Showing posts with label 10-26-18: Fleetwood Mac Cleveland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 10-26-18: Fleetwood Mac Cleveland. Show all posts

Saturday, October 27, 2018

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in Cleveland October 26, 2018

Reinvigorated and reinvented Fleetwood Mac steps into The Q and takes the crowd by a ‘Landslide’

By Chuck Yarborough, The Plain Dealer

Click through for the photo gallery

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and John McVie have been playing Fleetwood Mac music now for nigh on 40 years – 50 for drummer Fleetwood and bassist Johnny Mac.

Why, that’s long enough that phrases like “nigh on 40 years’’ was a new way to say “a long time.”

So, with all that and a string of hits that pretty much ended with “Tusk’’ in 1979 (although there would be subsequent studio albums of new music), it’s understandable that the band, while still a good concert draw, has watched its energy level decline over the years.

But it was back Friday night, when the band played to a sold-out Quicken Loans Arena, and really, there’s only one reason why: Lindsey Buckingham got fired.

Now, let’s be up front: Fleetwood Mac is a lesser band without Buckingham, the author of some of its greatest hits and a showman equal to Fleetwood, the wild-eyed inspiration for the Muppets drummer Animal. And Buckingham’s skills vocally and musically are such that it took two men to replace him, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell and Split Enz and Crowded House’s Neil Finn.

But there’s a big but there:

The addition of the two newbies – primarily Campbell’s slick and tasty lead guitar and Finn’s pure baritone vocals – seemed to have relit the fire that put Fleetwood Mac in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Nicks in particular had a fire in voice, belting out songs like “Dreams” and a particularly smoky version of “Black Magic Woman’’ that never would have made it into a Mac setlist with Buckingham in the fold. Not because he can’t play it, but because his own catalog is so vast, it would’ve made no sense to go outside.

It’s true that Nicks spends even less time than she ever did exploring the higher registers, and that Christine McVie was at times a bit pitchier than I’m used to for Fleetwood Mac’s designated “songbird” and her signature lilt. But the renewed energy really was something to behold.

Nicks, at 70, is the youngest of the four remaining official members of the band. Fleetwood is 71, John McVie is 72 and Christine McVie is 75. Let’s give a little credit where it’s due, shall we? It’s just not realistic to expect the power of 20-year-old voices from these folks.

And yet the increased energy level – and the addition of that whippersnapper Finn, who’s a baby of 60 – gave renewed strength to songs like “The Chain,” “Second Hand News” (which ironically begins with the lyrics “I know there’s nothing to say / Someone has taken my place”), “Everywhere,” “Gypsy,’’ “World Turning” and “Monday Morning.’’

For more than two hours, Fleetwood Mac kept almost every person in The Q on their feet, running through “Say You Love Me,” “Little Lies,” “Gypsy,” “Landslide,’’ “You Make Loving Fun,” Gold Dust Woman” and, of course, “Go Your Own Way.’’

Fleetwood himself has always been nothing short of manic – hence his pseudo namesake on the Muppets – but he was even wilder with a drum solo that turned into a joyous collaboration with world-class percussionist Taku Hirano, coming out of and back into “World Turning.”

“Rhiannon,’’ the staple that even people who’ve never heard of Fleetwood Mac know, was rescued from its golden oldie chestnut status and given new life with better harmonies – thanks largely to Finn, whose voice meshes with McVie and Nicks far better than I expected it to.

The result is that everyone is feeding off everyone else, which is the way it works when a band is on a roll. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few new tunes – or even an album – came out of this incarnation of Mac.

Ah, but that’s just how “Rumours” get started, right?

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in Cleveland October 26, 2018

A Revitalized Fleetwood Mac Delivers an Engaging Performance at the Q
Concert Review By Matt Wardlaw

More Photos HERE
Photos by Scott Sandberg

While it might not have happened in the way some fans were hoping for, in the world of Fleetwood Mac, the way the celebration of their 50th anniversary has played out makes perfect sense for a band that across its history has had many a member shuffle in and out the door, while dealing with enough interpersonal conflict along the way to shatter five bands. In the end, when you look back at how the group has progressed through each modification, it’s been the music that has held it all together, locked in place by deep-rooted friendships and relationships. 

So when it was announced that longtime singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham would not be taking part in the celebratory trek, even as much of a shock as it was, it made sense that drummer Mick Fleetwood, a founding member of the group, wouldn’t allow the Mac ship to be steered in the wrong direction. For guitar work, it made good sense to grab Mike Campbell, a man who had recently been left without a band in the wake of the unexpected death of Tom Petty. The longtime Heartbreakers guitarist has ties to the Fleetwood Mac camp that starting with Stevie Nicks, go back for decades. It was easy to see that he’d bring the right vibe to the group. The band’s next choice, singer-songwriter Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, was a bit more surprising on paper, but for longtime fans of Finn’s work, it was easy to see how he too, would fit well into the framework.

As they rolled through the opening moments of “The Chain” last night at the Q, it was quickly apparent just how well matched Finn and Campbell are for this band. Finn sang the classic lyrics, “And if you don’t love me now/You will never love me again,” with the same emphatic spirit that Buckingham had put into those words for so many years and Nicks trained that same intense gaze on Finn, once fueled by the prior history between her and Buckingham and perhaps now, still driven by the lingering memories. Watching the pair in that moment, you believed. 

Campbell stood stage left, off in his own musical universe a bit, casually playing the classic riffs in a way that was faithfully close to the originals, while adding his own sound into the mix, In the way that he did with the Heartbreakers, he could just stand there and slay you with his guitar work, without having to be the star. He’s a hell of a guitar player and would demonstrate that often throughout the night, but it’s the humble style in which he carries himself that makes him so endearing to the fans. In fact, during “Little Lies,” he walked over to the side of the stage to acknowledge a group of fans, tipping his hat to them and then flicked a guitar pick into the masses. It was a quick but important added personal touch that demonstrates that he recognizes the connection between the music that has given him a career and how that ties back directly to the fans who have supported him through all of the decades. 

So close to Halloween, it perhaps made perfect sense that there was also some Fleetwood Mac cosplay happening, with a good number of fans dressed as Nicks that could be spotted in the concourses and inside the arena. But this is hardly a new thing and the Cult of Stevie needs no excuse to dress up and honor their favorite witch — we’ve seen the same dedicated outfits at other Mac shows previously and in one case at a solo Nicks show in Youngstown on St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago, they worked in a bit of Irish flair. Nicks would not disappoint, extending her arms wide during “Rhiannon,” while later dissolving (thanks to some clever lighting) into a cloud of gold dust at the end of “Gold Dust Woman.” She had visible joy, harmonizing with Finn on a Mac rendition of the Split Enz favorite “I Got You,” playfully wagging her finger at Finn, while later pretending to push him back with her hand. Finn told the story of writing the song “in a small flat in Sydney,” not aware that Nicks was “learning the harmony on the other side of the world as she watched it on MTV.”