Saturday, December 08, 2018

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in Sacramento November 23, 2018

Live Review: Fleetwood Mac 4.0 Descends on Sacramento The band seem happier on stage together than they have in years, and there's a reason.

by Joshua B. Porter
The Good Men Project
Photo: by Serena Marini - More Photos Here

I have a confession to make: I have a bit of a crush on Stevie Nicks. My lovely wife tolerates this, as long as I’m a few thousand people back while in the same room with Ms. Nicks.

So it was with a bit of excitement that Fleetwood Mac descended on the new(er) Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA on November 23rd, 2018 to perform a sold-out show to celebrate their 50th anniversary as a band. Never immune to drama, the missing member of the band added a bit more for their golden anniversary.

To say in those five decades that there has been a bit of turbulence in the line up would be an understatement. Onl
y two of the original members – namesakes Mick Fleetwood and John McVie – remain from the original band that released their self-titled bluesy first album in 1968. That original lineup with Peter Green on guitar and vocals, produced hits such as 1968’s “Black Magic Woman” (later covered by Santana) and “Oh, Well” (1969). Green left the band in 1970.

The version of Fleetwood Mac that the layman would know didn’t come into existence until 1974; when, after nine previous albums, the band added the talents of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks after Mick Fleetwood heard a demo of a track off their “Buckingham Nicks” (1973) album. The pair officially joined Fleetwood Mac on New Years eve, 1974.

Declaring this incarnation of the band “successful” would be an understatement. Recording mega-hits such as “Gypsy,” “Dreams,” “Say You Love Me,” as well as ,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Go Your Own Way”  and “The Chain” propelled them to one of the best selling bands of all time. Their second album with Nicks and Buckingham, 1977’s “Rumours,” is the eighth best selling album of all time with over 40 million copies sold worldwide.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in San Jose, CA 11/21/18 highlights its history in hit-studded concert

Revamped Fleetwood Mac highlights its history in hit-studded San Jose concert
Warren Pederson - San Fransico Chronicle
Photos: Jim Gensheimer

Fleetwood Mac paid tribute to its varied incarnations at San Jose’s SAP Center on Wednesday, Nov. 21, and despite a few surprising flubs, the storied rockers commanded the crowd as if they never broke the chain.

The band, which survived five decades of shifts in sound, personnel and personalities, performed an almost 2½-hour set rich in the soft-rock standards that defined its commercial peak in the 1970s and ’80s, as well as blues tunes from its formative years and a few obscurities, during its 50th anniversary tour stop.

It was a set that regardless of which Fleetwood Mac era fans came to see, hit every note. The show may not have won over those who miss singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, recently replaced in a move that divided classic rock lovers, but the tour that is likely to please longtime followers planning to catch Fleetwood Mac when the band plays Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center on Friday, Nov. 23, and Oakland’s Oracle Arena on Sunday, Nov. 25.

The San Jose concert was particularly special for singer Stevie Nicks, who turned 70 this year but hasn’t ditched her shawls or heels. A homecoming of sorts, Nicks took several moments to give the South Bay city a proper shout-out. Born in Phoenix, she attended San Jose State University and made some of her first recordings in the Bay Area.

“It’s pretty darn good to be back in my own specific and very special hood,” she said. “This is where it all started, and I had to take a minute to let you know that.”

Nicks, who has done decades of shows worldwide with the band as well as solo, said she was a bit nervous to be back in the Bay Area and even forgot the lyrics at one point to “Landslide.” Whether it was nerves or overfamiliarity with one of her most popular songs with the band, it was an odd moment from a normally polished singer.

“What’s happening? … I’ve lost the key,” Nicks admitted in the midst the song, which she dedicated to longtime friends (including one who used to drive her to the College of San Mateo for “two solid years, back and forth”).

“This is my home, so I can do this,” she laughed off. “Seriously, I’m so nervous I’m never coming back here!

“I’m kidding. I will always come back,” she assured the crowd. “This is when you know, after 70 years, that you still get this nervous when you sing a song for people that you love.”

With longtime singer-guitarist Buckingham fired amid reports of major bad blood with Nicks, his former lover he met when the two attended Menlo-Atherton High School, the band has been touring with Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty’s band, the Heartbreakers. Though neither had the manic magic that made Buckingham unstoppable onstage, they provided competent interpretations of Buckingham’s standards, with Finn handling the lead vocal in “Second Hand News” and “Monday Morning,” and Campbell tackling the frenetic guitar leads on “The Chain” and “Go Your Own Way.”

The band did a deep dive into its blues catalog, with Nicks providing a feminist spin singing “Black Magic Woman,” a haunting psychedelic gem later popularized by Santana; Finn dusting off “Tell Me All the Things You Do,” a melodic nugget from Danny Kirwan, a Fleetwood Mac member from 1968 to 1972 who died this year; and Campbell taking the spotlight on “Oh Well,” a powerful hard rock hybrid.

Nicks, even more of a focal point for the band with Buckingham out of the picture, gave the crowd what it wanted with “Dreams,” “Rhiannon” and “Gypsy.” She paid tribute to Petty, her frequent collaborator who died last year, with a spirited version of “Free Fallin’” featuring projected images of the two together and Petty with the Heartbreakers over the years.

Finn, whose solo career hasn’t received the attention it deserves after he created moody, melodic pop with Crowded House and Split Enz, took a deserved spotlight with a cover of “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” It was an unusual choice for a Fleetwood Mac concert, but it was well received — especially when Nicks joined in on the chorus.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood, still a solid player at 71 and is probably the member who’s worked harder than everyone to keep Fleetwood Mac together over the years, did his standard wild-man solo. Bassist John McVie kept his usual low profile but provided a solid foundation for the band. And keyboardist Christine McVie, who rejoined the band in 2014 after a lengthy semi-retirement, proved to be a grounding force with her smoky vocals on the mid-tempo staples “Little Lies,” “Isn’t It Midnight” and ”Everywhere.” She closed the evening with a duet with Nicks for the band’s third encore song, “All Over Again.” (The deep cut is off the band’s poorly received 1995 “Time” album and is a song that only Fleetwood Mac’s die-hard fans remember — if at all.)

McVie’s collaboration with Buckingham last year on an album of new material was such a pleasant surprise that it’s disappointing to know that Fleetwood Mac has no intentions of recording new songs again. That could take the sting away for Buckingham fans who resent hearing the new guys covering songs he made famous. But as long as some form of Fleetwood Mac remains intact covering the band’s classic catalog, this incarnation passes the test.

San Francisco Chronicle senior digital arts editor Mariecar Mendoza contributed to this story.

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in San Jose, CA Nov 21, 2018 flops without Lindsey Buckingham

Review: Fleetwood Mac flops without Lindsey Buckingham on board
Jim Harrington - Mercury News
Photos: LiPo Ching

Fleetwood Mac showed up and played music at the SAP Center in San Jose on Nov. 21.

The band’s performance was professional, mostly well organized and started in a timely fashion.

It wasn’t an entirely bad way to spend a Wednesday night.


But you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not sounding too enthusiastic about the concert. It’s just that, for the entire evening, it was nearly impossible to shake the feeling that something — or, more accurately, someone — was missing.

And that someone was, of course, Lindsey Buckingham.

The group dismissed its incredibly talented singer-songwriter-guitarist back in April, sending shockwaves through the classic rock world and resulting in a big lawsuit between Buckingham and the band. Of course, Fleetwood Mac has long been one of rock’s all-time great soap operas, but few outside the band saw this coming.

The split ostensibly had something to do with the band’s touring schedule, with the big sticking point reportedly being over when the trek was to begin. Although, Buckingham told Rolling Stone that his former band mate — and former love interest — Stevie Nicks wanted him out of the band, going so far as to have Fleetwood Mac manager Irving Azoff deliver the message that “Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again.”

So, the band quickly enlisted not one, but two replacement guitarists — Neil Finn of Crowded House fame and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers — and announced a major tour.

The loss of Buckingham didn’t stop the public from snatching up ducats. The San Jose show was dubbed a sell out, while big crowds are expected for the band’s two upcoming shows in Northern California — Nov. 23 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento and Nov. 25 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. (Tickets, priced $69.50-$299.50, are still available for those two shows at Shows start at 8 p.m.)

The fans seemed pretty excited about the evening as they entered the SAP Center, forming long lines at the merchandise booths to purchase $15 Fleetwood Mac bottle openers, $20 Fleetwood Mac mugs, $15 Fleetwood Mac shot glasses and an assortment of $40 Fleetwood Mac T-shirts. There was, however, no truth to the rumor that the band might be selling “Lindsey Buckingham is a big jerk” hoodies.

The fans were still going strong as the group — featuring vocalist Nicks, drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, vocalist-keyboardist Christine McVie and new members Campbell and Finn — took the stage and kicked off the show with a rousing version of “The Chain,” from the 1977 blockbuster “Rumours.”

Yet, it wouldn’t last and the enthusiasm — from the band and especially its fans — quickly began to wane.

You see, it’s not always enough to simply try and replace talent with talent. If it was just pure guitar chops then the new Fleetwood Mac — with Campbell on board — wouldn’t miss Buckingham all that much. If it was just a fine singing voice then the new Fleetwood Mac — with Finn signed on — would be just fine.

But Buckingham also brought hard-to-quantify intangibles to the band. He delivered the passion and power, brought the heart and soul, and was able to lift the entire show to a higher level. He also shared unbelievable love/hate chemistry with Nicks — a dynamic that helped make Fleetwood Mac more than just a tired nostalgia act.

Yet, the group was sounding pretty tired on this night, as it delivered clean, capable and barely compelling versions of such fan favorites as “Dreams,” “Second Hand News” and “Say You Love Me.”

The two newcomers did help out quite a bit, though.

Campbell’s guitar leads were typically on point throughout the night and he did an admirable job on the microphone during “Oh Well,” a 1969 single from what’s commonly referred to as the Peter Green-era of Fleetwood Mac. He’d also heavily factor in during the encore, as the band covered Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” with Nicks on vocals.

Finn was part of the best moment of the night, as he sang a lovely duet with Nicks on the Crowded House nugget “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”

“It’s in the top five best-written songs in the history of songs,” Nicks commented at its conclusion.

Overall, Nicks didn’t have a great night. The former Bay Area resident, who attended San Jose State University, kept saying how nervous she was to be back home — and she’d prove it by forgetting the lyrics and losing the key on “Landslide.”

“I think that has never happened before — ever,” she said.

One thing that hasn’t changed in Buckingham’s absence is that Mick Fleetwood’s lengthy, obnoxious drum solo is still a complete waste of time and space. It goes nowhere. But it still takes forever to get there.

As the band wrapped the main set up with the dependable crowd pleaser “Go Your Own Way,” I couldn’t help but linger on the feeling that the whole thing would’ve been so much better with Buckingham in the mix.

Sure, without Buckingham, the group has proven that it can still be popular, still sell out an arena, still get people to spend $15 on a bottle opener.

But, without Buckingham, the group might never be truly great again.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

PHOTOS: Fleetwood Mac Live in Tacoma, WA November 17, 2018

Fleetwood Mac Live in Tacoma
Photos by Tacoma Weekly

REVIEW Lindsey Buckingham Ann Arbor November 17, 2018

Lindsey Buckingham Goes His Own Way, Revisits Fleetwood Mac On Stage In Ann Arbor
by Jim Ryan
Photo Philamonjaro Studio

2018 was a year featuring highs and lows for Lindsey Buckingham.

While word didn’t start to trickle out publicly until April, Buckingham was fired from Fleetwood Mac in January, making his performance with the group on January 26th at a MusiCares benefit his final one. It marks his second departure from the group he joined in 1975 following a sabbatical from 1987 to 1997.

On October 5th, Rhino released Buckingham’s first ever Solo Anthology, featuring material from all six of his solo studio albums, plus a pair of unreleased tracks and one cut from his 2017 album with Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie.

But not even a week removed from that release, it was reported Buckingham was suing his former band for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract and more.

One of the issues reportedly at the center of the acrimonious split was his desire to book solo shows on off nights of the Fleetwood Mac arena tour.

Buckingham brought that solo tour, what he’s often dubbed “the small machine,” to Ann Arbor at the Michigan Theatre, where he was backed by a four-piece band Saturday night.

“We are here for… a couple of reasons,” said Buckingham on stage Saturday, tongue-in-cheek, addressing the crowd with a pause for emphasis near the start of the show. “The important one is that Warner Brothers has put out an anthology of my solo work. The whole process of curating it was a catharsis. In celebrating this package, we get to celebrate some material that has never been performed on stage,” he said, before heading into “Surrender the Rain,” from his 1992 album Out of the Cradle.

From his 1981 solo debut, “Trouble” provided a terrific example of just how great Buckingham’s deliberate finger picking remains as he headed toward a full band take of “I Must Go,” featuring wonderful backing vocals from both his bassist and keyboard player.

Buckingham remains in terrific voice and “Street of Dreams” was an early highlight Saturday in Michigan as he moved to the acoustic-electric for a solo take on the track in the theater setting.

“We are making a new start,” said the guitarist in another general nod to his Fleetwood Mac departure, both a situation and band that, amidst litigation, he’d never directly reference. “It’s very important to have you here at the beginning of something new. We have lots more down the line,” he continued, addressing his future obliquely.

Those words acted as Buckingham’s introduction to a solo rendition of “Shut Us Down.” But “Oh you and I we sure can dream / of conversations that might have been,” are the lyrics that actually begin the song. For Buckingham, who claims he was never given a reason for his Fleetwood Mac firing by any of his bandmates, despite inquiries, the placement of that song, at that particular point in the set, following said introduction, was probably not coincidental.

It was a point further driven home with a solo take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” immediately following.

At that point, the show began to hit its stride. Buckingham’s band is tight but the best moments Saturday in Michigan were those which placed the greatest emphasis on his delicate playing and introspective lyrics in a far more intimate setting than Fleetwood Mac fans are generally accustomed.

While he may have never directly addressed his former band, he had no problem diving into that catalog, as the solo portion of the show continued with his stunning take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Big Love.”

From 1987’s Tango in the Night, the song’s glossy production on that record hasn’t aged well. But treated as the Buckingham solo spectacle that it often was during Fleetwood Mac tours, “Big Love” was every bit as engaging in a small theater as it was many nights in an arena, with Buckingham’s classical picking of the acoustic guitar stealing the show Saturday night in Ann Arbor.

As the band made its way back to the stage, Buckingham appeared not just energized but comfortable, interacting with his keyboard/acoustic guitar player during “Slow Dancing” and jovially messing around with his bassist.

But the biggest smiles were saved for a seasonally appropriate rendition of “Holiday Road,” the solo Buckingham cut most well-known for its placement in the 1983 Chevy Chase film National Lampoon’s Vacation and subsequent sequels. The guitarist laughed and kicked throughout, drawing the crowd to its feet, as the show headed for the close of the main set with rollicking takes on Fleetwood Mac classics like “Tusk” and “Go Your Own Way.”

“Thank you so much,” said Lindsey Buckingham Saturday in Michigan. “We’re making a new album next year and we’ll be back. We love you all so much for being a part of this so early on,” he continued, making the most of his unexpected new chapter.

Kenyan singer songwriter J.S. Ondara opened the show with a rousing, self-deprecating, solo acoustic set Saturday night.

“If I play something and you recognize it, just stop me,” he joked, referencing the upcoming February 1 release of his debut solo album Tales of America. “When the record comes out, I’m gonna come back and quiz you,” he continued.

Songs like “My Heart is Never on Time” and closer “Saying Goodbye” set the stage beautifully Saturday in Ann Arbor not just for a headlining set by Lindsey Buckingham but for Ondara’s new record as well.

“If you’re concerned that this next song is going to be sad, it’s ok because the next show is a rock show,” observed Ondara. “It’s a nice lyrical contrast.”

Sunday, November 18, 2018

REVIEW Lindsey Buckingham Live in Ann Arbor November 17, 2018

Lindsey Buckingham displays big life after Fleetwood Mac in Ann Arbor
By Gary Graff
The Oakland Press

ANN ARBOR -- One door closed on Lindsey Buckingham this year -- and hit him on the butt on the way out.

Now he's ready to open another one.

That was the message of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's concert Saturday night, Nov. 18, at the Michigan Theater. Fired by Fleetwood Mac earlier in the year, he's responded not only with a lawsuit against the band but a purposeful renewal of his solo career, including a compilation of what's come before, and promises of much more to come. "You are here at the beginning of something new," Buckingham told the Ann Arbor crowd mid-show. "We have lots more down the line...We're looking forward to having time to do all that."

Though he played some of the group's material, Buckingham did not mention the turmoil with Fleetwood Mac -- who he spent 42 off-and-on years of multi-platinum success with -- or even the band superficially during the nearly two-hour, 21-song show; The closest he came was while discussing the "Solo Anthology: The Best of Lindsey Buckingham," when he noted that he "likes looking ahead and not behind -- that's certainly served me well this year." But his song choices were clearly statements of purpose, including a solo acoustic pairing of "Shut Us Down" and Mac's "Never Going Back Again."

And he ended the night with the pointed and potent choice of his 2008 solo track "Treason," whose chorus declared, "Deep down there's freedom...We will rise from this treason."

Mostly, however, Buckingham and his tight four-piece band gave every reason to anticipate good things to come from his new path. Saturday's show offered an insightful and, to some, revelatory showcase for the creative inventiveness and even quirkiness that's made him one of the standout pop auteurs of the past four decades. For guitar fans in particular it was a festival of finger-picking dexterity as Buckingham -- in his trademark black jacket, black T-shirt and blue jeans -- simultaneously played leads and rhythms on both acoustic and electric, driving songs such as "Go Insane" and a solo acoustic "Big Love" into frenetic fury. Fleetwood Mac's "I'm So Afraid" was its usual epic discourse, with Buckingham slapping his guitar and mugging for ebullient fans who lined the front of the stage.

And the Mac's "Go Your Own Way" was a soaring, triumphant anthem with an extended solo at the end.

The show also let Buckingham dig deep into his solo catalog for songs he noted were seldom played, including shimmering gems such as "Surrender the Rain," "Not Too Late" and "Soul Drifter," the stomping angst of "Doing What I Can" and the gentle, bluesy "Street of Dreams" and the disco-flavored "Slow Dancing." "Holiday Road" from the "National Lampoon's Vacation" series was a roaring rockabilly set-up for a spirited romp through the Mac's "Tusk," while "Turn It Down" nodded to New Wavey pop.

During his comments Buckingham promised a new album and vowed to "see you again next year." And with Saturday's show he gave every reason to anxiously await both.

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac brings a different kind of drama to Rogers Arena in Vancouver

A revved up, magical, and vital Fleetwood Mac brings a different kind of drama to Rogers Arena in Vancouver
by Janet Smith
Photo: Rogers Arena

Rogers Arena on Wednesday, November 14th.

Drama has always been a part of Fleetwood Mac's mystique—from the romantic rifts that fueled Rumours right up until this year, when long-time singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham departed the band with the usual acrimony before its tour. Was he kicked out, or did he leave voluntarily in a huff? That's bound to be cleared up by the ongoing lawsuit.

But the epic Vancouver tour stop here last night at Rogers Arena was all about the love and good vibes. From the opening kick-drum tick of “The Chain”, it was clear the band was eager to go their own way without Buckingham, adding Crowded House frontman Neil Finn and former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell to the mix. And the crowd—a wild mix of ages, from kids in Rumours T-shirts to moms in their best feathered top hats to old dudes with canes—went gamely along for the ride.

Everyone on-stage was having a complete ball, gleeful drummer Mick Fleetwood smashing away like Animal without the aggro, the hulking timekeeper shown in closeup-cam via projections from multiple angles. As he tore through an insanely extended drum solo in “World Turning”, he repeatedly asked, “Are you ready to release the hounds?” Met with the crowd's screaming “Yes!”, Fleetwood then proceeded to do so on his kit.

It was easy to forget that the hyperenergized 71-year-old helped found the band no less than 50 years ago—as in five freaking decades. At the end of the concert, long after the ovations for fittingly upbeat show closer “Don’t Stop” had died down, Fleetwood took the stage in his jaunty black knickers, red shoes, and scarlet top hat to plead with the crowd heading up the aisles of Rogers Arena to simply "be kind” to one another.

Fleetwood’s manic energy was matched by Stevie Nicks’s Gypsy splendour, the songstress fondling the streamers hanging off her microphone and tambourine as she sang, and wrapping herself in a glimmering gold shawl for showstopper "Gold Dust Woman". Spinning magically in her full black skirt and black-suede platform boots, she looked preternaturally young.

For his part, though he didn’t bring the loaded history Buckingham would have had with the others on-stage, Finn managed a nice balance of achieving the Mac-veteran’s tone while somehow still making the songs his own. He also treated fans who lived through the '80s to his own acoustic Crowded House ballad “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, in a transcendent duet with Nicks—another of the show’s feel-good moments.

Campbell, meanwhile, brought the necessary chops to the guitar work, not to mention gravitas to the encore’s "Free Fallin’", sung by an emotion-drenched Nicks and set against projections of the late Tom Petty.

For die-hard fans, the band dug deep into its vaults, back into the bluesy '60s under original frontman Peter Green. Christine McVie—back in the fold after a 15-year hiatus from the group—held her own on the keyboards, and gave most of the room a new appreciation for the '80s radio hit “Little Lies”.

The biggest highlight of a show that didn't lack them came midway through, and we don’t have to tell you which song it was. Nicks was as bewitching as ever in “Rhiannon”, spreading her black shawl like wings and throwing a spell over the packed arena.

In the process, she brought something magnetically older and wiser to the catharsis that's long been part of Fleetwood Mac's storied run. So, yeah, maybe there was drama after all.


REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in Vancouver November 14, 2018

Fleetwood Mac sprinkles gold dust on a Vancouver evening
Photos by Ryan Johnson
Vancouver Weekly

Fleetwood Mac at Rogers Arena, 11/14/18

After canceling their Alberta shows due to a voice-related illness concerning Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac landed at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena Wednesday night (Nov. 14) with a hit-packed setlist.

Right off the bat, the band opened with one of their greatest songs, “The Chain.” A song that would sum up the drama of the group’s early days, and set the tone for many, many more years of conflict, heartbreak and forgiveness.

Nicks was, in a word, enchanting. But even though she was no-doubt the most popular of the group, each member of the band got to shine in the spotlight.

The biggest news of this tour was that usual singer-songwriter and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham wouldn’t be joining the rest of the band. This is just another chapter in the long-running, career-defining drama-fest that is Fleetwood Mac. But honestly, Buckingham wasn’t missed. Instead of replacing him with session musicians and having the remaining key members of the band get all the attention, the group opted for Crowded House frontman Neil Fynn and, of course, iconic guitarist and former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers member Mike Campbell.

What a pleasure to once again see Campbell on stage. After the passing of Tom Petty last year, it was uncertain when the Heartbreakers guitar legend would shred it in front of a stadium-sized live audience again. The additions of Fynn and Campbell set the tone for ‘An Evening with Fleetwood Mac’—projecting themes of friendship, nostalgia and mastery.

Mick Fleetwood was as energetic, crazy and loud as ever, toying with the audience and bouncing around in his red shoes. Nicks had obviously recovered from her voice issues, because that voice was in fine, pristine form all throughout fan favourites “Rhiannon,” “Landslide,” “Gypsy,” and many, many more. Her biggest performance of the evening would come with “Gold Dust Woman”—for which she donned a glittering gold shawl and contorted, danced and flailed around the stage in true witchy form.

Refreshingly, Fleetwood Mac went back to the original days of the band—before Buckingham and Nicks joined—to offer up some 1960s blues courtesy of original frontman Peter Green. The audience ate it all up happily.

After a 15-year hiatus from Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie was back on vocals and the keyboards. While it was beautiful to see her, and to hear McVie classic like “You Make Loving Fun” and “Everywhere” sung by the original voice, that voice has not quite held up. Not that that isn’t to be expected after so long away from the grind of band life.

Meanwhile, Fynn’s voice more than suited classic Buckingham-centered pieces like “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop.” If audience members were uncertain of who he was, they sure as hell figured it out when he dove into an acoustic version of his mega 80s hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” Nicks eventually joined him, and it was one of the most special moments of the evening.

The first song of the encore was, fittingly, Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” Nicks sang the iconic song as a photo montage of Petty rolled on the big screen. Many of those photos included Campbell and Nicks at various stages of their lives. Nicks’ powerful friendship with Petty—both collaborative and personal—has been one of the most defining relationships of her career. It was extra special to see Campbell—Petty’s right-hand stage mate for so many years—playing along old friend Nicks. In a way, this homage to a classic rock n’ roll figure was one of the more impactful ones seen at Rogers Arena in recent years. There were more than a few tears, and Nicks certainly shed some.

It is lovely to see that Fleetwood Mac is by no means passé. Nicks has certainly entered a point in her career where she is revered by all ages and is very much still in fashion. In fact, just last year she performed a duet with Lana Del Rey for “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems” (on Rey’s Lust for Life album), blowing the minds of millions of ‘good witch’ super-fans all over the world

Wednesday night proved that some bands and some songs just simply last.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Don't Stop: 50 years on, Fleetwood Mac are still rising from the ashes of their own self-destruction

The storied band have found a home for themselves teetering on the brink of implosion – unwilling, or perhaps unable, to let each other go. Their new anniversary album, '50 Years – Don't Stop', could hardly be more aptly titled, writes Alexandra Pollard.

1CD | 3CD | 5LP Versions Available November 16th at Amazon
Affairs, breakups, terrifying brawls between lovers, damage to instruments (and skulls), divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism, rows about money, musical differences, and lots and lots and lots of hit records: Fleetwood Mac might have sounded mellow at times, but off stage they were anything but.

“We’re a group of people who, you could make the argument, don’t belong in the same band together,” Lindsey Buckingham once said of his fractious group. “It’s the synergy of that that makes it work.”

Whether they’ve triumphed because of their famously volatile relationship, or in spite of it, Fleetwood Mac have risen from the ashes of their own self-destruction more times than seemed possible. In the past 50 years, they have found a home for themselves teetering on the brink of implosion – unwilling, or perhaps unable, to let each other go. Their new anniversary album, 50
Years – Don’t Stop, could hardly be more aptly titled.

Not that the current members haven’t tried to stop. Stevie Nicks left the band in 1990 over a dispute with Mick Fleetwood, but rejoined a few years later. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham quit in 1987, just before the band’s world tour, to “get on with the next phase of my creative growth” – only to spearhead a reunion a decade later. When Christine McVie packed the whole thing in 1998, she even went as far as moving to a sleepy village in Kent. “There’s no more chance of [McVie returning],” said Stevie Nicks in 2012, “than an asteroid hitting the earth.” A little over a year later, McVie was back in the band, no asteroid in sight.

Stevie Nicks Empowers Through Her Songs

Rock Hall nominee Stevie Nicks empowers through her songs
By Sue Amari, special to

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The story goes, on a hot summer day in 1970, Janis Joplin shouted off the opening band when its set ran long. Stevie Nicks, that band's diminutive singer would later comment,"Being yelled off the stage by Janis Joplin was one of the greatest honors of my life."

Both women would go on to beat the rock odds and be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, just 14 percent women. When this year's inductees are announced in December, Nicks could become the first woman to be inducted into the Hall twice -- once as a member of Fleetwood Mac, and once as a solo artist.

Joplin and Nicks' stage personas, so indelible, were built on opposite characteristics. On stage Joplin swaggered, overpowered. Along with her aversion to sharing a stage, she rarely shared a microphone. Her string of backup bands was an interchangeable not-as-important. It was always Janis Joplin and a forgettable else.

Nicks found fame in the five-member Fleetwood Mac, whose soap opera backstories became the stuff of rock legend. On stage, she twirled and harmonized. Her songs about gypsies and witches shared space with songs by her guitar-picking ex-lover Lindsey Buckingham, who was also her songs' arranger. At concerts she became ethereal, the feminine yin to his masculine yang.

Critics responded in an odd sort of way. Nicks penned "Dreams," the band's only No. 1 hit, as well as half of Rolling Stone's selections for Fleetwood Mac's top 14 songs and seven of the ten fan-favorites in a Rolling Stone poll. Yet Nicks was routinely critically dismissed as a "ditz," a "bimbo," and a "mooncalf" -- while Buckingham was hailed as the band's creative genius.

Which begs the question: Why was it either/or?

Commenting on critics' tendencies to overvalue Buckingham while dismissing Nicks, writer Amy Mulvihill suggested, "I wish these people would actually listen to her songs."

Early Nicks' lyrics gave a twist to a familiar subject -- the demise of a relationship. In Nicks' songs there is no crying at a party, offering another piece of her heart, or worrying that you'll love her tomorrow. 

Instead, she offers new options, from the flippant, "Well who am I to bring you down?" to the caustic, "Rulers make bad lovers, better put your kingdom up for sale." 

She ruminates, but it never leads to despair. It's just a learning moment, an important step on the road to something else. It was an empowering shift of perspective, done with the lift of a shawl by a perfectly manicured hand.

"Stevie took traditionally feminine characteristics, unabashedly embraced them, and then made them the source of power," songwriter and singer Vanessa Carlton commented.

It's probably no surprise her life mirrors the lyrics. Still performing at 70, her picked-apart love affairs, critic dismissals, addictions and weight ups and downs, never stopped a career that now spans almost 50 years, and includes eight Grammy nominations for her solo work, 28 years of a reverential fan-fest called, "The Night of a Thousand Stevies," and a continued relevance best expressed in a 2014 millennial TED talk that advised a new generation of fans to "just be Stevie."

There is a temptation to call it ironic -- the fact that this diminutive woman draped in shawls and lace could end up so triumphant -- but ironic  would embarrassingly miss the point.

Just listen to her songs.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Fleetwood Mac add a second Wembley date to European Tour and announce that the Pretenders will be opening for them on the Euro dates. 

Tickets for the new show, June 18th, go onsale Friday, November 16th, with the Live Nation presale beginning November 15th, sign up at LIVE NATION

REVIEW Lindsey Buckingham Live in Birmingham, Alabama November 12, 2018

Is Lindsey Buckingham’s solo show a declaration of independence from Fleetwood Mac?
By Mary Colurso
Photos By Joe Songer - View Gallery (27 photos)

Lindsey Buckingham has always been an intriguing artist, an exacting craftsman, a compelling performer … and a guy who likes to be in charge of his destiny.

Plays well with others? Sure, but not always. The history of his most famous band, Fleetwood Mac, is fraught with tensions — both personal and professional — that have been a creative spur for some enduring, and truly wonderful, pop-rock music.

Buckingham comes with baggage, in other words.

It’s interesting baggage, and it doesn’t prevent him from excelling on stage. But longtime fans have to wonder how Buckingham is feeling these days, after his ouster from Fleetwood Mac earlier this year and his exclusion from the band’s 2018-2019 tour. (It comes to Birmingham on Feb. 13.)

We know that Buckingham is suing Fleetwood Mac for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract and more. (An October story by Rolling Stone includes a copy of the legal complaint.) But is he hurt? Angry? Frustrated? Determinedly pushing past the rift to focus on his future?

About 750 people in Birmingham have an inkling, after seeing Buckingham perform with his solo band on Monday at the Lyric Theatre. The singer-guitarist, 69, was large and in charge at this sold-out show, delivering nearly two hours of music with passion and intensity.

Buckingham’s 9 p.m. setlist, 21 songs full, reached into the past, pulled from his hit list and offered listeners a mini-retrospective of his solo career. His work with Fleetwood Mac was part of the mix — ticketholders likely would rebel if Buckingham ignored that — but the primary emphasis was on his very own catalog.

Buckingham’s selections included “Trouble” (a standout on his first solo album, 1981’s “Law and Order”), “Go Insane” (the title track from his 1984 record and a top 40 single) and “Holiday Road” (featured in the 1983 movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation”). The artist also chose lesser-known but equally effective tunes such as “I Must Go,” “Doing What I Can,” “Don’t Look Down,” “Turn it On,” “Down on Rodeo” and “Treason.”

His skills as a guitarist were abundantly on display, via percussive picking and sinewy solos, and Buckingham displayed a certain amount of stage swagger. He became playful during at least one of his interactions with the band — was that a modified duckwalk? — and Buckingham’s voice, although not consistently strong, rang out with clarity and conviction throughout much of the show.

Buckingham’s confidence in front of a crowd is a given. His outsize talent is, too, and it served him well here in 2012, during a one-man show at the Alys Stephens Center. On that occasion, Buckingham came off as stellar but rather severe, keeping himself at a distance from the crowd. This time, though, he seemed to have something to prove: Buckingham tried harder, played longer, talked more, smiled often and made a concerted effort to show his appreciation for the audience.

Although you’d never call him emotionally vulnerable, Buckingham let his reserve melt and he opened up a bit, telling listeners that he was beginning a new chapter with this four-man band. He said it several times, in fact, mentioning an album that’s in the works as part of his “new start."

In this context, some of the songs on Buckingham’s agenda — “Shut Us Down,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Never Going Back Again” — could be interpreted as mission statements, declaring his final independence from Fleetwood Mac and his resolution to thrive on his own.

“I love all of you for being here,” Buckingham said. And it was easy to believe that he meant it.

The affection went both ways, of course. Birmingham’s love affair with Buckingham dates back to 1975, when he and Stevie Nicks performed at Municipal Auditorium (now called Boutwell Auditorium) to promote their self-titled debut album, “Buckingham Nicks.”

Thanks to airplay on a local radio station, the record was wholeheartedly embraced here, and Birmingham was one of a few cities where fans turned out in force for the duo. Buckingham and Nicks, who were shortly to join Fleetwood Mac, have said the Birmingham concert provided their first taste of stardom.

Buckingham made sure to acknowledge that connection during Monday’s appearance, reminiscing about the Buckingham Nicks show and paying gracious tribute to those long-ago ticketholders.

“There are people here who saw Stevie and me back then,” Buckingham said. “And it’s great. It’s so circular.”

At this point in his career, Buckingham certainly has no need to court an audience, but it was gratifying — and kind of refreshing — to see him do so at the Lyric. In a way, Buckingham was asking listeners to stick with him, Fleetwood Mac or no Fleetwood Mac.

With a standing ovation, shouts and cheers, Birmingham fans responded with a resounding yes.