Sunday, May 31, 2009

LA Review: Lindsey Buckingham takes spotlight on Fleetwood Mac tour

If the name had not already been taken, Fleetwood Mac might be more accurately known as the Buckinghams.

Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, dubbed the veteran rock band’s “mentor” and “maestro” by drummer and co-founder Mick Fleetwood, poured on the highlights during the Mac’s 2-1/2-hour concert at the Staples Center on Thursday.

Clearly invigorated by his tour last year to promote his latest solo album, Buckingham wowed the 18,000-strong boomer crowd with flashy, pick-free guitar work on such tunes as “Go Insane,” “I’m So Afraid” and “Big Love,” which he dedicated to his wife and young children in the audience.

Co-conspirator Stevie Nicks was off stage for the latter two songs, but she won over fans with her gravel-voiced take on “Gold Dust Woman” and show closer “Silver Springs.” Perhaps the loudest roar was reserved for her synth-laden solo tune “Stand Back.”

Not all of Buckingham’s tunes worked. The brassy climax of “Tusk” could have benefited from a guest spot by the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band, who performed on the original recording and are based down the road from the venue. Instead, some deft playing by a touring keyboardist had to suffice.

Singer/keyboardist Christine McVie was also sorely missed. The writer of such tunes as “You Make Loving Fun” and “Little Lies” retired to her English country estate a decade ago to focus on her culinary passions. But that did not prevent Buckingham and Nicks from trading verses on two of her best-known songs “Don’t Stop” and “Say You Love Me.”

Fleetwood Mac are touring without a new album — “yet,” Buckingham told the crowd. The idea is to “just go out and have fun,” he said.

But for the first half of the show, Buckingham, Nicks, Fleetwood and bass player John McVie barely acknowledged each other, firmly keeping to their designated areas of the simple stage. However Nicks embraced Buckingham after she finished singing “Sara,” and other bonding moments soon occurred. By the end, it looked like a major love-fest among the various ex-lovers and combatants.

The souvenir stands did a roaring trade in $40 tambourines (what recession?), though this led to a lot of unnecessary accompaniment during the show. Mick Fleetwood wigs might be a better choice on the next tour.

- by Dean Goodman, Reuters

Calgary & Edmonton Shows have been Rescheduled/Sacramento show is NOT being rescheduled

The Calgary show has been rescheduled for June 23rd, the Edmonton Show has been rescheduled for June 24th. Links to purchase tickets are over to your right!

Unfortunately the Cancelled Sacramento show will NOT be rescheduled:

Fleetwood Mac won't be coming to Sacramento this summer after all.

Because of scheduling conflicts, the concert that was originally scheduled for May 18 at Arco Arena has been canceled.

Live Nation said refunds for tickets to the Arco Arena show are available at point of purchase.

"Fleetwood Mac and Live Nation apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused fans," Live Nation said in a statement.

Monday, May 25, 2009

AZ Review: Fleetwood Mac delivers greatest hits

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers in Fleetwood Mac showed Sunday night that they have emerged from a five-year performance hiatus with their musical mystery and superstar aura intact.

In a homecoming show for singer Stevie Nicks, the band served up an ambitious set of classics that ran nearly 2 1/2 hours at Arena in Glendale.

Its four members, augmented on their Unleashed tour by three singers and two other musicians, may be in their early '60s, but there was plenty of energy onstage from the bouncing opening chords of 1975's “Monday Morning.”

Guitarist-singer Lindsey Buckingam seemed to be the most supercharged Sunday, enthusiastically diving into the vocals of that tune, which like much of Mac's catalog, talks about the double sword of romance.

The Phoenix-born Nicks exuded a regal, dignified presence onstage, suitable for her status as one of rock's most magnetic and complex performers. But she clearly was happy to be back in Arizona, where she owned a home for 25 years.

“We have family here tonight (including her sister-in-law, Lori Nicks, on vocals). I am thrilled to be here,” Nicks said early on. “It is my home, you know.”

Nicks later dedicated a poignant version of “Landslide” to her mother, Barbara, a longtime Valley resident.

The arena crowd, a few thousand seats short of a sellout, responded to the between-song banter Nicks and Buckingham with loud love.

Though Mac is viewed as a baby-boomer act, a healthy number of teens and 20-somethings were in the Glendale crowd, perhaps drawn by the group's decision to spotlight its biggest hits on this tour.

With no new album to promote, Buckingham told the audience, “This time, we said, ‘Let's just go out there and have fun.'”

The set which included such mega-hits as “Rhiannon,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Dreams,” “Sara” and “Don't Stop,” left longtime fans like Pamela Frady, 54, of Fountain Hills satisfied.

“All the old songs were really good,” she said.

Frady's husband, David, 54, who has seen the band through the years, added, “They have done nothing but improve phenomenally.”

Buckingham remained as fiery as ever when he attacked his guitar on “Big Love” and the show-stopping “I'm So Afraid.”

He mentioned “the power and importance of change” before starting the rapid-fire plucking of his acoustic guitar on 1987's “Big Love.”

When he was done, he looked up at the crowd, smiled and touched his heart.

As 1975's “I'm So Afraid” built to a raging climax, Buckingham ran around the stage, pausing several times to pound on the fret board of his guitar, within inches of the outstretched arms of fans.

Nicks' vocals were smooth and strong on the aforementioned hits, as well as “Dreams,” “Gypsy,” “Gold Dust Woman” and the show-ending “Silver Springs.”

The keys of some songs appeared to have been lowered, and Nicks long ago altered her treatment of some lyrics to avoid high notes, but her rich voice remains of of rock's most distinctive.

Nicks, who reportedly has lost 60 pounds, looked as mystical as ever, dressed early on in a dark dress with material cascading from its sleeves and tall boots. She had some subtle costume changes during the show, including various shawls that added drama to her trademark move — extending her arms and twirling (done more slowly than in the '70s and '80s).

During the always-powerful “Gold Dust Woman,” Nicks turned her back to the crowd and stretched out her arms, silhouetted by an onstage spotlight. As the haunting song wound down, Nicks' dance moves were eerie and ghostlike, and the crowd responded with a roar.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood, who co-founded the band with bassist and fellow Brit John McVie in 1967, got into the act with a spirited drum solo during the first encore song, “World Turning.”

Wearing a microphone and looking like rock's crazy, old uncle with his gray beard and bulging eyeballs, Fleetwood cracked up the crowd with yelps and hoots.

McVie, whom Fleetwood introduced as “the backbone of Fleetwood Mac,” was his usual low-key self on stage, decked out in a cap and dark vest.

Throughout the set, Fleetwood waved his approval at Buckingham's masterful guitar work and blew kisses at Nicks.

Nicks and Buckingam, who were a couple before and during their early days in Fleetwood Mac (they joined in 1974), came out for the first encore holding hands, and Buckingham gently kissed the singer's hand.

The gesture was bittersweet and powerful, just like Fleetwood Mac's latest concert set.

- By Larry Rodgers,

LIVE: Fleetwood Mac at Anaheim's Honda Center

Fleetwood Mac, the American-British powerhouse behind one of the bestselling albums of all time, is rock's greatest example of the good gained from ignoring every bit of sage advice known to humans about love and relationships.

But thank the dysfunctional heavens they did: The Mac has emerged some 30 years later as a weather-worn but still gripping outfit, currently touring in its most potent configuration, minus the singer and songwriter of some of its most durable hits, the retired Christine McVie.

For those needing a refresher course in popular rock scandal, the band forged ahead for 1977's blockbuster "Rumours" despite breakups between front couple Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, and founding member John McVie and wife Christine.

It's all ancient history now -- or is it? This latest greatest-hits trek, titled "The Unleashed Tour," inevitably finds the band revisiting "Rumours" and its more challenging follow-up, the sprawling and fantastic "Tusk," but instead of shying away from its fractious history, Fleetwood Mac has woven it into the concert repertoire.

In one of his song introductions at Anaheim's Honda Center on Saturday night, Buckingham explained that the first "Rumours" tune they recorded revealed his emotional temperature at that moment -- anger, bitterness, even a little humor, but "we had to reconcile . . . at least for a short time." The band then launched into one of its strongest performances of the night, a thrillingly muscular "Second Hand News."

Buckingham often spoke with the measured tones of someone who's been in therapy. Other times, he would yowl, stamp his feet or thump his lean-muscled chest before pointing reverently at the crowd. He also dropped a big hint about the Mac's future: "There's no new album to promote yet" (his emphasis).

Nicks occupied her side of the stage with an entirely different energy. Clutching a tambourine festooned with strips of fabric, her performance was sometimes too sedate, though not without breakthrough moments of fiery engagement.

Maybe the gypsy queen was conserving her energy for the lengthy show (total time was 2 hours and 40 minutes), but her early performance of "Dreams" only spottily struck on the song's slumberous wisdom. Nicks' range has narrowed over the years, but by the middle of the set her voice seemed warmed up, her presence more keen.

For "Gold Dust Woman," Nicks, wrapped in one of her many luminous shawls of the night, reveled in her favorite role of stage-bound shaman, her brown eyes finally blazing as she gave her most convincing vocal performance of the night. McVie and Fleetwood provided stellar rhythm support as she closed the song in a classic Nicks position -- draped arms out, back to the crowd, light pouring in around her figure.

Despite her listlessness at times, Nicks is no less a treasure to behold, the rare rock 'n' roll frontwoman who's still inspiring to legions of young bands. Her sense of mystique provides an important counterpoint to Buckingham, who -- blistering guitar solos and all -- is familiarly situated in the rock god vein.

But when Buckingham and Nicks hugged at the end of "Sara," an awkward but nevertheless moving gesture, they proved they have the ability to surprise the audience as well as each other. And so new depths of Fleetwood Mac will surely be plumbed for lovers everywhere, old and new.

- By Margaret Wappler, The Los Angeles Times

Saturday, May 23, 2009

San Jose Review

The last time I saw Fleetwood Mac in San Jose, there was a near-riot—and it wasn’t because people were trying to get in. When the U.K./American outfit played the half-empty, three-thousand capacity San Jose Civic Auditorium in January 1974, somebody must have thought the local residents were pretty stupid. The band that followed warm-up combo Silverhead (fronted by Michael DesBarres, husband of famed tell-all author/groupie Pamela DesBarres) onstage was definitely not Fleetwood Mac. We’d seen their photos, bought their records, and these were five guys named Moe. Patrons immediately stormed the box office, demanding their money back and were told that the band’s manager, Clifford Davis, who owned the name “Fleetwood Mac,” had fired the original members and hired an all-new lineup. Sign this list, kid, and you’ll be mailed a full refund. Still waiting for that check.

The itch was finally scratched last night when Fleetwood Mac played to a near-capacity crowd of more than 20 thousand at cavernous H.P. Pavilion, home of the San Jose Sharks. Lindsey Buckingham and Stephanie “Stevie” Nicks climbed onboard the Mac express in 1975 and shepherded the group through its superstar period during a 10-year run. Buckingham and Nicks reminisced onstage about their local connections. Both attended Menlo-Atherton High School in Menlo Park in the late ’60s, San Jose State in the early ’70s, then cut their only Buckingham Nicks album in 1973. “When we played the Fillmore West opening for Quicksilver Messenger Service,” said Nicks, “Bill Graham screamed at a guy who was heckling me, ‘Get out of my Fillmore and don’t ever come back!’ That’s when I knew we were going somewhere.” Dressed in her trademark, free-flowing ensemble, Nicks spoke warmly of the boyfriend/girlfriend days she spent with Buckingham, dedicating the band’s ‘82 hit “Gypsy” to “the paper roses, the house we had in Los Gatos and the gypsies that we were.” Nicks, who just turned 60, tentatively tried a pirouette on ‘76 smash “Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)” but gave up about halfway through. With her voice as strong as ever, it’s probably time to think about switching from playing Ophelia to a long run as Lady MacBeth.

Buckingham, a year younger than Nicks, proved especially feisty, reeling off a juicy guitar break on “Dreams” (”Thunder only happens when it’s raining”) and a solid vocal turn on a re-tooled version of “Oh Well,” a searing, stop-and-start blues number first cut by the 1970 version of Fleetwood Mac that featured guitartists Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan. It was also a treat to hear Nicks perform onetime Mac singer/keyboardist Christine McVie’s showcase number “Say You Love Me.” A hired keyboard player did his best to replace the USC marching band, the original accompanist (recorded at Dodger Stadium) for stirring 1979 number “Tusk,” a revered highlight of the Mac’s masterpiece double album of the same name.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie (the band’s original namesakes) remain in place, with the stork-like Fleetwood, dressed in black knickers and red shoes, particularly nimble on a gavotte-styled bow that followed big hit “Go Your Own Way.” Everyone knew what the encore would be—the only ace in the deck they hadn’t dealt. 1977 classic “Don’t Stop” gained a second life as the campaign theme song for Bill Clinton in 1992. It sounded every bit as exciting in the first term of Barack Obama.

- Jud Cost, Magnet Magazine

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oakland Review: Fleetwood Mac at the Oracle Arena

Delving into the convoluted history of Fleetwood Mac is tantamount to stepping in a cow pile for the casual fan (and here I shall raise my hand), so let's sidestep cries of "heresy!" and stick to what went down at the Oracle last night.

When you've got a catalogue of hits like Fleetwood Mac, the quality of the show leans heavily on whether or not the band is in top form. And on this night, for most of the 20-song set, the band was tight and the vocals crisp. Father Time may have stiffened the bones of John McVie and Stevie Nicks (who headed backstage for a break and shawl swap after almost every song), but Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham had obviously been eating their spinach - these two gentlemen of Pop had far more fun than anyone in the audience. Which is no easy feat considering the crowd was on its feet for more than half of the show, tears of nostalgia wetting many an eye.

The addition of three back-up singers, a guitarist and keyboardist (who also sang harmonies) contributed to the lush sound that is the hallmark of many a Fleetwood Mac recording.

Both Nicks and Buckingham commented on how thrilled they were to be back in the Bay, where their former band Fritz opened for acts like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. San Francisco is the "velvet underground" mentioned in "Gypsy," added Nicks before launching into the song.

Fan favorites "Go Your Own Way," "Landslide," "Dreams," "Say You Love Me" and "Rhiannon" made appearances, as did "Storms," which Nicks said had never been performed onstage outside the current tour.

Add dueling guitar leads between veteran guitarist Neale Heywood and Buckingham and an over-the-top drum solo from Fleetwood and you've got a show that will be bragged about having been at for quite some time.

- Janine Kahn, SF Blogs

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tonight's Sacramento show POSTPONED

SACRAMENTO, CA - The Fleetwood Mac concert scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday night at Arco Arena has been cancelled.

Arena officials said they are still confirming whether or not the concert has been postponed to a later date or cancelled for good.

Sacramento was one of the last stops on the popular blues rock band's "Unleashed" tour that started in March.

UPDATE - This show WILL be rescheduled:
Monday, May 18
ARCO Arena
Fleetwood Mac has postponed their scheduled show for tonight, May 18th at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento due to illness.
A rescheduled date will be announced soon.Tickets that were purchased for the May 18th ARCO Arena show will be honored at the newly rescheduled date.
We apologize for any inconvenience.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The pop partnership that revinvented Fleetwood Mac

The musical pairing of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks reinvigorated Fleetwood Mac's sound, which continues to influence artists today. Are they due a resurgence?

This week, I received an email from Joe Cardamone of the Icarus Line regarding a new project he has been working on with Annie Hardy from Giant Drag. He included a demo of their song Lake of Fire, stating that "Fleetwood Mac is the new black". The track is fantastic. Joe and Annie have perfectly captured the vibe of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in their pre-Fleetwood Mac days, when they were a folk-rock duo.

Musical partnerships are plentiful, but iconic partnerships are not. If you've not heard the Buckingham Nicks debut release, you really should as it helped define the Pacific coast FM pop sound of Fleetwood Mac. Both Buckingham and Nicks were prodigies of their producer Keith Olsen (a member of Music Machine and early production partner of Curt Boettcher). It was while Olsen was pitching for a job with Mick Fleetwood that he played him the Buckingham Nicks debut. Fleetwood was struck by their track Frozen Love and later invited the pair to join Fleetwood Mac, hence reinventing the band and their sound.

Buckingham introduced the California sound to a struggling Fleetwood Mac and the band ran with it. For me, the lynchpin of Fleetwood Mac wasn't original member Peter Green, who has somehow acquired the genius status of Syd Barrett or Skip Spence. The earlier, bluesier Peter Green recordings lack the essential buzz of Buckingham.

When I first got into Fleetwood Mac it was anathema. If you had to admit to liking them, it was only by praising Peter Green. But man, Rumours! What an album! Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were world-class songwriters, and it was shocking the world wasn't listening in 1973. Even the tension between Nicks and Buckingham's romantic and songwriting relationship resulted in many Fleetwood Mac classics: The Chain, Go Your Own Way and Landslide. Their partnership provided the energy behind the epic Rumours – the second Fleetwood Mac album and one of the biggest-selling records of all time – and the focal point of their legendary live shows.

While they were recording the third Fleetwood Mac album, Tusk, Buckingham and Nicks's relationship disintegrated, but somehow this manifested into one of the most wilfully self-destructive albums since the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique or Sly and the Family Stone's There's a Riot Going On. Buckingham, now in love with punk and new wave, insisted they record in his house and, although not as successful as Rumours, it was a strange, coke-fuelled masterpiece.

Their influence reaches unlikely places. My friend Nick Laird-Clowes of the Dream Academy had Buckingham brought on as a producer for their second album Remembrance Days in 1987. He recounted how the sessions involved going down to Buckingham's LA mansion, skinning up and playing the Korgis' Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime.

Courtney Love, of course, worshipped Fleetwood Mac and, in particular, Stevie Nicks. Love was responsible for bringing the band back into the pantheon of cool in the early 90s, which culminated in the classic 1997 Nicks/Love joint interview in Spin magazine.

Love believes fervently that everyone should listen to Rumours before even thinking about picking up a guitar. And she's right. More recently, contemporary bands have been heading towards the Pacific Coast Highway with their music, be it new folk-rocker Nico Georis or even Love's still unreleased classic Nobody's Daughter (which sounds like her Noughties answer to Rumours). In a recent Pitchfork interview, Dave Portner of Animal Collective talked about his email exchanges with Buckingham and how the Fleetwood Mac sound was an influence on their latest album, Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Psychedelic west-coast rockers, Comets On Fire and Six Organs of Admittance have also credited the influence of Buckingham's guitar-style (over that of John Fahey). The more I think about it, Buckingham and Nicks's genius is Zelig-like, and they're seemingly everywhere. Between the guitar style of Buckingham and Nicks's gravely west coast blues voice, it is no wonder during swings and roundabouts of popular culture, music has come back to the Pacific-coast pop of Fleetwood Mac. And with Buckingham's recent statement that he intends to produce another album, plus the fact that the band are currently on the road, could 2009 see another resurgence of Fleetwood Mac? If it can produce another Rumours or Tusk, I say bring it on.


Q&A With Lindsey Buckingham

The mercurial forces behind Fleetwood Mac - John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham - are back on the road, once again without Christine McVie. And for the first time in a long time, the band doesn't have any new material to promote, so the Unleashed Tour is made up of two hours of fan favorites. We asked the group's 59-year-old guitarist - and a recent father of three - Buckingham how he felt about that. Fleetwood Mac plays Wednesday at Oakland's Oracle Arena and Thursday at San Jose's HP Pavilion.

Q: There was some talk last year that Sheryl Crow was going to take over Christine McVie's position in the band. Did you block that?

A: No, I didn't block it. One of the things that made this go so smoothly is that I've been really unparticular about my opinions. I did not think that was a good idea. One, she was going to come in for a period of time and it spoke to me like something that had come from the top down, like a marketing idea. The other thing is that it struck me as a bit loungey to have someone else come in and do Christine's songs. She went and shot herself in the foot anyway.

Q: How's that?

A: She somehow announced she was going to join Fleetwood Mac. We had talked about it, but it had not been decided. So that became a red flag for the band. At the end of the day, it wasn't the right thing to do. So that was it. I was actually quite happy it turned out that way. We're much better working with the four core people.

Q: Besides, the last thing you need is another ego in this band.

A: That's right. Stevie and I are still working on our dynamic, which, believe it or not, is still evolving.

Q: Does doing a greatest-hits tour make you a nostalgia act?

A: This resting-on-our-laurels tour? We have a body of work that will transcend that label, I think. Had we gone in to make a new album first, it would have felt more in line with the things I value. Oddly enough, having not done that, it put us in the position of going into rehearsals completely anxiety-free, as opposed to having the residue of making the album to deal with. The actual experience of doing the tour has been quite thrilling. I have no explanation for that. It's kind of like a point you get to as a band, and for a moment you can rest and say, "This is what's happened, and it's pretty f- good."

Q: Having three children probably puts the band dramas in perspective.

A: It's certainly put a balance on everything. It's made it easier to enjoy what I'm doing now. It probably helped that I did a couple of solo albums and got some touring out of the way. You hit a point where a lot of things that you thought would push your buttons don't really push your buttons anymore. That's why this tour is going so smoothly. Nothing has really been bothering me.

Q: How much do you think your robust chest hair had to do with Fleetwood Mac selling those 100 million albums?

A: Wow. I would say none. The whole band, or just me?

Q: Specifically you, since I don't remember Stevie or Christine having much chest hair.

A: John has got a good tuft on there. I would hope very little. That's the first time I was asked that. It could have been something I missed.


Omaha, Kansas City, Denver, Vancouver & Tacoma show Reviews

Hey guys!

I know I'm behind so I thought I would just post a couple of external links to some reviews to the Omaha, Kansas City, Denver, Vancouver & Tacoma shows. As I'm sure all of you know, the Calgary & Edmonton shows were Postponed due to an illness in the band. Rumours were that it was Stevie who was sick but no confirmation on that. Anyway, the band stated they WOULD reschedule the shows for 'sometime in June' so hopefully it all works out and those that planned to go will STILL get to go!

Omaha Review
Kansas City Review
Denver Review
Vancouver Review
Tacoma Review

Stevie Nicks blasts Lindsay, Britney

If anyone has the right to give advice to the Britney Spearses and Lindsay Lohans of the world, it’s Stevie Nicks. In her more-than-30-year career as a solo singer and as one of the lead vocalists of the rock group Fleetwood Mac, the 61-year-old icon has paved the way for women in the music industry. And she has the war wounds to prove it. From battles with drug addiction to notorious love affairs, her life is tailor-made for a Hollywood film. Which is probably why Lindsay Lohan keeps telling reporters about her burning desire to play Nicks in a yet-to-be-made Fleetwood Mac biopic. This has Nicks a little concerned. Via phone from a presidential suite in New York City, she repeats the words “over my dead body” when the mention of a Lindsay-as-Stevie movie comes up. “That girl is the antithesis of everything that I don’t want for younger girls to be. I don’t want anyone as messy as her messing with my history.”

The legacy Nicks is so protective of is still going strong. This spring she has been busy promoting her latest two projects—a DVD called Live In Chicago and a live CD titled The Soundstage Sessions—as well as reconnecting on stage with Fleetwood Mac on its current greatest-hits North American tour. Packed with five remaining Canadian concert dates, the tour has Nicks performing more than 50 shows, many of which are sold out. Which explains why Hollywood execs have been banging on her door. “Most of them,” she says, “want to focus on when I first joined the band and the three fun, crazy years after that. Quite frankly, I don’t blame them—they were a roller-coaster ride!”

To clarify, Nicks is talking about when she and her then-lover, guitarist-vocalist Lindsey Buckingham, became members of Fleetwood Mac in 1975 (joining drummer Mick Fleetwood, vocalist Christine McVie and bassist John McVie). Shortly after the group’s first album together, Nicks experienced the side effects of being in a band with three Top 20 singles. “I was a waitress and Lindsey was a telemarketer back then,” Nicks recalls. “By the end of the summer, we were millionaires. It transformed our lives completely. Then Rumours happened and everything went berserk.”

Nicks is referring to Fleetwood Mac’s hit 1977 disc, which sold more than 30 million copies. According to Nicks, the title of the disc was prophetic on many levels. “I fell in love with Mick [Fleetwood] at the end of the Rumours tour in 1978 while I was still on rocky ground with Lindsey. Fortunately Mick and I ended it for the sake of the band. Around that time, people began saying that I was performing witchcraft—which I never did—and that the band had orgies—which we never had.”

On top of the widely reported false accusations, Nicks had to deal with a growing substance abuse problem. The miracle of it all was that she was still able to write songs (chart toppers Edge of Seventeen, Stand Back and Landslide) while maintaining a sense of mystery about herself. That secrecy is something Nicks feels is missing in the pop stars of today. She points to Britney Spears as a prime example of a singer who has overexposed herself beyond repair. “For her, it’s all about TMI: too much information. She needs to stop sharing. Period. After that toxic reality series she did, I decided I will never buy another one of her CDs because now I know how dippy she is.” When Nicks hears that Spears cursed about wardrobe malfunctions while performing on stage during her recent tour, her voice begins to thunder. “You do not tell the audience about your stupid-ass problems,” she says. “You will never, ever see a sweat drop start to fly off of my face—even if my heel is broken. I’ll do the song heel-less. People paid good money for you to take away their problems and inspire them.”

Other than her beef with Britney, Nicks has a record of embracing the newer divas on the block. “The fact that Etta James got so angry about BeyoncĂ© singing At Last at President Obama’s first dance is tragic. C’mon Etta, just let BeyoncĂ© sing it—she’s the new thing. [James] is still selling concert tickets so she should move over for a moment.” And with that, Nicks pipes down, takes a breath and begins to reflect. “In music history, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Elvis were all called the kings of rock and managed to be quite amicable to each other. They even did shows together! There is no reason why us women can’t do the same. Besides, I don’t want to be known as a queen of rock. When you start having to tell people that you are the queen, you’re done.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

St. Louis Review: Fleetwood Mac hit show hits all the right notes

Fleetwood Mac's show Tuesday night at Scottrade Center in St. Louis was billed as "Fleetwood Mac: The Unleashed Tour 2009 - The Hits.” That’s exactly what it was.

At first, it was exciting when the band hit the stage with “Monday Morning,” followed by “Chains” and “Dreams.” Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks took turns introducing most of the songs after that, and it wasn’t clear how that format was going to work — because as their music doesn’t really need to be introduced.

However, that format it added to the atmosphere of the evening, and proved to be very informative, if not inspiring and surprising. The introductions from the duo shed a new light on what some of their songs meant, or refreshed a memory or two and added to the nostalgia of the evening.

It was very hard to ignore the special magic that still exists between Nicks and Buckingham — it was as evident as daylight. With a storied past such as theirs, it was only understandable how the duo, along with founders Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, have to seriously contemplate if, when and how the group can come together for another tour.

Nicks herself told me in an interview last year that it’s not an easy undertaking.

“We have four different, creative personalities and talents,” Nicks said, “along with four strong passions. When you collectively put all those things together you’re asking for the most wonderful and yet a most emotional experience of your life.

"It’s like a marriage that has it’s extreme ups and downs. We’re all a little older and more settled now, so we’ll see what that brings.”

What it brings together is a family that, through it all, relies on each other and feeds off of each other to make things work. That said, it was a little sad not to see Christine McVie on this tour, but it was no surprise that she would be absent.

With a longtime reluctancy to tour, Nicks announced last year that Christine would not be joining her cohorts onstage for this tour. In fact, she has not performed publicly with the group since The Dance tour in 1997.

But Nicks and Buckingham did quite well on her featured hit as part of the group, “Say That You Love Me.” Other than the obvious hits the highlight of the evening would have to be “Storms”and the second encore of “Silver Springs.”

Buckingham alluded to a possible new album from the group, but we’ll see. In the meantime, this was a perfect reminder of the band's impact and hold on us. -

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fleetwood Mac rocks Tulsa's BOK Center

The passing of four decades, the retirement of a core member and one of the most turbulent histories in rock ‘n’ roll haven’t dimmed the star power of Fleetwood Mac one watt.

The remaining members of the seminal pop-rock band — singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, singer Stevie Nicks, drummer Mick Fleetwood, and bassist John McVie— effectively sent the BOK center into a time warp back to the 1970s for about two and half hours Sunday night.

“There’s no new album to promote — yet,” Buckingham told the appreciative near-sellout crowd of about 13,000. “So we decided let’s just go out and do those songs that we all love, and hopefully, they’re the ones you love, too.”

For the Tulsa stop on the “Unleashed: Hits Tour 2009,” the quartet let loose on a string of favorites, mostly from their classic ‘70s albums “Fleetwood Mac,” “Rumours” and “Tusk.” The years have taken their toll in a few ways, and the warm vocals of former singer/pianist Christine McVie (who retired in 1998) were certainly missed.

But Fleetwood Mac has maintained its consummate chemistry and musicianship. And that’s amazing considering what Buckingham described as the band’s “complex and convoluted emotional history.”

Emerging from darkness to the crowd’s excited cheers, the group launched the concert with the bouncy “Monday Morning,” putting Buckingham in the lead on vocals and showing off his still fleet fingers.

On his solo “Gift of Screws” tour last fall, the multitalented musician, 59, electrified Tulsa’s intimate Brady Theater, and he proved Sunday that his spellbinding picking and quirky vocals can still captivate an entire arena, too. He blazed through his flamenco-style version of “Big Love,” the frenetic “I Know I’m Not Wrong” and the intense “I’m So Afrai d,” often bending over limply and then straightening to shout “Oh, yeah” at the end of his songs.

With their deep catalog of hits, the group could afford to put their throbbing trademark “The Chain” second on the set list. The dramatic song got the fans chanting along on the chorus and proved that Fleetwood and John McVie still form a formidable rhythm section.

When Nicks stepped into the spotlight with the hopeful hit “Dreams,” the show briefly took a worrisome turn. Her vocals were markedly deeper and less supple than in the past, and she let the trio of female backup singers carry the high note at the end.

But the songstress, who turns 61 on May 26, sounded more like her familiar sultry-voiced self on the evocative “Gypsy.” Plus, she shared the story behind the music: Buckingham was a former schoolmate who called her a couple of years after they first met to ask her to join his hard rock band.

“That moment catapulted me into the greatest musical time of all time, 1965 to 1970, in San Francisco, Ashbury Park. ... where I’m back to the velvet underground,” she said, referencing the opening lines of “Gypsy,” a childhood favorite of mine that brought back potent memories.

By the time she got to her witchy signature track, “Rhiannon,” Nicks’ voice was warmed up and ready to blast out her powerful ballads. With her black dress, glittering shawl and long blond tresses flowing, she looked lovely and ethereal, and it wasn’t long before she was doing her distinctive swaying dance and twirling around the stage.

Later donning a crimson gown and shimmering golden shawl, Nicks wailed tunefully about shattered illusions of love and mesmerized the audience with her hypnotic dancing on “Gold Dust Woman.” My favorite Fleetwood Mac song, it thrummed with the drama of a Wild West showdown.

Though their romance ended long ago, the musical chemistry still crackles between Buckingham and Nicks. The former lovers were in perfect sync as they belted out hits chronicling their rocky relationship, from the achingly beautiful “Landslide” to the rollicking “Second Hand News.” They ended the wistful “Sara” with a tender moment, each laying their head on the other’s shoulder, with Buckingham still playing guitar.

“For the tour, we wanted to include a song we’d never performed live before. This is a stormy song for a stormy group of people,” Nicks said in introducing the heartbreaking “Storms,” which all four members performed at the forefront of the stage, with Fleetwood on a mini drum set.

The quartet stayed front and center for a bold take on “Say You Love Me,” a Christine McVie hit. Nicks and Buckingham took turns on vocals for their rootsier rendition, which was fun but couldn’t surpass the original.

The show featured too many highlights to mention, but Fleetwood Mac made sure to end the set on a high note. An extended drum intro built anticipation before the band erupted into the rollicking pop classic “Go Your Own Way,” which got the fans bouncing and singing along.

Screaming, clapping and stomping their feet, the crowd demanded an encore, and the band obliged with a foot-stomping rendition of “World Turning” which included a raucous extended drum solo from the wild-eyed Fleetwood.

The perky pop hit “Don’t Stop” again got the fans singing and dancing to what seemed to be an upbeat end of the show. But soon after the lights dimmed, they came up again for a second encore, the sparkling ballad “Silver Springs,” a soulful and fitting finale.

Before he left the stage, Fleetwood quipped, “Remember, the Mac is back.” And on Sunday night, they showed everyone at the BOK Center that their greatest hits truly are still great.

- By Brandy McDonnell, The Oklahoman

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Houston Revew: Fleetwood Mac takes musical walk down memory lane

There were no surprises, radical reworkings or new tunes to promote during Fleetwood Mac's Saturday night set at Toyota Center.

There were just music and memories — keys to the complete Mac experience. (And Stevie Nicks in a shawl, of course, during Gold Dust Woman.)

The echoes of hope and heartache informed every lyric, and each song signaled a memory, a moment in time for someone in the crowd (and onstage).

"Fleetwood Mac, as I'm sure you know, has had a complex and emotional history," Lindsey Buckingham told the crowd.

"It's kind of worked for us. Every time we come together, there's a sense of possibility."

The band walked onto a dark stage, Buckingham leading Nicks by the hand. They kicked off with a jangly, lighthearted Monday Morning — but things quickly intensified with the pounding groove of The Chain, which boasted solid harmonies (aided by a trio of background singers).

The staging was simple but effective, a maze of shadows and light. Nicks' trademark scarves were wrapped around her microphone stand.

The gypsy woman can't quite hit the girlish high notes of enduring hit Dreams, but her voice still has a bleating allure. She introduced Gypsy as a nod to her musical history in San Francisco, which gave it a wistful sense of remembrance.

Less dynamic were the moments when Buckingham took command (I Know I'm Not Wrong, Go Insane). The crowd thought so, too, and several folks scurried up toward the lobby. His voice-and-guitar take on Big Love, however, was a searing set highlight.

Nicks sparkled amid the rueful strains of Rhiannon, and Second Hand News (the first song recorded for the Mac's legendary Rumors album, Buckingham said) was a blaze of joyful vocals and instrumentation. Tusk boasted a blaring kick, and it's impossible not to be moved by Landslide's weary grace.

But the small details often made the biggest impact: Nicks sweetly placing her head on Buckingham's shoulder during a heartfelt Sara; Buckingham taking quick moments to soak in the cheers after every song.

- By JOEY GUERRA, The Houston Chronicle