Archive for category Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac: we love you man.

It almost seemed that the Stadium was built for this night.

Almost 50 years after Fleetwood Mac was formed and forty years after the “Rumours”  era that really launched them, we could have been forgiven for expecting that this was just another ‘final last gasp tour’ that seems to typify music-legend visits to this part of the world.

But it was hard to reconcile that these people who were absolutely rocking the stadium were now in their late sixties and early seventies. For a few hours we felt that our cropped grey scalps were again shoulder length locks blowing in the summer of breeze ’77. Once again we were wearing denim jacket and denim jeans flaring over tasseled suede boots.

But this performance also clearly demonstrated the difference in the experience of a band against that of a solo artist. Lindsey Buckingham expressed it when he talked about their music being the exposure of themselves; an invitation to their fans to understand them, both individually and collectively, in a very personal way. These band members were living the rock and roll lifestyle which came with its two ugly sisters, sex and drugs. During the seventies the McVie’s had been married and divorced; Lindsay and Stevie had been long-term partners and had split up and Mick Fleetwood who was married to Jenny Boyd, sister of Pattie, divorced, remarried and re-divorced and, during the reconciliation period, had a two year affair with Stevie; yet still the music played on. It was during this period of acrimony that their greatest album and greatest hits were written and performed. This was the aptly named “Rumours” album.

Lindsay Buckingham wrote his iconic “Go your own way”.

If I could, maybe I’d give you my world
How can I, when you won’t take it from me
You can go your own way
Go your own way
You can call it another lonely day
You can go your own way
Go your own way

An unmistakable message to Stevie that resonated with a massive audience. Stevie responded straight back at him with one of her greatest songs, Dreams:

Now here you go again
You say you want your freedom
Well, who am I to keep you down?
It’s only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness

Like a heartbeat.. drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost…
And what you had…
And what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say… Women… they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean… you’ll know, you’ll know

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and…
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness…

Like a heartbeat… drives you mad…
In the stillness of remembering what you had…
And what you lost…
And what you had…
And what you lost

Christy McVie, reflecting on her emotions following her separation from John, wrote her equally successful “Don’t stop (thinking about tomorrow)” and on the same Rumours album she wrote “You make lovin’ fun’ openly declaring her affair with the band’s lighting director.

And, while drugs were no stranger in this group, Stevie developed a massive cocaine habit, later confessing to be the worst drug addict in the group. She wrote a song, Gold dust woman, on the Rumours album, which is assumed by fans to be about her cocaine addiction. Christy McVie said she had no idea what Stevie was writing about and Buckingham assumed it included some acrimony directed towards him. But Stevie said she just could not remember what she was writing about.

Rock on gold dust woman.
Take your silver spoon, dig your grave …….
Lousy lovers pick their prey,
but they never cry out loud.
Did she make you cry, make you break down,
shatter your illusion of love…….
she’s a dragon, gold dust woman.

You can make up your own mind about what she was saying, but it seems to demonstrate the old saying that if you can remember everything about the seventies, you probably weren’t there. So when we watched and listened to Fleetwood Mac last night, it was more than listening to a collection of old pop songs, we were sharing intimately the lives of five people, 3 men and two women, and their forty plus years of Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle. And ultimately the triumph of respect and deep love over acrimony. You just don’t get all that human drama with a solo artist.

Despite the reality that this concert was the second last venue of a fourteen month global tour, this was no tired old group going through the motions to prop up the retirement fund. This group was seriously good, amazingly energetic and engagingly open. They did not sing to us, they embraced us with their music and their lyrics and, for a few hours, they made us feel that we really were part of this rock and roll life of theirs. They seemed to genuinely project that the journey they began together in the seventies was as organic today as it was forty years ago. That they were reconciled and reunited in 2014 for this world tour, makes the words of the Rumours song ‘Chain’, which was the only record on the album jointly credited to all five of them, very prophetic:

I can still hear you saying
You would never break the chain. 
Chain, keep us together
Running in the shadows

But the underlying feeling that came out of the concert was not that they were glorifying the excesses of a rock and roll life nor regretting their choices; but rather that they were rejoicing in the fact that they had overcome all the personal dramas that are amplified in such a lifestyle; that they had overcome the acrimonious reactions to rejection and betrayal and have emerged as a group full of love and respect for each other. And so it was appropriate that they ended the concert with Christy McVie singing the beautiful “Songbird.”

And the songbirds are singing, like they know the score.
And I love you, I love you, I love you, like never before.

This event at our stadium was the penultimate episode of an epic 50 year rock and roll reality show and it was a privilege to be part of it. Rock on Fleetwood Mac. We love you man.

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