You Will FAN REVIEWS
12/03/03 Manchester Evening News Arena
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I have been a fan since a teenager but this was the first chance (17 yrs later!) that I finally got to see them live.
Right from The Chain the audience were enthralled, and went nuts at the interplay between Stevie and Lindsey. Stevie especially was on top form - it was great to hear Gypsy and Beautiful Child-one of my all time favourite songs-had everyone in awed silence at the utter beauty of Stevie's vocals. Lindsey showed what a great guitar player he is with some stunning solos and he wowed the whole crowd with Never Going Back Again.
Stand Back and Tusk had everyone cheering clapping and dancing especially those of us lucky enought to be in the first few rows..the Mac in touching distance!
The encores allowed Mick his turn in the spotlight and after Stevie's heartfelt Goodbye Baby (i think this brought a few tears) Mick shouted The Mac Are Back and we are glad they are. Stevie said they'll be back soon..if they are I'll be there!
Mac still Rule!
Surely, Fleetwood Mac are an anachronism, ready for a rock and roll rest home.
So what are they doing touring the world, playing almost 160 min sets, and kicking the collective asses of rock bands half, or maybe even a third of their ages. As the title of one of their latest songs says "What's the world coming to ?"
It's basically Buckingham/Nicks backed by one of the finest rhythm sections rock has even produced (together with a handful of "auxiliary" musicians led by keyboard player Brett Tuggle - surely the sign of true "fanatic" is someone who recognises the utility guys before they're announced) with no Christine McVie nowadays, but the loss of her frothy pop (a triumphant "Don't Stop" as part of the encore her sole songwriting contribution) is undoubtedly our gain as the Mac tale takes yet another twist.
Of course, they played all the big B/N FM hits, but with no Christine, there was time for much more. Stevie revelled in gorgeously exotic versions of her "true" classics - "Gold Dust Woman", "Silver Springs" and even "Beautiful Child", whilst Buckingham attacked "Come" with an absolute ferocity that took your breath away "climaxing" with a punishing guitar solo which ended with the instrument being thrown across the floor of the stage. Similarly, his dizzying solo on the brooding "I'm so Afraid" was powerful enough to frighten the likes of Neil Young & Crazy Horse into an acoustic set.
Then there was the "unplugged" bit, but for this Mac, this is the setting for their own mini drama. Buckingham's remarkable solo acoustic "Big Love" (backed by a single video "curtain") followed by he and Stevie duetting playfully on two numbers, one "Landslide" written when they were lovers, the other "Goodbye" originally written when he quit the band on the eve of the "Tango" tour "to get his head together".
A joyous "Tusk" saw Lindsey eventually cast his guitar to one side, as he and Nicks circled each other, then squaring up and finally collapsing into each other's arms, whilst her solo hit "Stand Back" had Buckingham walk, seemingly disinterested, toward the side of stage, whilst one of the sidemen took the guitar solo.
There were half a dozen from "Say You Will" but amazingly they fitted seamlessly into the set which should have to ended after a lengthy "World Turning" (complete with Fleetwood's extrovert drum solo) and "Stop" but Fleetwood Mac still had time to say "Goodbye Baby".
The one question people kept asking me - "Are they (S&L) back together ?".
Well, not exactly (LB is happily married with a young family) - but then again everyone does love a happy ending.
I have been a Fleetwood Mac fan all my life probably because my brother constantly played Rumours when I was a child. In the late 80's and 1990 I was lucky enough to see Fleetwood Mac three times and Stevie Nicks once. All were great performances which I felt honoured and privileged to see, however the lack of Lindsey Buckingham was noticeable and it became one of my ambitions to see Lindsey play live - hopefully with the other four members of Fleetwood Mac. I had come to think that it would never happen but there was a glimmer of hope in 97 when the Dance came out but unfortunately the Dance tour did not include the UK. Needless to say I purchased my ticket for the Say You Will tour as soon as they were available although I was a bit sad that Christine McVie had decided to retire.
So to the night of the 3rd of December, a night I will never forget and worth the twenty or so years wait. I am always impressed when a group comes out and plays one of their best numbers first so Fleetwood Mac didn't disappoint when they opened with the Chain. It set the show off to an ideal start. It was good to note in the programme that the group missed Christine but every negative has a positive. With the line up reduced to four it allowed Stevie's and Lindsey's performances to expand, for example with the addition of Stand Back and Second Hand News. Lindsey was just as good as I had expected, his guitar and backing vocals are what truly completes Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey's touch was particularly noticeable when they played Gypsy, Rhiannon, Beautiful Child and Silver Springs. Big Love and the other songs were Lindsey took the lead were truly awesome, his superb guitar playing and energetic act would have left a performer half his age breathless. To single out one or two songs would indicate to some that parts of the show were better than others but there were no weak points, although my personal highlight was when they played Beautiful Child. This is a great song which I always imagined to be too subtle for a live performance, how wrong I was, Stevie was superb and once again Lindsey's harmony and guitar made the song.
It was clearly evident that the chemistry between Stevie and Lindsey is really still there; through out the performance it was obvious that they were singing to each other. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood are the unsung heroes, it is inevitable that reviews concentrate on the front singers but John and Mick are the foundation that the rest of Fleetwood Mac is built on. In this corporate world so many bands just tour for the cash, not Fleetwood Mac, they genuinely tour so that their fans can see them, I really get the impression it is what Stevie lives for. This motivation keeps every show fresh; it honestly felt like it was the first performance of the tour. At the end of the show they were shaking fans hands long after other groups would have left the stage. The final words came from Mick who announced that "the Mac are back", they truly are and I hope they keep coming back and back.
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