“The Mac is back” said Mick Fleetwood. And this time it’s the real thing. With the return of Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac are running on full power again. I’d forgotten just how important Christine is to this band. I’d enjoyed seeing the four piece Mac (Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood) over the past ten or so years, but the last time I saw this classic 70s line-up was way back ‘in the day’ on the Rumours tour. Christine’s return has breathed new life into the band. McVie and Fleetwood provide, as always, the perfect relentless beat; a canvas of rhythm on which Lindsey, Stevie and Christine paint their stories of angst, passion and lost love. Lindsey is the hyper dynamic egocentric child, screaming for our attention; annoying yet endearing himself to us through a series of excellent guitar solos and rock star poses. Stevie is the gypsy, the wild mysterious hippie rock chick. She is singing better than ever and morphs effortlessly from the witch Rhiannon, into the twirling mystical Gypsy still living the dream that started when she and young boyfriend Lyndsey supported Hendrix in the 60s, to the scary old Gold Dust Woman creeping around a dark stage. And Christine; so cool, calm and back with her friends, her family. I’d forgotten how many great song she wrote for Fleetwood Mac, many of which she sang for us. A great performance by a truly classic band
“A blistering two hour and 20 minute set from the classic (yes, that word is ENTIRELY appropriate) Rumours-era line-up elicits one of the most passionate responses I have seen from an audience in my life” (Yorkshire Evening Post)
Setlist: The Chain; You Make Loving Fun; Dreams; Second Hand News; Rhiannon; Everywhere; I Know I’m Not Wrong; Tusk; Sisters of the Moon; Say You Love Me; Big Love; Landslide; Never Going Back Again; Over My Head; Gypsy; Little Lies; Gold Dust Woman; I’m So Afraid; Go Your Own Way
Encore: World Turning; Don’t Stop; Silver Springs
Encore 2: Songbird
Archive for the ‘Fleetwood Mac’ Category
Fleetwood Mac Manchester Arena 1 Oct 2013
Great show by Fleetwood Mac last night at Manchester Arena. Possibly the best time I’ve seen them. Fleetwood Mac are enjoying a renewed wave of success. It seems everyone wants to see them and demand for tickets for their concerts has been much greater than the last couple of occasions they visited the UK. This gig at the massive 20,000 capacity Manchester Arena sold out in a matter of hours and tickets have been changing hands for twice their (already expensive) face value. There has also been some added excitement in the form of Christine McVie rejoining her old band mates at a couple of the London concerts.
I was sitting in my seat way up in the top level at the back of the arena. This is the 5th time I’ve seen the band, the first being way back in 1972, and I was still pretty excited and really looked forward to it. I was quite a distance away from the stage, but it gave me a great view of the whole arena. This was very much a classic rock show with crowd pleasing songs, drawn largely from “Fleetwood Mac”, “Rumours” and “Tusk”, excellent visuals, and great individual performances by each member of the band. Stevie still manages to pull off her gypsy, hippy rock chick image, all swirling skirts, twirling folk dancing, and even we even saw the return of her top hat towards the end of the show. She may have reworked some of the songs to remove the higher parts, but her vocals remain stunning. It would be easy to say that Lindsey Buckingham is the star of the show. He is on stage throughout, performing a couple of songs solo, notably Big Love which was outstanding, and featured Lindsey with acoustic guitar in front of a massive black and white video image of himself. His guitar playing was excellent, and got a great crowd reaction. But it would be unfair to focus on the couple out front; after all without the two older guys at the back there would be no Fleetwood Mac. Mick Fleetwood sat behind a massive drum kit, towering over the others as a man and as a presence. A true English gentleman of the old school, he came over as a cross between the gentle head master, and a master of ceremonies. I hadn’t noticed it before, but most of the songs seem to start with Mick and the drums leading the others into the melody. John McVie is the quiet man, who Mick says is “always on my right, and the backbone of Fleetwood Mac”. His role should not be underplayed. Together those two guys kept the faith through hard times, and managed the rebirth of the Mac, achieving what seemed to be the impossible. Last night I felt a different vibe around the Mac. What I saw way down in front of me on that stage was a group of friends who have finally come to terms with who they are, how they relate to each other, and the trials and tribulations of the past. It was obvious, much more so than on previous outings, that these four guys have reached a place of deep understanding and respect for each other as people. The vocal interplay and the looks and stares between Lindsey and Stevie were much sharper than in the past. On “The Chain” they were almost spitting the words at each other. At another point they hugged, and when they returned for the encore it was hand in hand.
The sound was a little ropey when the band first came on stage and started with “Second Hand News” but by the second song “The Chain”, it was sharp and crisp. Highlights for me were “Rhiannon”, probably my favourite, “Gold Dust Women” and the closer “Go Your Own Way”. I even enjoyed Mick’s drum solo during “World Turning” and the tracks from “Tusk” started to make some sort of sense to me; after all this time. The band seemed in quite a playful mood. At one point, someone shouted, “I f***ing love you Stevie!” and she responded, “I f***ing love you too! It’s a f***ing lovefest in here!”. Lindsey then joined in, mimicking a northern accent “I f***ing love you, Stevie”. I was a little disappointed that there were no songs from the Old Mac days. “Oh Well” remained in the set for many years, but has been dropped now. This line-up also used to perform “The Green Manalishi” in the 1970s; now that would be great to see. As Mick said at the end “The Mac are back”.
If the rumours are to be believed they could be returning to the UK to headline Glastonbury in 2014. Based on last night’s performance, if they do play, they will tear the Pyramid stage apart, and could easily match this year’s performance by The Stones. Setlist: Second Hand News; The Chain; Dreams; Sad Angel; Rhiannon; Not That Funny; Tusk; Sisters of the Moon; Sara; Big Love; Landslide; Never Going Back Again; Without You; Gypsy; Eyes of the World; Gold Dust Woman; I’m So Afraid; Stand Back; Go Your Own Way. Encore 1: World Turning (including Drum Solo); Don’t Stop. Encore 2: Silver Springs; Say Goodbye.
Peter Green Splinter group
When I was getting into music in the 60s I listened to a lot of white blues. Cream, Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall and Ten Years After were never off my record player back then. My guitar heroes were Clapton, Alvin Lee, Frank Zappa and Peter Green. I would listen to Greeny and The Supernatural again and again, trying to learn how to play them on a cheap Zenta guitar. There was a feel and a tone about Peter Green’s playing which gave it an atmospheric quality unlike any of the other guitar greats of the day. And those early Mac singles: Albatross, Man of the World, Green Manalishi, Need your Love so bad; Black Magic Woman all classics. By the time I got to see Fleetwood Mac in the early 70s Peter Green had sadly gone on his well publicised journey into the wilderness of his own mind. The world had lost a guitar genius, and I truly thought we would never see him reemerge from his darkness. But, in the late 90s Peter did return to gigging as a member of the Splinter Group, coaxed out of seclusion by long time collaborator and fellow lead guitarist Nigel Watson, and with Cozy Powell on drums. I first saw the Splinter Group with my mate Will at a packed gig at Redcar Coatham Bowl. This was the first time that we had been to the Coatham Bowl to see a band for many years, and it was great that we were going go see a hero of ours. Peter and the Splinter group played a set which drew from blues classics and from his old Fleetwood Mac days. I am afraid my memory fails me as to the exact set, but I think they played Need your Love so bad, Oh Well, Albatross and Black Magic Woman. It was just great to see Peter and hear him play in such a small venue. I was quite apprehensive about the gig, and didn’t really know what to expect. Peter seemed to be in good spirits, and although at times it was clear that he was less than comfortable as a front man, glimpses of the old Peter Green came through from time to time, and his guitar playing was fine and at times as fluid and beautiful as ever. Nigel Watson was by his side, watching over him and at times stepping in to sing or take the lead guitar parts. A great gig. We saw Peter Green play again a few years later on a bill headed by John Mayall at Sunderland Empire. I also had a ticket to see him play at the Colne Blues Festival a couple of years ago, but sadly he pulled out as he was again unwell. I hope that Peter is doing OK and perhaps there will be a chance to see him again in the future.
Fleetwood Mac Manchester Arena 3 Dec 2003
Say You Will Tour
By 2003 it had been a long time since I had last seen Fleetwood Mac, and I was keen to do so again. I was a little frustrated when they announced a UK tour and I saw that they were playing Newcastle, which was a local gig for me, on the same night as I had tickets to see David Bowie at The Point in Dublin. Not to be put off, I quickly decided to buy tickets for David and I to go and see the Mac at the MEN Arena in Manchester. David was studying in Leeds at the time, so I arranged to meet up with him and we went off to Manchester together.
I remember the tickets for this gig were pretty expensive, and we decided to buy cheaper seats, which meant we were at the back of the arena and our view wasn’t great. Nevertheless we both enjoyed the gig which was a true greatest hits set. By this point Christine McVie had retired, which meant that some of the songs which she sang were dropped from the set, but the Mac train rolls on. Sadly for me this time round there were no songs from the early Mac days. The thing that we both remember most from that gig was the drum solo that Mick Fleetwood did, part of which involved him playing his waistcoat which had electronic drum pads built in; I kid you not! Its funny what sticks in your mind. I was to see Fleetwood Mac again 6 years later at Sheffield Arena, which I have already blogged on. There are rumours (no pun intended) of a Mac tour next year. Hope it happens. Setlist: The Chain; Dreams; Eyes of the World; Peacekeeper; Second Hand News; Say You Will; Never Going Back Again; Rhiannon; Come; Gypsy; Big Love; Landslide; Say Goodbye; What’s the World Coming To; Beautiful Child; Gold Dust Woman; I’m So Afraid; Silver Springs; Stand Back; Tusk; Go Your Own Way. Encore: World Turning; Don’t Stop. Encore 2: Goodbye Baby
Fleetwood Mac Glasgow Apollo 1977 Rumours tour
Support from Charlie
Fleetwood Mac returned to the UK triumphant, once again a major force in rock music following major success with the 1975 Fleetwood Mac album and 1977’s Rumours lp. This was the first time they had played the UK since Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had joined the line up, and demand for tickets was huge. Fans were eager to see this new lineup; so far all we had seen was a clip or two on the Old Grey Whistle Test. I recall that a video of the Mac playing Rhiannon was played on TV a few times. As was often the case at the time, the tour missed out the North East of England completely. However, determined to see the new rejuvenated Fleetwood Mac, my friend Ian and I bought tickets for the Glasgow gig, which was to be held at the great Apollo theatre. By this time I had been to the Apollo a few times and was used to making the drive there and back in an evening. We arrived in time for a drink before the gig, and popped into the pub across the road from the Apollo, where we ran into John and Susan; John was studying in Edinburgh at the time. Support came from UK band Charlie, who toured a lot in the mid to late 70s and had some success in the USA. From the Charlie website: “1977: Charlie support a squabbling, stoned, but nonetheless spectacular Fleetwood Mac on their Rumours tour but the album meets with mediocre response in the UK now in the grip of punk. The band consider calling it a day.” I couldn’t have put it better, Charlie. Fleetwood Mac were truly spectacular that night.
Rhiannon was my favourite at the time, and Steve Nicks was mesmerisingly beautiful in voice and looks; wearing her top hat and telling us of the mysterious lady in the song. Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar playing was also ace; songs like The Chain, and Go Your Own Way were just great, as was their treatment of the only “old” Fleetwood Mac song that they played that evening: Oh Well. I recall for an encore they played a song which was very different, strange, and laden with drum beats. I am sure that they introduced it as a new song which was going to feature on their new album, and think it must have been Tusk, but this doesn’t show on any published setlists from the day. A great night that I still look back on even today as one of the best gigs I have seen. Although all may not have been well within the band, they still delivered at their best; they were riding on the crest of a wave, and John and Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood were no doubt pleased to come back to the UK and get such a great reaction from the crowds. Setlist: Say You Love Me; Station Man; The Chain; Dreams; Rhiannon; Oh Daddy; Never Going Back Again; Landslide; Over My Head; Gold Dust Woman; You Make Loving Fun; I’m So Afraid; Go Your Own Way; Oh Well; World Turning; Blue Letter; Second Hand News. Encore: Tusk
Fleetwood Mac Sunderland Top Rank January 1972
If you asked me to make a list of bands that I never saw, and wished I had done, pretty near to the top would be the original Peter Green version of Fleetwood Mac. I was just a little too young to catch them, although I have seen later versions of the band, and have also seen Peter Green in recent years. The first time I saw Fleetwood Mac was in early 1972 at a concert at Sunderland Top Rank. I went along on a cold January night some 40 (!) years ago with a group of school friends. We were all intrigued to see what Fleetwood Mac would be like, as we knew that the band had changed considerably from the blues oriented band of the late 60s. By this time Fleetwood Mac were fronted by Bob Welch, alongside Danny Kirwan, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood. This gig was very poorly attended, I recall a small crowd of 100 or so of us sitting on chairs on the dancefloor. The set was largely drawn from their recent Future Games album. As far as I remember the only old Fleetwood Mac tune they played was Oh Well, and possibly Black Magic Woman (although I am less sure about that). Much of the material was unfamiliar to me, but I do remember thinking that Bob Welch was impressive, but of course very different to Peter Green, and that the songs were refreshingly good. The band had moved from blues and rock n roll to much more melodic rock. It was to be a few more years before they would achieve great success again. Vocal duties were shared by Bob Welch, Danny Kirwan and Christine McVie. A bootleg recording from later in the same month shows the band playing the following songs: 1 Tell Me All The Things You Do; Future Games; Morning Rain; Woman Of A 1000 Years; Black Magic Woman; Get Like You Used To Be; Homeward Bound; Trinity; Child Of Mine; Oh Well; Drum Solo/Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On. I would imagine that the set I witnessed will have been similar. I think we walked home in the early hours. This is a gig that I am really pleased I attended, and I wish I had stronger memories of it. Another one where a time machine would be handy. The next time I saw Fleetwood Mac was at Glasgow Apollo, and there were returning to the UK at the start of their mega success which they achieved in the late 70s. I’ll blog on that gig shortly.
Fleetwood Mac Sheffield Arena Nov 2nd 2009
Fleetwood Mac were on great form last night. Went along with Norm to see them. This was probably the best I have seen them. The set list was a greatest hits which drew mostly from the Rumours period. Lyndsey Buckingham was the star of the show, he’s a great guitarist and a human dynamo. Steve Nicks’ vocals were very strong; much better than last time I saw them in Manchester. The crowd loved it and sang along with every word. Well worth the drive to Sheffield.
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
Encores: World Turning ; Don’t Stop