Showing posts with label 12-11-18: Fleetwood Mac Los Angeles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 12-11-18: Fleetwood Mac Los Angeles. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live at the Forum Los Angeles December 11, 2018

Fleetwood Mac Find Freedom in Buckingham Departure at the Forum
Photos: Rich Fury

The year may be winding down but in Los Angeles, the live music offerings have been more abundant than ever, a true gift for concertgoers that reflects the seasonal merriment and giving vibes of December. Except, of course, nobody is giving away anything for free, which means that for fans on a budget, decisions have to be made (many of you probably already maxed out your plastic for those Stones at the Rose Bowl tickets, not to mention Christmas presents). Obviously the live music industry is thriving, though. How else could Nine Inch Nails sell out six nights at the Palladium (look for my review of Saturday’s show next week) and Fleetwood Mac fill three nights at the Forum, sans Lindsey Buckingham?

I had never seen Fleetwood Mac live, so the prospect of finally doing so at the urging of my 12-year-old daughter (“Children get older/I’m getting older too”) was exciting, but I was admittedly skeptical that I’d enjoy it as much without the dominant male voice of the group. For my daughter, it was “all about Stevie,” and I’m sure a lot of people — especially females — feel that way. Nicks’ bewitching persona and gorgeous gravelly vocals have always made her the focal point and the one we want to join in with for an enchanted sing-along. But true fans know that Buckingham is as important to the band’s sound as Stevie Nicks, the McVies and its namesake percussionist. Or is he?

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in LA at The Forum December 11, 2018

5 impressions of the new version of Fleetwood Mac and its first concert at the Forum
Photos: Kelly A. Swift

Fleetwood Mac played the first of three shows at the Forum on Tuesday and yes, despite what you’ve thought or heard, it is still Fleetwood Mac even without Lindsey Buckingham, the longtime singer-guitarist was ousted earlier this year.

Is it the same band it was? No. And neither is it the same band it was before Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks joined in the mid-’70s and – with members Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood – made Fleetwood Mac one of the biggest acts in the world.

The question you ask then is whether this version is good, and with the additions of Crowded House singer-guitarist Neil Finn on Buckingham’s vocals, and Mike Campbell, long a member of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers on Buckingham’s lead guitar licks, the answer is: absolutely.

In a set that packed 22 songs and one massive old-school drum solo into two hours and 45 minutes, the fans got almost all the hits they wanted and a few rarer numbers that probably wouldn’t have shown up if Buckingham was still in the band, while both Finn and Campbell got spotlight moments for their work in their longtime bands.

Here are five impressions that stick in the memory the morning after.

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in Los Angeles December 11, 2018

Thinking through Fleetwood Mac's tour without Lindsey Buckingham
By MIKAEL WOOD | LA Times Photo: Luis Sinco

The idea of turnover is baked into Fleetwood Mac, the long-running British American band that arrived in its latest (and possibly strangest) iteration at the Forum on Tuesday for the first show in a three-night stand.

Formed as a crusty blues-revival outfit in London in the late 1960s, the group burned through a series of singers and guitarists before resettling years later in Los Angeles, where Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks helped transform Fleetwood Mac into a polished hit-making machine.

So in a sense it comes as no surprise — as secondhand news, if you will — that the band is on the road this year after it fired Buckingham (allegedly because he didn’t want to tour) and replaced him with a pair of skilled but distantly connected pros: Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers.

For this famously mercenary group, no one — not even the architect of 1977’s gazillion-selling “Rumours” — is safe from elimination.

Yet Buckingham in recent years had taken to describing Fleetwood Mac as a kind of monument to durability. Having quit the band himself in the ’80s (only to return a decade later), he seemed to be putting across the idea that the members’ ability to “rise above the dysfunction,” as he put it to me in a 2017 interview, gave their music a “heroic” quality that distinguished the group from other classic-rock acts still doing business.