Sunday, November 08, 2009

REVIEW: FLEETWOOD MAC - BIRMINGHAM "Arguably Rock's Most Dysfunctional Band"

NOVEMBER 3, 2009
By: Paul Cole
Sunday Mercury

JUST as many 60-something musicians are looking forward to retiring to their country piles with nothing but the memories and royalties to keep them company, Fleetwood Mac have dusted off their tambourines, trimmed their facial hair and reunited for another tour.

With no new album on the horizon, arguably rock’s most dysfunctional band took to the stage at the NIA for a two-and-a-half hour powerhouse performance packed with anthems from their extensive back catalogue.

Brushing aside the band’s past personal problems with a sweep of her fringed shawl, Stevie Nicks stepped on stage alongside namesake drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie and all-round guitar hero Lindsey Buckingham, who ran around the stage with the energy of a teenager.

Buckingham’s impassioned playing on songs such as Big Love proved a hit with the bloke standing next to me, who slapped on his air guitar at the first strains of opener Monday Morning, and resolutely refused to put it down until the band had said their final farewells.

Nicks’ ethereal tones took a little while to warm up, meaning Dreams from famed album Rumours fell a little flat on what was one of the final UK gigs of the band’s world tour.

Her voice soon gathered pace in time for a sultry version of Rhiannan and peaked with a beautiful rendition of Landslide.

With lyrics lamenting the passage of time, it seemed to strike a chord with the mainly 40-plus audience.

With local girl Christine McVie missing from the current line-up, mega-hit Everywhere was notably absent from the set list, but a smattering of hits including Go Your Own Way, Sara and Tusk didn’t leave anyone feeling short-changed.

The band ended their marathon show with a triumphant version of Don’t Stop, the anthem famously adopted by Bill Clinton while on the campaign trail to the White House.

Based on their performance, The Mac could certainly count on a few thousand audience votes should they ever enter politics.

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