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Old 06-18-2019, 02:55 PM
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Review from The Times

So many things to highlight here!

Review: Fleetwood Mac at Wembley Stadium

With no Lindsey Buckingham, what should have been a celebration of a huge band’s enduring power felt like an empty spectacle.

The sound was muddy, Stevie Nicks’s vocals veered towards flatness and the band stomped when they should have swung


And so the soap opera continues. The story of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours is enshrined in soft-rock history: new recruits Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham inject California pizzazz into moribund British blues rockers, their relationship crumbles and the result is the divorce classic of the 1970s, with Buckingham lacerating his former lover on Second Hand News and Go Your Own Way and Nicks offering the gentler Dreams.

Forty million album sales certainly helped the band members to see past their emotional entanglements and keep the show on the road, but it all got too much last year when, according to their manager, Irving Azoff, Buckingham failed to suppress a smirk during a speech by Nicks at an awards ceremony. That was the last straw. After 43 years he got the boot. Now the band were carrying on regardless, with Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers hired to fill Buckingham’s shoes, and what should have been a celebration of a huge band’s enduring power felt like an empty spectacle.

Unsurprisingly at this Wembley gig there was no Tusk, Buckingham’s experimental masterwork from 1979, and no Never Going Back Again, his folky acoustic moment from Rumours, but also no mention of him at all.Had there been a Rumours-era photograph of Fleetwood Mac shown on the screen with Buckingham cut out and Finn stuck in his place, it wouldn’t have been surprising. Yet the inescapable fact is there was chemistry between Buckingham and Nicks, even if they disliked each other, and no amount of gushing about how wonderful this new line-up was could replace that.

On top of that the sound at Wembley was muddy, Nicks’s vocals veered towards flatness, the band stomped when they should have swung and there were some highly questionable musical interludes. A ten-minute drum solo from Mick Fleetwood is one thing. A drum solo with vocal commentary (“Nice and slow! Don’t be shy!”) proved close to unbearable. The sight of Finn spinning about with his guitar was not a welcome one, and did a Fleetwood Mac crowd really need a rendition of Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House? “This is a song of unity,” Finn claimed, apparently without irony.

At least we could sing along to the old favourites. The Chain remains one of the greatest songs about troubled affairs and Don’t Stop, the keyboardist/songwriter Christine McVie’s message to her bassist husband John McVie as they split up, never fails to lift the spirits.

There were creative moments too. Nicks, a hippy vision in black gown and gold shawl, offered interpretive dancing and some expert moaning for her cocaine lament Gold Dust Woman. And Oh Well, a stop-start blues-buster from Fleetwood Mac’s late-1960s, Peter Green-led era, brought searing guitar from Campbell. In the main, though, dealing with the loss of Buckingham by simply pretending he never existed made this plodding show feel like a glum reminder of departed joys.
"I think what you would say is that there were factions within the band that had lost their perspective. What that did was to harm the 43-year legacy that we had worked so hard to build, and that legacy was really about rising above difficulties in order to fulfill one's higher truth and one's higher destiny."
Lindsey Buckingham, May 11, 2018.
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