Wednesday, November 04, 2009

REVIEW: FLEETWOOD MAC - BIRMINGHAM "Stevie Nicks still knows how to have a good flail and wail, too"

Review: Fleetwood Mac, Birmingham NIA
by: Michael Greenwell

MIDDLE aged rocking is something of an art and Lindsey Buckingham has it down to a tee.

The Fleetwood Mac frontman still has the legendary guitar skills that first caught the eye of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie in the seventies, while strutting his stuff within appropriate bounds.

Stevie Nicks still knows how to have a good flail and wail, too.

I had doubts about this show if truth be told and especially after a rather pedestrian version of The Chain early on.

Buckingham, along with Stevie Nicks, also murdered Dreams shortly after, both opting for a more rock flavoured vocal on the classic tale of lost love and relationship breakdown.

But as this Brum gig progressed ("I love yao", shouted one rocker), their voices softened, with Nicks soon finding the ethereal vocal qualities which have endeared her to fans for decades.

Buckingham also began to harmonise well in his pained and emotional tones, which lay bare the torment of this famous couple, most evident on the classic album Rumours.

As the band indulged in offerings from the Tusk album, the chemistry between Nicks and Buckingham began to delight the crowd.

Sara, one of the highlights of the entire show, finished with the pair embracing before Nicks walked off stage, much to the delight of the capacity crowd.

Landslide was one of her personal highlights, sitting well in the set and featuring just Buckingham on acoustic guitar to accompany.

The classic jam Tusk had people bopping in the aisles with the band's jerky movements and shadows heightened by a fine visual show.

Other highlights included Gold Dust Woman, with Fleetwood on drums setting the perfect dreamy mood, while changing sticks to bang on a large gong behind his kit.

Fans of the bluesier side of Fleetwood Mac were not disappointed either and it was at these junctures that the audience were treated to the truly expansive playing of Buckingham.

Throughout the night, the "backbone" of Fleetwood Mac (Mick and John on drums and bass respectively) showed just how crucial they are to the sound too and their accomplished playing was just as awe inspiring as Buckingham's lead or Nicks' vocals.

By the time Go Your Own Way and Don't Stop had finished, the Mac were left to soak up the adulation after an accomplished performance.

They still have enough of the magic in their music, even if their looks and enigma have faded slightly over time.

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