Showing posts with label 11-21-18: Fleetwood Mac San Jose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 11-21-18: Fleetwood Mac San Jose. Show all posts

Thursday, November 22, 2018

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in San Jose, CA 11/21/18 highlights its history in hit-studded concert

Revamped Fleetwood Mac highlights its history in hit-studded San Jose concert
Warren Pederson - San Fransico Chronicle
Photos: Jim Gensheimer

Fleetwood Mac paid tribute to its varied incarnations at San Jose’s SAP Center on Wednesday, Nov. 21, and despite a few surprising flubs, the storied rockers commanded the crowd as if they never broke the chain.

The band, which survived five decades of shifts in sound, personnel and personalities, performed an almost 2½-hour set rich in the soft-rock standards that defined its commercial peak in the 1970s and ’80s, as well as blues tunes from its formative years and a few obscurities, during its 50th anniversary tour stop.

It was a set that regardless of which Fleetwood Mac era fans came to see, hit every note. The show may not have won over those who miss singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, recently replaced in a move that divided classic rock lovers, but the tour that is likely to please longtime followers planning to catch Fleetwood Mac when the band plays Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center on Friday, Nov. 23, and Oakland’s Oracle Arena on Sunday, Nov. 25.

The San Jose concert was particularly special for singer Stevie Nicks, who turned 70 this year but hasn’t ditched her shawls or heels. A homecoming of sorts, Nicks took several moments to give the South Bay city a proper shout-out. Born in Phoenix, she attended San Jose State University and made some of her first recordings in the Bay Area.

“It’s pretty darn good to be back in my own specific and very special hood,” she said. “This is where it all started, and I had to take a minute to let you know that.”

Nicks, who has done decades of shows worldwide with the band as well as solo, said she was a bit nervous to be back in the Bay Area and even forgot the lyrics at one point to “Landslide.” Whether it was nerves or overfamiliarity with one of her most popular songs with the band, it was an odd moment from a normally polished singer.

“What’s happening? … I’ve lost the key,” Nicks admitted in the midst the song, which she dedicated to longtime friends (including one who used to drive her to the College of San Mateo for “two solid years, back and forth”).

“This is my home, so I can do this,” she laughed off. “Seriously, I’m so nervous I’m never coming back here!

“I’m kidding. I will always come back,” she assured the crowd. “This is when you know, after 70 years, that you still get this nervous when you sing a song for people that you love.”

With longtime singer-guitarist Buckingham fired amid reports of major bad blood with Nicks, his former lover he met when the two attended Menlo-Atherton High School, the band has been touring with Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty’s band, the Heartbreakers. Though neither had the manic magic that made Buckingham unstoppable onstage, they provided competent interpretations of Buckingham’s standards, with Finn handling the lead vocal in “Second Hand News” and “Monday Morning,” and Campbell tackling the frenetic guitar leads on “The Chain” and “Go Your Own Way.”

The band did a deep dive into its blues catalog, with Nicks providing a feminist spin singing “Black Magic Woman,” a haunting psychedelic gem later popularized by Santana; Finn dusting off “Tell Me All the Things You Do,” a melodic nugget from Danny Kirwan, a Fleetwood Mac member from 1968 to 1972 who died this year; and Campbell taking the spotlight on “Oh Well,” a powerful hard rock hybrid.

Nicks, even more of a focal point for the band with Buckingham out of the picture, gave the crowd what it wanted with “Dreams,” “Rhiannon” and “Gypsy.” She paid tribute to Petty, her frequent collaborator who died last year, with a spirited version of “Free Fallin’” featuring projected images of the two together and Petty with the Heartbreakers over the years.

Finn, whose solo career hasn’t received the attention it deserves after he created moody, melodic pop with Crowded House and Split Enz, took a deserved spotlight with a cover of “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” It was an unusual choice for a Fleetwood Mac concert, but it was well received — especially when Nicks joined in on the chorus.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood, still a solid player at 71 and is probably the member who’s worked harder than everyone to keep Fleetwood Mac together over the years, did his standard wild-man solo. Bassist John McVie kept his usual low profile but provided a solid foundation for the band. And keyboardist Christine McVie, who rejoined the band in 2014 after a lengthy semi-retirement, proved to be a grounding force with her smoky vocals on the mid-tempo staples “Little Lies,” “Isn’t It Midnight” and ”Everywhere.” She closed the evening with a duet with Nicks for the band’s third encore song, “All Over Again.” (The deep cut is off the band’s poorly received 1995 “Time” album and is a song that only Fleetwood Mac’s die-hard fans remember — if at all.)

McVie’s collaboration with Buckingham last year on an album of new material was such a pleasant surprise that it’s disappointing to know that Fleetwood Mac has no intentions of recording new songs again. That could take the sting away for Buckingham fans who resent hearing the new guys covering songs he made famous. But as long as some form of Fleetwood Mac remains intact covering the band’s classic catalog, this incarnation passes the test.

San Francisco Chronicle senior digital arts editor Mariecar Mendoza contributed to this story.

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in San Jose, CA Nov 21, 2018 flops without Lindsey Buckingham

Review: Fleetwood Mac flops without Lindsey Buckingham on board
Jim Harrington - Mercury News
Photos: LiPo Ching

Fleetwood Mac showed up and played music at the SAP Center in San Jose on Nov. 21.

The band’s performance was professional, mostly well organized and started in a timely fashion.

It wasn’t an entirely bad way to spend a Wednesday night.


But you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not sounding too enthusiastic about the concert. It’s just that, for the entire evening, it was nearly impossible to shake the feeling that something — or, more accurately, someone — was missing.

And that someone was, of course, Lindsey Buckingham.

The group dismissed its incredibly talented singer-songwriter-guitarist back in April, sending shockwaves through the classic rock world and resulting in a big lawsuit between Buckingham and the band. Of course, Fleetwood Mac has long been one of rock’s all-time great soap operas, but few outside the band saw this coming.

The split ostensibly had something to do with the band’s touring schedule, with the big sticking point reportedly being over when the trek was to begin. Although, Buckingham told Rolling Stone that his former band mate — and former love interest — Stevie Nicks wanted him out of the band, going so far as to have Fleetwood Mac manager Irving Azoff deliver the message that “Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again.”

So, the band quickly enlisted not one, but two replacement guitarists — Neil Finn of Crowded House fame and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers — and announced a major tour.

The loss of Buckingham didn’t stop the public from snatching up ducats. The San Jose show was dubbed a sell out, while big crowds are expected for the band’s two upcoming shows in Northern California — Nov. 23 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento and Nov. 25 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. (Tickets, priced $69.50-$299.50, are still available for those two shows at Shows start at 8 p.m.)

The fans seemed pretty excited about the evening as they entered the SAP Center, forming long lines at the merchandise booths to purchase $15 Fleetwood Mac bottle openers, $20 Fleetwood Mac mugs, $15 Fleetwood Mac shot glasses and an assortment of $40 Fleetwood Mac T-shirts. There was, however, no truth to the rumor that the band might be selling “Lindsey Buckingham is a big jerk” hoodies.

The fans were still going strong as the group — featuring vocalist Nicks, drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, vocalist-keyboardist Christine McVie and new members Campbell and Finn — took the stage and kicked off the show with a rousing version of “The Chain,” from the 1977 blockbuster “Rumours.”

Yet, it wouldn’t last and the enthusiasm — from the band and especially its fans — quickly began to wane.

You see, it’s not always enough to simply try and replace talent with talent. If it was just pure guitar chops then the new Fleetwood Mac — with Campbell on board — wouldn’t miss Buckingham all that much. If it was just a fine singing voice then the new Fleetwood Mac — with Finn signed on — would be just fine.

But Buckingham also brought hard-to-quantify intangibles to the band. He delivered the passion and power, brought the heart and soul, and was able to lift the entire show to a higher level. He also shared unbelievable love/hate chemistry with Nicks — a dynamic that helped make Fleetwood Mac more than just a tired nostalgia act.

Yet, the group was sounding pretty tired on this night, as it delivered clean, capable and barely compelling versions of such fan favorites as “Dreams,” “Second Hand News” and “Say You Love Me.”

The two newcomers did help out quite a bit, though.

Campbell’s guitar leads were typically on point throughout the night and he did an admirable job on the microphone during “Oh Well,” a 1969 single from what’s commonly referred to as the Peter Green-era of Fleetwood Mac. He’d also heavily factor in during the encore, as the band covered Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” with Nicks on vocals.

Finn was part of the best moment of the night, as he sang a lovely duet with Nicks on the Crowded House nugget “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”

“It’s in the top five best-written songs in the history of songs,” Nicks commented at its conclusion.

Overall, Nicks didn’t have a great night. The former Bay Area resident, who attended San Jose State University, kept saying how nervous she was to be back home — and she’d prove it by forgetting the lyrics and losing the key on “Landslide.”

“I think that has never happened before — ever,” she said.

One thing that hasn’t changed in Buckingham’s absence is that Mick Fleetwood’s lengthy, obnoxious drum solo is still a complete waste of time and space. It goes nowhere. But it still takes forever to get there.

As the band wrapped the main set up with the dependable crowd pleaser “Go Your Own Way,” I couldn’t help but linger on the feeling that the whole thing would’ve been so much better with Buckingham in the mix.

Sure, without Buckingham, the group has proven that it can still be popular, still sell out an arena, still get people to spend $15 on a bottle opener.

But, without Buckingham, the group might never be truly great again.