Showing posts with label Fleetwood Mac Unleashed Tour Review - Birmingham. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fleetwood Mac Unleashed Tour Review - Birmingham. Show all posts

Sunday, November 08, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac Live in Birmingham UK

Words by Zak Edwards
Photography by Bianca Barrett

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to photograph and review a super group whose various incantations have spanned the course of 5 decades, but that’s exactly what we were offered on Tuesday night as Fleetwood Mac graced the stage of the NIA. Were we excited? Erm… an understatement!

The Rumours line up – comprising of Mac ever presents and band name contributors Mick Fleetwood and John Mcvie, together with the musically talented Lindsey Buckingham and the irrepressibly beautiful Stevie Nicks made their way to the stage much to the jubilation and adulation of the buoyant crowd. Unfortunately the only omission from the line up was keyboard player come vocalist Christine McVie. This was a little disappointing as it meant that certain crowd pleasers such as “Songbird” and “Oh Daddy” would be left out of the set.

The crowd, the majority of whom were in the similar age bracket as the Mac, were initially a little restless after their car parking fiasco and the fact that Fleetwood’s were 30 minutes late on stage, but these minimal mutterings soon turned to cheers and whoops of joy as the gang kicked off with ‘Monday Morning’ . This initial jubilation turned to near pandemonium as one of their classics was unleashed, with the tumultuous driving baseline of “The Chain”. To say the crowd loved it is somewhat of an understatement. It was one of the highlights they had been waiting for. Result.

It has to be said that Nicks and Buckingham are consummate front “(wo) men”. Admittedly it took Stevie’s voice a while to warm up – she failed to reach the high notes in “Dreams”, but once she got in her stride, it was the same haunting vocals and unique inimitable style that we’ve become accustomed to. Interspersed amongst the songs were pertinent musings by the front two. “We’re here to have fun” announced the female singer, and judging by the crowd’s reaction so were they.

The band then ploughed their way through 2 hours of vintage Mac, belting out hit after hit from their chart topping albums “Fleetwood Mac” and “Rumours” right through to “Tango in the Night”, tugging on the heart strings with tunes like the haunting “Rhiannon” and then drawing gasps of amazement due to the guitar playing excellence of Buckingham with his solo version of “Big Love”.

What becomes apparent whilst watching the Rumours line up is the tangible amount of chemistry, love and tension between the members of the band. It would be remiss of me to go through their colourful history, but needless to say it adds to the band dynamic and overall performance. Fleetwood Mac aren’t just a band, they are a family. Nowhere was this more apparent than when Nicks, gave her ex husband Buckingham a heartfelt hug centre stage, the emotion was palpable.

For me the only disappointment was the lack of pre-Buckingham/Nicks Fleetwood Mac. By the very nature of the lineup Peter Green tunes were always going to be in the minority but it would have nice to throw in some of the more popular hits from such an important period in the bands history. The only exception to this was “Oh Well” adapted for Buckingham’s style, but very much a Peter Green classic. The crowd lapped it up and in doing so displayed their love of everything pre 1970.

I have to say it was a truly memorable gig, and as talks of a new album are in the offing, it may not be too long before they are donning the stage once more.

Source: Gig Junkies.

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.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

REVIEW and PHOTOS: Fleetwood Mac Live in Birmingham November 3, 2009

REVIEWED BY: Toni Woodward
Photos by: Steve Gerrard (Steve Gerrard Photography)
I haven’t been this excited about a gig for a long time; probably because I never thought I would see this band live, let alone with both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on stage together. Fleetwood Mac have had various personnel changes over the past forty two years with the one constant being their giant drummer, Mick Fleetwood. Tonight’s line up consists of the members that recorded their most famous album, Rumours, minus keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie.

The band was due on stage at 8pm, so as the clock is creeping towards half past, the audience are becoming more anxious awaiting their arrival. Finally, the band enters the stage starting with the short ditty Monday Morning, the opening track from their self-titled 1975 album. Instantly, the crowd are won over just by seeing the band let alone with what they are playing and the volume produced. Second track in, Fleetwood Mac unleash The Chain with its mighty bass line, vocal harmonies and finger picking guitar part. A shiver runs down my spine as the band present a far rawer version to the recording, allowing the dynamics of the track to truly speak, the crescendo building to Buckingham’s tantalizing guitar solo at the end. This track alone has justified the excitement that I have felt all day and I would leave now a happy lady. The Chain is followed by another classic, Dreams, in which Stevie Nicks’ vocals are released to a responsive audience. Unfortunately, the sound levels cause Buckingham’s backing vocals to drown out Nicks and despite her unique voice she is unable to reach the higher notes and leaves those to the three female backing vocalists.

Before I Know I’m Not Wrong, Lindsey Buckingham explains to the audience about the emotional turmoil that is Fleetwood Mac, which is of no surprise to anyone, and suggests that there maybe a new album in the pipeline, information that is greeted with rapturous applause. Following Buckingham’s, Stevie Nicks, dressed in her typical lacy attire, explains the inspiration behind Gypsy and proceeds to develop this mental image through her competency with lyrics. After venturing in to his solo work with Go Insane, Buckingham ends sitting down at the foot of the drums whilst Nicks re-enters the stage to a fantastic rendition of Rhiannon. The tempo of the set increases with Second Hand News and the pounding, infectious rhythm of Tusk, which the whole band commits to wholeheartedly. This powerful track leads into Sara; despite being less upbeat, the tension on stage between Nicks and Buckingham starts to take its toll and the song ends with them embracing and Stevie leaving the stage obviously touched.

The flood of emotion does not finish there, as the lone figure of Buckingham picks up his electro-acoustic guitar and takes Big Love to another stratosphere. From an 80’s electro hit, he creates a haunting yet purely beautiful stripped down song that brings a tear to my eye through the raw passion he displays. Nicks rejoins him for Landslide and Never Going Back, at which point the rest of the band enter the stage for Storms, Fleetwood on a smaller drum kit positioned at the front. The set continues with Say You Love Me which sees Mick return to his vast, main kit to begin the cowbell preparation for Gold Dust Woman. This mesmerising track sees the stage lights drop and the simple set light up with golden flickers, as Nicks releases her tour de force with room for an extended instrumental section which develops the song bewitchingly.

The audience’s emotions are taken to a lighter place with a humorous version of Oh Well proceeded by I’m So Afraid, in which Buckingham’s true capabilities as a guitarist are demonstrated during an amazing solo, which goes beyond comparison. After a version of Nicks’ solo track Stand Back, the band launch into the anthemic Go Your Own Way. The whole arena is dancing and singing at the top of their voices, enjoying every beat, and all too soon Fleetwood Mac are gone. The band returns after a short interlude to play World Turning, in which Mick Fleetwood has his turn to shine with a drum solo. Whilst the rest of the band leave Mick to it, Buckingham takes a seat by the monitors to watch his colleague, unfortunately, the solo does go on too long for my liking and made me wish they had squeezed another song into the set instead. However, Fleetwood Mac take to the stage for the final track of the evening, Don’t Stop which leaves an optimistic mark on the NIA. Apart from McVie, each band member thanks the audience with genuine sincerity which is unnecessary as I want to thank them for their pure brilliance.

When I think of Fleetwood Mac, I tend to think of vocal harmonies and subtle interweaving melodies but never guitar genius; I have been so wrong for all these years. Throughout the evening, Lindsey Buckingham has displayed some of the best guitar playing I have ever seen, supported by his enthusiasm and terrific vocals he has made this one of the best concerts I have ever been to. Fleetwood Mac is not all about Buckingham either and it would be remiss of me not to comment on their greatness as a band, Nicks’ unique vocals, McVie’s laid back bass lines and Fleetwood’s simple yet effective rhythms, all of which add up to utter brilliance.

Review – Toni Woodward
Photos – Steve Gerrard


Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Fleetwood Mac, at the NIA, Birmingham
By Andy Coleman
It is rare for a rumbling bass guitar riff to get one of the biggest cheers at a concert but it happened when John McVie played those famous notes of The Chain, introduced to a whole new audience thanks to its use as the theme tune to TV’s Grand Prix racing coverage.
And, just like an F1 car, Fleetwood Mac got off to a flying start as they took the audience on a Greatest Hits trip. The Chain, the second track of a 22-song set, was followed by Dreams and a rockin’ I Know I’m Not Wrong.

Frontman Lindsey Buckingham explained: “We’ve got no new album to sell so we’ve decided to do the songs we love – and we hope you love them too.”While 60-year-old Lindsey provided the hard-edged rock ‘n’ roll, former girlfriend Stevie Nicks, a year his senior, enchanted with her more ethereal tunes.

Rhiannon and Gold Dust Woman were highlights of the two-hour 20-minute show, while at the end of Sara, Nicks and Buckingham hugged, a sign that time has healed the rift between them.
The duo may be in the spotlight at the front but the power is at the back of the stage in the shape of 63-year-old McVie and towering 62-year-old drummer Mick Fleetwood, who provided the muscular rhythm for another show-stopper, the mighty Tusk.

When it comes to guitar maestros, however, it’s hard to top Buckingham who played a blistering solo at the end of I’m So Afraid.

He had the stage to himself for Big Love, a song, he explained, that was written as an ensemble piece but has evolved into a solo performance.

Drummer Fleetwood encored with a madcap solo before a rip-roaring finish of Don’t Stop which had the sold out crowd singing along.

The Mac are well and truly back.

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.