet they switch with accomplishment between the two Fleetwood Macs on display here: the folksy, sweet feminine pop of Nicks, which runs through songs like Gypsy, Sara, Rhiannon and I Have Always Been a Storm – unplayed before this tour – and Buckingham's gruff, alpha-male rock.

Whichever of the pair is singing, large swathes of pop songwriting excellence eclipse infrequent sections of dated MOR. Before the closing Don't Stop, Fleetwood announces: "We'll see you next time". Once more, we look forward to it.

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