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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac "The Most Stable of Units is Nothing Short of Phenomenal - Manchester

Sounds Write - Fleetwood Mac
The Westmorland Gazette
By Anthony Loman

WHEN Fleetwood Mac guitarist, singer and principal songwriter Lindsey Buckingham told the audience at Manchester’s M.E.N arena that, “This band have a complex and convoluted emotional history and it has not always been easy”, the comment was undoubtedly one of the understatements of the century.

For if the forty year plus rollercoaster life and times of the supergroup were ever to be dramatised, it would certainly make for the most compelling viewing with its tales of marital splits, inter-band affairs, acrimonious bust-ups, casual bed-hopping, copious amounts of drug taking/life-threatening addictions, alcohol abuse, mental illness, therapy and rehab, flirtations with religious cults and all this whilst simultaneously managing to create some of the finest and biggest selling albums of all-time.

The fact that Fleetwood Mac in 2009 are now, seemingly, the most stable of units is nothing short of a phenomenon and a testament to their individual and collective survival instincts. Messrs Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (Christine McVie quit the band in ’98, opting for a quiet life these days down in Kent) have long since cleaned up their acts and settled their personal differences and, on the current ‘Unleashed’ world tour which rolled up in Manchester last week for a sell-out show, they convincingly demonstrated that their performance levels are as high now as any point previously in their lengthy career.

In the early 1970’s, Fleetwood Mac were a British blues/rock group whose moderately successful career up to that juncture had been seriously derailed by the departure(due largely to one too many bad acid ‘trips’) of founder member, legendary guitarist Peter Green. The group continued to splutter along for a while until the pivotal moment when an American duo, Buckingham and Nicks, joined the band. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were lovers as well as performers and came very much as a package, with Buckingham, having been identified as a replacement for Green(after a succession of other players had not worked out), refusing to join Mac unless his partner came ‘on board’ too. The introduction of the duo in 1975, who had previously been bit-part players on the West Coast music scene, struggling to eke out a living, succeeded in adding a radio-friendly sheen to Fleetwood Mac’s blue/rock roots, turning around their fortunes in the process and completely revitalising the group’s career. The now new look Anglo-American Fleetwood Mac embarked on a glorious period of unbroken musical success throughout the remainder of the 1970’s/early 80’s but the new chapter in the group’s history also heralded the start of those well-documented problems that very nearly destroyed the band.

The 2009 ‘Unleashed’ tour has a real celebratory triumph over adversity feel to it and the crowd-pleasing tone of the evening was set in place from the very moment Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham walked out on stage hand in hand to thunderous squeals of delight. And in truth, the two and a half hour show that followed did very much belong to the duo who were undeniably the main focal point with their great on-stage dynamic.

Fleetwood Mac don’t presently have any new album to promote, their last one being 2003’s ‘Say You Will’, though they did hint during the show that there could well be one in the offing, news that was met with great audience excitement. The set list of the current show is drawn largely from the group’s trilogy of 1970’s albums, the self-titled ‘Fleetwood Mac’, the 25 million plus selling ‘Rumours’ and ‘Tusk’, records which marked the band’s halcyon days. “This time we said, ‘let’s just go out and have fun’”, Buckingham told the crowd when explaining the show’s rationale and content and so, what was subsequently served up amounted to a veritable Fleetwood Mac musical feast for fans with great big dollops of classic songs such as ‘The Chain’, Dreams’, ‘Rhiannon’, ‘Gold Dust Woman’, ‘Gypsy’, ‘Oh Well’ – a solitary doff of the hat to the Peter Green Mac era, ‘Never Going Back Again’ and ‘Second Hand News’, which Buckingham introduced, with another reference to their ‘crazy’ years, by saying, “This next song, if memory serves, and these days it often doesn’t serve, due to living one’s life a certain way for a number of years, was the first song written for the Rumours album.”

Buckingham himself is, physically, remarkably well preserved these days and with his boyish, skinny frame, still thick though greying mop of tousled hair, makes a mockery of his sixty years. As for his guitar playing, it is nothing short of dazzling and if anyone present had any doubts beforehand about him deserving to be ranked right up there alongside the greats, they would surely have left the building utterly convinced that he is indeed, a bona fide guitar maestro. He plays his instrument with a manic intensity, at times a picture of almost demonic intent and his spine-tingling solo performance on acoustic guitar for ‘Big Love’ (from the ‘Tango In Night’ album) was something very special to behold, with his breakneck speed of hands building to an awesome finger-shredding climax. Elsewhere, he turned in immense solos on ‘Tusk’ and ‘Go Your Own Way’, shamelessly playing up to the crowd with his whoops and stomping of feet as well as his frequent forays to the very edge of the stage where, on bended knee while soloing, he allowed fans to run their eager fingers all along his guitar fretboard. He still sings great too, possessing a natural flair for harmonising and he does all this, whilst visibly drenched right through in sweat from the second song in yet never once bothering to remove his short black leather jacket in a great display of ultimate rock star ‘cool’.

Miss Stevie Nicks, the perfect onstage foil for Buckingham, still sports her career ‘uniform’ of cropped style riding jacket complete with floaty shawl, billowing skirt, suede platform boots and (occasional)Victorian top hat whilst her mic stand and tambourine are draped with trademark sheer scarves and long ribbons. At sixty-one, despite her years of hard living having clearly taken their toll on her looks and her once svelte figure certainly a little more rounded these days, Nicks remains effortlessly sexy and the epitome of Californian hippy/mystical chic. Her vocals however are her greatest seduction tool, as smoky and ethereal as ever and although she now noticeably avoids notes in the higher register, her dulcet tones still cast quite a spell.

There’s some lovely Buckingham/Nicks coming togethers’ during the show that are played out for maximum effect and which the audience readily lap up. A stunning Nicks rendition of ‘Landslide’ sees her alone on stage with her former paramour accompanying on acoustic guitar and, at the conclusion of ‘Sara’, the pair warmly embrace and hug, sway momentarily in each others arms with a resting of heads on shoulders and there’s a tender kiss from Buckingham to the back of Nicks’ hair. It’s all a little too stage managed but it’s a poignant moment nonetheless and elicits the intended crowd cheers.

As something of a backdrop to the Buckingham and Nick’s floor show, there’s the two ageing gents and somewhat unsung heroes of the group, bassist John McVie (64) and drummer Mick Fleetwood (62), driving things along at a frenetic pace as one of the tightest rhythm sections in the business. McVie, typically motionless and doing his best to avoid eye contact with all, hiding under his flat cap, could easily pass for a grizzled farmer that had just parked his tractor at the back and ambled on stage whilst the towering 6ft 6in Fleetwood, with his grey/white hair slicked back in a short ponytail, wild, wide-eyed gaze, white shirt and black waistcoat and, with those omni-present, what appear to be, pair of oversized clackers dangling from his waist, looks for all his worth as though he has come straight out of the pages of an old English medieval novel. And when he gets his big moment under the spotlight during a fairly lengthy drum solo towards the show’s end, he goes into full-on frenzy mode, battering the hell out of his monstrous kit as he barks out some incomprehensible words to the crowd and generally exhibiting characteristics of a deranged madman. The all-absorbing and enthralling concert reaches a real peak with everyone coaxed to their feet for the big crowd sing-a-long anthems that are ‘Go Your Own Way’ and the rousing encore of ‘Don’t Stop’. It leaves the audience on an exhilarating high and the final utterance from the stage of “We’ll see you next time” is a promise all present surely hope Fleetwood Mac will keep.

Monday, November 02, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac MEN Arena - Manchester, UK October 27, 2009

Fleetwood Mac
Unleashed 2009 Tour,
MEN Arena 27/10/09
By Aasma Day

THE band once famed as much for their turbulent relationships as their chart-topping success returned with a vengeance to prove that great music is more important than who's sleeping with who.

Fleetwood Mac has seen multiple line-ups and musical change since first forming in 1967, but a delighted Manchester crowd were treated to their best-selling Rumours team of Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, missing only the now-retired Christine McVie.

Looking good and sounding even better, the band showed their tumultuous past was behind them as they delivered almost two-and-a-half hours of top songs with perfect chemistry, tremendous energy and above all fun and vigour.

"We don't have a new album to promote… yet," Lindsey Buckingham teasingly told the audience. "So we thought let's go out and have some fun. "We're going to sing the songs we love - and hopefully you do too."

He even made a cheeky reference to the band's inter-relationships by saying: "As you all know, Fleetwood Mac has a complex and convoluted emotional history".

But although the former lovers may no longer share a personal spark, the magic of Stevie and Lindsey's voices blending together in perfect harmony was there in full force.

Everyone seems to be friends again and the pair even shared a tender embrace.

Seventies sex symbol Stevie is still stunning at 60 and is as blonde-haired, mysterious and bewitching as ever and charmed the crowd from the moment she stepped on stage.

Her melodic voice was hypnotic and haunting and had just the right mix of vulnerability and strength to deliver songs like Gypsy, Sara, Landslide and Dreams with true emotion.

Wearing a flowing gypsy-style black dress and black boots, later changing into a ruby red dress with a gold shawl and then even appeared in a top hat as she swayed, waved a tambourine and did her trademark twirls during the music.

Lindsey was a real live wire and his sheer energy and enthusiasm revealed his guitar playing genius and fantastic singing.

His impressive fingerwork during Big Love and scorching riffing during the early blues Fleetwood Mac number Oh Well had fans on their feet to give him a standing ovation.

Since forming, the only thing that hasn't changed in Fleetwood Mac is the rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.

Mick Fleetwood's famed ponytail which was on the Rumours album cover may now be white, but his enthusiasm and entertaining personality hasn't waned at all.

He came across as a real character and wearing drawstring pants and bright red shoes, he played the drums with passion and skill coupled with comical facial expressions and was superb during a drum solo.

In contrast, John McVie was quiet and calm as he played his bass with skill.

With the footstomping Tusk, the singalong Don't Stop, Go Your Own Way, Rhiannon, Say That You Love Me, Gold Dust Woman, World Turning and Silver Springs among the many songs delivered, fans simply could not have been disappointed.

But with such an extensive back catalogue to choose from, tracks such as Seven Wonders, Everywhere and Little Lies weren't there and the band could have played a whole other set of the great songs they didn't do.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac - Manchester "Mystery-and-Magic isn't merely an act for Stevie Nicks"

Fleetwood Mac, MEN Arena, Manchester
Reviewed by Simon Price
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Independent on Sunday

If she didn’t mean it, it wouldn’t work. Stephanie Lynn Nicks may have been working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when Fleetwood Mac found her, and cleaning the producer’s toilets to pay for her first record, but the bucktoothed blonde from Phoenix never stopped imagining herself as a Welsh witch goddess.

Thirty-five years on, she hasn’t ceased: swishing about in a bat-winged cape and a diamante half-moon pendant, and bleating about a “ woman taken by the sky”. Mystery-and-magic isn’t merely an act for Stevie. She believes it, and bless her to bits for that.
If Stevie on a British stage is what really sends the hackles tingling for the faithful, then it’s only in the context of a truly stunning Fleetwood Mac concert. Her foil and sometime lover Lindsey Buckingham, spindlylegged and still offensively handsome, is a fast-fingertipped phenomenon on guitar. His solo spots for “ Big Love” and “ Oh Well” are breathtaking; the title track of his 1979 folly Tusk is so berserk you can almost taste the Hollywood A-grade in your septum.

Together, they conjure such an electricity that the rhythm section John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, whose British blues band was transformed by the BuckinghamNicks takeover in 1974, can only stand and watch. “ I think I had met my match,” she sings in the sublime “ Sara”, and she looks at him with lazy eyes. He catches the glance, and bites his lip. As the song ends, they waltz and he kisses her hair. It must drive their current partners insane. Because it sure as hell sends a shiver through everyone else.

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac Live in Manchester "These Old Mac's Need a Makeover"

The Mail on Sunday Section 2
November 1, 2009
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac - Manchester, UK October 27, 2009

at MEN Arena 27/10/09
It's a funny thing about Fleetwood Mac, when I hear them I'm instantly transported to a fantasy 1970s that most likely never even existed and it's all what I imagine it was like based on stuff I've seen on TV. I'm pretty sure I'm to young to actually remember Rumours when it was originally released, so just why it has such an effect is beyond me. But I like it.

I'm not a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, and I'd never seen them live before but when I heard they were touring again I decided to get myself some tickets and check it out. The current line up is the same as the Rumours line up, but sadly minus Christine McVie and they're not promoting any new material so I knew it would basically be a greatest hits package, which suited me.

Continue to The Morningstar for the full review/pictures

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac Live in Manchester "The Guardian"

Fleetwood Mac Live 
Manchester Arena - October 27, 2009
By Dave Simpson

"This band have a complex emotional history," begins guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, hinting at Fleetwood Mac's rollercoaster of bedhopping, cocaine, mental illness and religious cults, which is almost as famous as their music. While the antics (and some members) have been lost to the years, the music, particularly 1977's mega-selling Rumours, still defines AOR cool and inspires current acts, not least Bat for Lashes.

Without a new album to promote, the Mac are choosing songs for "fun": nothing from 2003's underwhelming Say You Will, but rather a fantasy setlist from their ravishing back catalogue. After a tumultuous The Chain, a hallucinatory Dreams and a wistful Gypsy, the band charge into Rhiannon, Sara and a drumming-led Tusk. It feels like seeing off an army only to face bigger cannons coming over the hill.

The songs don't sound exactly as they did. With leather-jacketed Buckingham – the band's Clash fan – seemingly on a mission to prove the band remain relevant, the AOR sheen has been stripped away to reveal the emotional turmoil and even anger that inspired them. The delicate counterpoint is the ethereal Stevie Nicks, whose dulcet tones cast a spell. The hug between her and lost-love Buckingham might be scripted, but it nonetheless seems as poignant as Landslide's lyrics about "getting older".

In two and a half hours, there isn't a dull moment. Highlights are a dark Gold Dust Woman and a Buckingham guitar rampage, delivered to a standing ovation. Fans of the Mac's 1960s blues-rock incarnation are sent into raptures when the band pile into Oh Well, so electrifying it could power a small town. As an exultant Mick Fleetwood puts it: "The Mac are back!"

REVIEW and PHOTOS: Fleetwood Mac Live in Manchester, UK

MANCHESTER, UK - October 27, 2009
Photos by: SimonN