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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fleetwood Mac fan takes reviewer to task

Fleetwood Mac fan takes reviewer to task
By Sarah Rowland

You get Sarah Rowland to take the music section to a Fleetwood Mac fan club meeting, and we reward you with a Payback Time T-shirt, two recently released major-label CDs, and two tickets to a Live Nation club show taking place in Vancouver within the next four weeks. Here’s this week’s winning whine.

Dear Payback Time: I’m not sure in which universe our rock heroes don’t grow older (perhaps Mick Jagger’s), but as Fleetwood Mac so clearly demonstrated to anyone paying attention, age is just a number. For God’s sake, Mick Fleetwood could be my grandfather, and he still plays with the crazed intensity of Animal from The Muppet Show. From Mick’s flawless 10-minute drum solo to John McVie’s solid and unwavering bass lines, and, most pronounced Lindsey Buckingham’s epic and transcendent manipulation of his guitar, the band proved that no amount of cocaine or internal drama could deaden its capabilities as a masterful live rock band. Stevie Nicks may have been the weakest link that night, but when one of the greatest voices in rock ’n’ roll isn’t at the top of her game, she’s still an absolute treasure to listen to.

If Sarah Rowland honestly watched that performance and still thinks it’s time for Fleetwood Mac to pack it in, her standards must be unreasonably high. I take pity on any band she reviews that doesn’t happen to be in the upper echelon of rock history—so 90 percent of all future reviews?

> Terry Stewart

Sarah Rowland replies: Dearest Terry—I guess one woman’s solid, unwavering bassist is another woman’s sad pile of antisocial shit. John McVie stepped up for 15 bars of “The Chain” and then went back to goal-sucking in a darkened nook by Mick Fleetwood’s drum kit for almost the entire night.

And funny you should bring up Mick Jagger. Say what you want about the Stones miser, but at least when he gouges fans with ticket prices, he has the decency to kick up his cardio routine before hitting the road. Oh sure, we have to endure watching the former rock ’n’ roll sex symbol prance around in those ugly white tennis shoes that Gramps likes to wear on special occasions, but at least he makes an effort to move his Mr. Burns butt on-stage. And if the Boss were to come back and siphon money from his blue-collar fan base during a recession, you can bet he’d only do it with a fully functioning voice. And I’m sure that even Sting, tantric sex–loving new-age ponce that he is, mentally prepares for the rigours of the road by working extra hard on his Downward Dog.

All this, just so you don’t have to wear nostalgic blinders for the entire concert. So, you see, it is possible for aging classic-rock stars to exploit reunion cash grabs, suck you dry for all you’re worth, and still make an effort come showtime.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Fleetwood Mac At GM Place
Friday, May 15th
By Sarah Rowland
If ever there was a mutual effort in denial, it would be the classic rock, cash-grab reunion tour. Embittered bandmates pretend to put their differences aside for the “love of the music”. And in exchange, hard-core fans shell out hundreds of dollars and convince themselves their idols’ coke-ravaged voices can still deliver the goods.

This was pretty much the case at the packed Fleetwood Mac show on Friday. If it weren’t for Lindsey Buckingham’s superlative guitar playing, the concert would have been a total washout. The reason? Well let’s say that, to put things charitably, the voices of Buckingham and Stevie Nicks seemed a little fried, to say the least.

As a result, almost every song was a total tease. The intros to the classics were strong and instantly recognizable, but as soon as the ’70s survivors started singing, it became painfully obvious the sweet blow-fuelled harmonies of yesteryear are long gone.

Maybe Buckingham and Nicks just needed a big fat rail for old times’ sake to loosen up the ol’ vocal chords, or maybe they needed former bandmate and “Songbird” songstress Christine McVie to pick up the slack. But then again, maybe her sagging vocal cords are shot to hell as well.

I’m not sure if the way the four remaining Fleetwood Mac members were positioned on the stage was meant to compensate for McVie’s absence. For whatever reason, Buckingham and Nicks were so far apart, they had to use a split screen in order to fit both of them in the same JumboTron shot. And they weren’t even in the same time zone during the predictable spotlight moments.

In fact, the former lovers didn’t really connect until about halfway into the show during “Sara”, when Nicks awkwardly reached her hands out to Buckingham and he leaned his head on her heavily padded shoulder. But their hips and chests still weren’t touching, so it looked more like two grade eights slow dancing rather than a couple of old friends warmly embracing.

Performance-wise, the highlight of the show was the always-beautiful, pared-down “Landslide.” Nicks has this acoustically led ballad down to a T and the bonus is that it didn’t require much energy, which was good because it didn’t look as though the, um, full-figured singer had a lot to spare. Her eyes were at half-mast almost the entire show. Too much NeoCitran? Bad plastic surgery? Who knows. But I got sleepy just looking at her.

And it wasn’t just her lids that looked heavy. I couldn’t see what kind of shoes Nicks was wearing, but they seemed to be weighing down her feet like cement blocks. So instead of looking like an ethereal and majestical Gypsy in her black-lace finery as she attempted to twirl across the stage (her one big dance move of the night), the ultimate goddess of rock ‘n’ roll excess” looked more like a well-fed Wiccan lumbering around the Maypole in a Beltane fertility ritual.

It was kind of sad. But hey, the first 20 or so rows seemed to be enjoying it.

Other standouts included “Big Love”, in which Buckingham unleashed a wicked acoustic guitar solo. Later, Buckingham got his blues on with “Oh Well”, a Fleetwood Mac song that was written before he and Nicks joined the band.

After burning through 20-plus hits, they left us with “Don’t Stop”, an ironic choice considering it might be time for these classic-rock dinosaurs to do just that.


It's No RumourUpdated: Sat May. 16 2009 13:14:36
Darcy Wintonyk,
They may not be able to hit all the high notes anymore, but Fleetwood Mac can still bring a crowd to their feet.

The legendary rockers performed to a sold-out crowd Friday at Vancouver's GM Place as part of their 44-stop "Unleashed" North American tour.

Though the tour provides no new musical material, it certainly is a momentous occasion for fans, many of whom have followed the group for more than 40 years.

Performing mostly hits from the mid-1970s, their most commercially successful period, the rockers delivered a solid and entertaining performance, guiding fans through favourites like Dreams, Go Your Own Way, Don't stop and Gypsy.

Singer Stevie Nicks donned her famous shawls and capes, a signature in her live performances: Black for Rhiannon, red for Landslide and gold for, of course, Gold Dust Woman.

Taking a break between songs, a noticeably tanned and trim Lindsey Buckingham described the band's six-year hiatus from touring.

"We take breaks, sometimes more breaks," he said. "When we went out this time around we just said 'lets just go out there and have fun.'"

But while there is no doubt the band is excited about performing on stage, there was little chemistry between them. Interaction between members was almost nonexistent, save for one awkward occasion when Nicks' cradled Buckingham's coiffed head in her shoulder while walking off stage after a song.

Despite this, the current inception of the band must seem like a cakewalk for English rockers Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, who founded the band and have led it through its troubled history.

Member turnover has plagued the group since its inception in 1967, but the addition of American singer-songwriters and longtime lovers Buckingham and Nicks made things difficult.

Their addition helped propel the band into superstardom, but also threw them into conflict.

The end of Nicks' and Buckingham's longstanding affair threatened to break up the band in the mid-70s, as did the divorce of singer Christine McVie and husband John.

Thankfully, the problems provided rich fodder for Rumors, the band's most commercially successful album -- with more than 25 million albums sold.

And then there's the other band members.

Founding guitarist Peter Green quit the band in 1970 to follow his ascetic religious beliefs, soon after an onset of schizophrenia said to be brought on by LSD abuse. Replacement guitarist Jeremy Spencer disappeared in Los Angeles while on tour in 1971 and turned up as a member of a religious cult, Children of God (ironically, also the title of a later Spencer solo project).

Vocalist Christine McVie retired from the band in 1998, but didn't leave music altogether. She released a solo album in 2004, to moderate success.

Friday's Vancouver show is one of only seven Canadian dates on the tour, which kicked off in Pittsburgh March 1.

Fans were eagerly awaiting news the band would indeed play in B.C. after Tuesday's Calgary show was cancelled because of an "undisclosed illness," rumoured to be Nicks.

The band will now travel to Washington State for a Saturday show, to be followed by six more dates before the tour concludes May 31 in San Diego.


By Tom Harrison

Who: Fleetwood Mac
When: May 15, Friday
Where: GM Place
Grade: B+

Fleetwood Mac is using this tour, Fleetwood Mac Unleashed, to survey its own legacy since the mid '70s.

So let's do the same.

In one of the many improbabilities of a long career, Rumours was the best LP of 1977 — or it was the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks?

Rumours arrived with a continuing soap opera and a wealth of hit singles. Bollocks, on the other hand, glued the Sex Pistols in a time. Rumours was the very thing Bollocks was against, but if over time Bollocks can be appreciated for some good rock 'n' roll, Rumours' songs have each taken on a special meaning and the album has come to symbolize survival.

Mick Fleetwood and his fellow co-founder, John McVie, knew how to roll with the punches and their new recruits, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, took note.

Now, between Nicks and Buckingham, they have made their own lore.

This tour celebrates that lore. Apart from two video screens, a few swirling scrims and six additional singers or musicians, the four have mounted a simple production in which the songs are the real stars.

There are 23 of them in all in a two-and-a-half-hour show. Of these, only one, "Oh Well," harks to the old Fleetwood Mac and only two come from the solo careers of Buckingham or Nicks.

Fleetwood is an animated eccentric, McVie the anchor, Nicks still the sensitive waif, Buckingham a stage-stalking guitar hero.

Some of the songs are bigger stars than others. "Rhiannon," for instance, got the first loud applause. But Nicks' "Sara" was watery and didn't have the same impact.

Buckingham's solo "Big Love" stood out for his urgent playing, but his "Go Insane" wasn't as well known or as well received.

"Go Your Own Way" and "I'm So Afraid" burned with intensity. Nicks' "Gold Dust Woman" was steeped in mood. Over the years, the four original members of the longest-lasting edition of Fleetwood Mac now have intuitive understanding of themselves and their songs.

She may be retired from the band now, but Christine McVie wrote "Don't Stop."

It seems too late now.


Fleetwood Mac concert recalls a golden age of mega-bands

Fleetwood Mac - Photo Gallery

VANCOUVER - As has been noted countless times since Fleetwood Mac announced their intention to head back out on the road in 2009, Fleetwood Mac: Unleashed is the first tour the band have done without a record to promote. Call it a greatest hits tour, if you must, but the remaining members of the group — Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, and the man who started it all, Mick Fleetwood — have been on record as saying they’ll play what they please.

From the opening salvo of Monday Morning as the group hit the GM Place stage Friday night, it was clear that the songs this incarnation of the group prefer are the ones that they wrote themselves. That Morning kicked off the set was likely no accident – the track opened Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled album (a.k.a. The White Album), the first marking the appearance of Buckingham and Nicks. Yes, the evening would draw on the “mega-band” era of the Mac, absent the songs of Miss Christine McVie, who for reasons known only to her still hasn’t come back to the fold.

Morning was followed up by The Chain, laying waste to any doubt that the group would stray too far from their musical explorations at the top of the charts.

In short order, Nicks announced “Let’s get this party started!” before segueing into a somewhat anti-climactically loping version of Dreams. From the rasp in her already somewhat bleating voice, it was clear that Nicks is not yet fully recovered from the illness that caused the group to postpone its Calgary and Edmonton dates earlier last week. Though Nicks was clearly doing her best to “unleash the furies” as she’s so often been quoted as saying, the back-up singers did most of the heavy lifting, and the black-clad icon stayed well clear of the high notes.

While everyone in attendance expected the best of Fleetwood Mac, it was a little more surprising that the set took some time to highlight songs written outside the group. Buckingham, clad in a leather jacket and a deep v-neck that revealed a leathery California tan, delivered a cracking version of the title track from 1984’s Go Insane, while Nicks disappeared off stage, perhaps to light more incense or have a drink of throat coat.

The tambourine-wielding witchy woman was back in short order for Rhiannon, with Nicks again backing off the high notes. There's a reason this song is impossibly difficult to sing at karaoke, and anyone who ever clammed the high-notes on the chorus while singing along must have been slightly pleased to see Nicks staying in the lower ranges.

As much as the songwriters Nicks and Buckingham were the main attraction (this was made explicit with the pair shown split-screen on the Jumbotron nearly the entire show), McVie and Fleetwood, the group’s namesakes, are still as solid as ever. McVie stood stoically in place on stage, seemingly still clad in his –Rumours-era costume, and Fleetwood shone on the unbeatably catchy Tusk, the first song of the night that seemed to ignite the crowd of boomers.

For those in the crowd who didn’t get to see late‘70s line-up of Fleetwood Mac in their original glory, and know the band only through the pilfered record collections of parents and older siblings, there where a few moments when fidelity wasn’t exactly as hoped. Never Going Back Again. Buckingham’s lilting gem from Rumours started out a slow-ed down acoustic whisper, but, by the end, as the grey-haired tenor belted into the microphone, it brought to mind, again, slightly inebriated karaoke.

What still sticks out the most, however, is absence of Christine McVie. While the balladeering pianist has been gone for over ten years, her absence still made itself known: So Afraid and the monster rock jam of Oh Well drew the male majority of the group into sharp relief, and Say You Will, in particular, seemed patchy without McVie’s posh soprano and bouncy keys. A group of professionals to be sure, the four remaining quickly followed up with Gold Dust Woman a dyed-in-the-wool Stevie Nicks original — the kind that could almost make an audience ask "Christine who?"

To that end, by the time a top-hat clad Nicks and a pogo-ing Buckingham led the crowd through a sing-along of Go Your Own Way, it mattered not that the group showed a few bumps and bruises after 30 plus years. The songs themselves — always the raison d'ĂȘtre of Fleetwood Mac through its many members and four decades — are still fresh and phenomenally catchy, and, if a gleefully dancing house at GM Place was anything got go by, something much greater than the band itself.

As a final note, that Mick Fleetwood took a seven-minute drum solo in the middle of encore World Turning, was a bit of magic. After starting the band in ’67 and overseeing the comings and goings of some 17 members, the 61-year-old band leader certainly deserves to bang his epic kit for as long as he pleases. That it was enjoyable to listen to was merely a bonus, that he looked happiest when introducing the talent around him – backup singers and stars both — is perhaps the magic ingredient that has kept the group a draw for so many years.


Fleetwood Mac

GM Place Vancouver May 15, 2009
Nicks brightens up sombre Fleetwood Mac show
Globe and Mail

Things started out a little flat for Fleetwood Mac at GM Place Friday night. The band had cancelled concerts earlier in the week in both Calgary and Edmonton, due to sickness, with unconfirmed media reports suggesting it was Stevie Nicks who was suffering.

Certainly the 60-year-old singer appeared a tad fragile onstage, moving rather gingerly and avoiding the high notes on "Dreams" completely. Not that the enthusiastic crowd seemed to mind — their combined voices made sure the lyrics rang out loud and clear.

If Nicks was under-the-weather, she still brightened up proceedings — a fact made abundantly obvious whenever she headed to the wings to let Lindsey Buckingham have his songs in the spotlight. Somehow we made it through a dreary rendition of "Go Insane" from his solo album, most notable for a thunderous roar of reverb that rattled the stadium's stands. He fairly screamed an acoustic version of "Big Love," beating his guitar into submission, determined to prove he's still a rock star — V-neck and medallion notwithstanding. He positively mangled "Never Going Back Again," turning it into something a drunk uncle might embarrass himself with at a family wedding. Though she was there, Nicks couldn't help him out on that one.

Neither could the pair invoke the spirit or sound of Christine McVie when they ventured into her traditional territory briefly with "Say You Love Me."

Other McVie classics were noticeably absent, but it's hard to imagine the likes of "Songbird" or "You Make Loving Fun" without her anyway. Quite what it would have been like had Sheryl Crow been part of the combo (an early possibility when the tour was being planned) plain boggles the mind.

With a couple of costume changes during a two-hour set, Nicks showed she hasn't relinquished her hippie roots. Bedecked in scarves and fringes, she played with silver chains draped around the microphone stand. For "Gold Dust Woman" she was wrapped in a gold shawl; on "Go Your Own Way" she sported a black top hat.

There was little personal interaction between the band — perhaps to be expected given their tumultuous history — save for an obviously orchestrated lean into each other by Nicks and Buckingham at the closing bars of "Sara." For their parts, Mick Fleetwood bounced around the drums gamely, while bass player John McVie spent the night at the back of the stage in the shadows. In contrast, Buckingham, was in his element, his ego unbridled as he practically climbed into the front row, encouraging them to touch him and his guitar.

But for all the Brit guitarist's pumped-up adrenaline, the show at times felt weirdly sombre. Their best work behind them, there was an air of desperation about this presumably lucrative endeavour. In the end, Fleetwood's bonkers, blissed-out extended drum solo — complete with whoops and howls — on encore track "World Turning" was the most authentic moment of the night. And with it, he more than earned his cut.