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

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The Unleashed Tour Comes to Kansas City
Written by L Much

I remember the summer of the Rumors album when the seminal album dominated radio. The album turned the once blues band led by Peter Green into pop superstars. The “Classic line-up” (minus Christie McVie) is back on the road for the first time without any new material selling out arenas and delivering their greatest hits.

Opening up with “Monday Morning,” “The Chain” and “Dreams,” the band set the theme for a night full of musical nostalgia that had the packed audience satisfied, smiling, and on their feet singing along. The Unleashed tour has proved that there is still great interest in a band that’s set list consists of mostly songs that were released from the mid to late seventies. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks are now front and center taking turns singing about their fractured history as lovers and band mates. Much has been said that the touring version of Fleetwood Mac these days is nothing more then the Lindsey & Stevie show. Perhaps, however isn’t that part of what has made Fleetwood Mac such a success? A band that some how managed to not implode while they dished out their stories of pain and loss to the world was part of the genius that made them. Without their rollercoaster of breakups, lovers and misery, the classic songs from the 1975 album Fleetwood Mac and 1977’s Rumors would never exist and most likely either would this tour. Fleetwood Mac has proven misery does love company and fans through the years have soaked it all up. Now without the added talent of Christine McVie, who has since retired from touring, we have only Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to take us on their musical journey. McVie is certainly missed on this tour and equally has a catalog of Fleetwood Mac hits. However two out of three aren’t bad and The Unleashed tour has proven they have plenty of songs between the two of them to go around.

One thing that has never changed through the years with Fleetwood Mac is the solid rhythm section of both John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. Who could imagine them not being there in the shadows helping the band to keep time? Buckingham tonight proved he may be one of the most under-rated guitarists of our time. Twice in the evening he stole the show with his amazing guitar picking skills. First time was during the Tango in the Night’s tune "Big Love." Buckingham’s stripped down acoustic guitar version proved to be mesmerizing and at times technically impossible – does that man have more then 5 fingers on each hand? Later in the evening for the extended solo of “I'm So Afraid,” Buckingham delivered some of the most beautiful noise that I’ve ever heard as he dominated the stage with a scorching solo that left the audience both exhausted and begging for more.

Some of the musical highlights were equally delivered by the incomparable Stevie Nicks. Nicks may have benefited by McVie’s absence, allowing her to showcase songs from both her Mac days and solo career. Although Nicks doesn’t twirl around the stage with as much agility as the old days, her take on “Rhiannon,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Stand Back” proved she could still deliver nice live renditions of these timeless classics.

Christine McVie may have been absent physically from the night but that didn’t mean the show didn’t feel her presence. You could feel her influences with songs like “The Chain” and “Don’t Stop.” Stevie and Lindsey even took on her song “Say You Love Me” by sharing lead vocals with mix-results. It’s hard not wanting to hear the sheer eloquence of McVie‘s vocals that have always shined in the classic 1975 tune.

Call them a nostalgic act, call them what you like but Fleetwood Mac has a catalog of hits that would make any band today envious. Fleetwood Mac has always been a band that feeds under duress and these days all of the internal politics seem to have been healed through the years. Time will tell if the band will venture back into the studios for another album. Perhaps without any inter conflicts the band has lost their artistic edge. Regardless, Fleetwood Mac has delivered a wealth of material that has proven to be timeless.

Monday, May 11, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac Live in Kansas City May 8, 2009


By Jason Harper in Last Night's Show


Fleetwood Mac gave precisely the kind of show everyone wanted to see Friday night, which was its strength and weakness. Without a new album to support, the band played most fan favorites back to 1969's "Oh Well," with Lindsay Buckingham admirably playing the Peter Green role and original member Mick Fleetwood's face lighting up in response to that old, familiar call, I can't help about the shape I'm in/I can't sing, I ain't pretty and my legs are thin.

Of course, as that Zeppelinesque ditty showed, immediately trumped by a high energy "I'm So Afraid," this 2009 Fleetwood Mac frontman is in pretty damned good shape. Despite his often labored theatrics, Buckingham showed no signs of flagging energy after two and a half hours of performance, and he almost never left the stage.

The one time he might have (aside from the encore breaks) would have been during "World Turning," when Mick Fleetwood did an extended drum solo. This was a refreshingly spontaneous moment, including mostly incomprehensible calls from the drummer to the audience, "Are you blah blah blah?" That back and forth gradually worked its way from '70s nostalgia to something close to hip-hop with Fleetwood's beats all but scratching in response to sampled bits of the Buckingham and Nick's vocals. When what now sounded like a turntable battle reached near fever pitch, the band retook the stage to close out the song.

This was during the first of two encore sets, which ended with "Go Your Own Way" b-side, "Silver Springs." That Nicks-led song was one of the night's most emotionally affecting moments, along with her other signature songs "Sara" and "Landslide." Nicks's voice sounds as strong as ever, and though sometimes her witchy scarf and top hat antics feel like hopelessly dated shtick, the power and beauty of these songs makes up for it.

The show is meticulously planned out, so much so that the Star was able to print the set list accurately the day before, but the planning has its merits. The changes Buckingham emphasized as the core of "Big Love" giving way to the acceptance in Nicks's "Landslide." And the couple's repeated gestures of affection -- a leaning embrace after "Sara," holding hands before the encores and Buckingham's peck on Nicks' head before "Silver Springs" -- may have been only so much soap opera, but they were reassuring celebrations of the ties that bind us together.

In fact, one of the most moving Buckingham moments came with the great Rumours opener, "Second Hand News." Buckingham's quirky pop sensibility still makes the mix of anger, lust and acceptance as engaging as ever, and Nicks seems to enjoy tearing into that "bam bam bam bam ba bam bam" with a vigor to match Buckingham and the rhythm section. Somehow, those nonsense syllables express the perennial pop music theme of just how bad people can hurt each other and how music can get them through it. The show as a whole celebrates how creativity and platonic love transcend romantic relationships.

That said, rarely did the show exceed expectations. It started off very strong, the second song, "The Chain," showcasing each band member. The most powerful moment, the stage lights going dark except for John McVie's bass and that ominous progression at the heart of the song, promised an evening of such magical moments. The fact that that magic remained a 32-year-old, letter-perfect riff suggested something about the night's limits.

And though she's been gone for over a decade, the band misses Christine McVie. She was an anchor that, as a third frontperson, somehow bridged the gap between the veteran British blues men at the back of the stage and the two California kids up front. This incarnation had several additional musicians: jack of all trades Brett Tuggle playing McVie's keyboards and guitarist Neil Heywood giving Buckingham a little run for his money on "Stand Back." The band also had three back-up singers, including Nicks's sister-in-law Lori Nicks. But the show felt primarily like a celebration of the history of Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham -- a little canned, but mighty impressive all the same.

Photos by: Forester Michael

Saturday, May 09, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac Live in Kansas City May 8, 2009

Photos by Chris Cummins/Special to The Star

The version of Fleetwood Mac that visited the Sprint Center on Friday isn't the best-known of the band's many versions. Without Christine McVie playing keyboards and singing some of her everlasting pop songs and love ballads, the Fleetwood Mac that is out on the road today isn't the one everyone remembers most. Nonetheless, it can still indulge an arena filled with rabid fans thirsty for a big dose of nostalgia.

For more than two and a half hours Friday, they played a setlist loaded with hits and favorites -- 23 songs in all. Most were from the trilogy of mega-platinum albums released in 1975-79: "Fleetwood Mac," "Rumours" and "Tusk. "With help from three background singers, an extra guitarist and a keyboardist, they made everything sound a lot like it did more than 30 years ago.

The rhythm section hasn't changed since the band was founded in the 1960s as a British rock-blues band: John McVie and Mick Fleetwood are still keeping time (and still wearing the black vests over white shirts). But this version of the band has become the Lindsey & Stevie show. Both implicitly and explicity, the show emphasized their tempestuous long-term relationship, both professional and personal.

Before she sang "Gypsy," Nicks recalled the first time she met him back in 1965. After "Sara," they posed for a long moment in an odd embrace: he leaning his head on her shoulder, she with her back to him. During "Storm," they looked hard at each other as they sang, "Not all the prayers in the world could save us." And they re-entered the stage for the two encores holding hands, like a teenage couple.

But all that was just window dressing for an event that showcased two things primarily: The band's enormous catalog of hits; and Lindsey Buckingham's dazzling work on the guitar. He makes a noise that is like no one elses, using only his bloodthirsty fingers, at times hammering out his own rhythms with his thumb and playing leads over them. His voice these days is still in remarkably good shape, even when he has to howl through a song like "Go Your Own Way."

Nicks isn't the twirling gypsy-witch she used to be. These days, she dances in parentheses (as a quiet afterthought), and her voice has dropped at least an octave. Still, she can carry all her tunes and add some nice harmonies to Buckingham's lead vocals. They sang the Christine McVie hit "Say You Love Me," and made it sound like some kind of Everly Brothers tune.

The place was nearly full and loud, all night. The crowd was decidedly boomer-heavy, but there were plenty of fans 30-something and younger, too, a sign of how all these songs have taken root in younger generations. It's hard to imagine a band these days putting out records like this one did: Fans know the words to every track; and every song feels like a hit.

There were one or two lulls. "Storms" prompted a flood of traffic up the aisles. So did Fleetwood's long drum solo during "Oh Well," the traditional nod to the band's blues roots. He is looking wizened and wizardly these days, his white beard giving him a strong Dumbeldor resemblance. (He wears a long black cape off stage and has his own cape attendent, like James Brown.)

The highlights: The first four songs, each setting off its own detonation of cheers and singing. Buckingham's guitar play on "Never Going Back Again." "Tusk," in which keyboardist Brett Tuggle sufficiently re-created the sounds of the USC marching band. "I'm So Afraid," which ended like it always does: with Buckingham stirring up some wildfire on guitar. "Landslide," in which Nicks took back the song from everyone who ever covered it poorly (especially Billy Corgan). And "Go Your Own Way," which ignited the most mania of any song all night.

They ended with three encores: "World Turning," a raucous rendition of "Don't Stop" and then an anti-climactic "Silver Springs." Most of the crowd stuck around till the end, however, though some had been in the place for nearly four hours.

And it's worth mentioning that after the show, some of them showed up in the line outside the nearby Czar Bar, which was filled to capacity with lots of young music scenesters. Inside a tribute band was playing Fleetwood Mac songs.

| Timothy Finn, The Star

Setlist: Monday Morning, The Chain, Dreams, I Know I'm Not Wrong, Gypsy, Go Insane, Rhiannon, Second-Hand News, Tusk, Sara, Big Love, Landslide, Never Going Back Again, Storms, Say You Love Me, Gold Dust Woman, Oh Well, I'm So Afraid, Stand Back Go Your Own Way. Encore: World Turning, Don't Stop, Silver Springs.