5 REASONS TO SEE FLEETWOOD MAC (WITHOUT LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM)
Fleetwood Mac is back on the road, but this time they’re touring without longtime member Lindsey Buckingham.
The legendary classic rockers fired him earlier this year, announcing two other musicians to replace him. Buckingham responded with a lawsuit seeking his share of the tour income, estimated at US$12 million.
Despite the drama, the show must go on.
Here are five reasons to see Fleetwood Mac without the singer-songwriter-guitarist who used to be in a relationship with singer Stevie Nicks.
1 Less complicated
The secret to Fleetwood Mac’s success transcended any specific musical ability. Rather, it was the chemistry between the five members of the classic lineup, and the romantic tension between them. By the time they made Rumours, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were fighting, Christine and John McVie were cheating on each other, and Mick Fleetwood was going through a messy divorce, only to rebound into a cocaine-fuelled affair with Nicks. It all came out in the lyrics, and resulted in a monster of a hit album, one of the 10 bestselling of all time. The current lineup preserves the flamboyant showmanship of Mick and Stevie, the rock-solid rhythm section of Mick and John, and the magical harmonies of Stevie and Christine. What’s more, Stevie actually looks like she’s having fun again without her ex in the picture.
2 Fresh blood
Two stellar musicians were chosen to replace Lindsey on this tour. From New Zealand comes Neil Finn, of Split Enz and Crowded House fame, who’s blessed with a sterling, octavebending
voice, not to mention a knack for songwriting. He handles the Buckingham vocal parts with ease, while Mike Campbell, Tom Petty’s longtime guitarist, doesn’t miss a note of those iconic guitar solos. After 42 years with Petty, who died last year, it’s great to see Campbell back in the saddle. Said Fleetwood in a statement: “We know we have something new, yet it’s got the unmistakable Mac sound.”
3 Hits galore
A band can pack a lot of songs into three hours but few of them have a catalogue quite as rich as Fleetwood Mac’s. The set list on this tour reflects the band’s long career, dating back to the group’s 1960s roots as a British blues band with the Peter Green staple, Oh Well, sung by Campbell. Naturally, the bulk of the show focuses on the late ’70s heyday, including the hits Go Your Own Way, Don’t Stop, Dreams, Rhiannon, You Make Loving Fun, The Chain and Monday Morning, to name a few. As you can see, there’s been no move to scrub Buckingham’s tunes from the proceedings.
4 Bonus material
It’s not hard to picture Buckingham frowning on cover songs, or any song he didn’t write. Without his influence dictating things, the band has freed itself up to add some non-Mac content, the likes of which has so far included Nicks singing Black Magic Woman, which Peter Green wrote and Santana made into a hit. Thanks to the new members, they’ve also been playing the Split Enz tune I Got You, the Crowded House nugget, Don’t Dream It’s Over and even the Tom Petty song, Free Fallin’.
Missing from the tour, thus far at least, are songs from Tusk, the experimental followup to Rumours that I remember as a huge disappointment when it came out in 1979. With Buckingham in charge and determined not to repeat himself, it grew into a bloated double album that cost more than $1 million to record, making it the most expensive rock album of the day.
Maybe that’s why it cost a couple of dollars more than any other double album of the time, eating into my babysitting earnings and leaving me resentful to this day.
Stevie Nicks performs with Fleetwood Mac in Las Vegas in September. The set list on Fleetwood Mac’s current tour reflects the band’s long career.