Kansas City Star (08/25/1980), Even In Low Gear, Fleetwood Mac Keeps Pace Up
Even in Low Gear, Fleetwood Mac Keeps Pace Up
Fleetwood Mac at Kemper Arena, Kansas City
By Leland G. Eucker
Kansas City Star
Aug. 25, 1980
Like a good homemade quiche, Fleetwood Mac is more than the sum of its parts. Although none of the individuals could front a band, all complement each other’s shortcomings & strengths. It’s no wonder that this five-piece band is the most popular contemporary group of the last five years.
As he was during the recording of their most recent album, “Tusk,” Lindsey Buckingham is the sparkplug that keeps the Mac’s engine running. His style of electric guitar playing is charming & wonderful to hear & observe. Using his fingers instead of picks, Buckingham is able to create the illusion of more than one instrument, which gives the music much more depth.
More importantly, he keeps everyone else going onstage. This was especially evident during the first part of the set, when it appeared that both Stevie Nicks & Christine McVie were still half asleep.
Although Ms. Nicks is still the onstage focal point—especially from the audience’s point of view—Buckingham’s songs & bouncing enthusiasm made the music as strong as it was. The set started with Buckingham shouting “Monday Morning” & “The Chain,” & he even sang the first verse of Christine’s “Don’t Stop” while John McVie & Mick Fleetwood drove home the rhythm.
The tall & wiry Mick Fleetwood is one of rock’s premier drummers. At well over 6 feet & dressed in tights, as he was on the cover of “Rumours,” he cuts quite a figure onstage, much like the patriarch of all the talent that makes Fleetwood Mac the pop powerhouse it is.
Wonder of wonders, even the totally impassive McVie got into the spirit of things & played off Buckingham during a few of the instrumental breaks. He appeared to be enjoying himself, something I’ve never seen from the man who normally looks like the Great Stone Face onstage.
“Rhiannon,” which used to be the focal point of Mac sets, came early this time & is clearly showing the wear & tear of years on the road. When Ms. Nicks performed it here the last two times, she moved as if in a dream in her flowing silks & scarves. This time she seemed to have no focus & was merely walking through the song. Even the background set—dark clouds & lightning, which looked strangely like the background for the crossing of the Red Sea in the movie “The Ten Commandments”—couldn’t save it.
Ms. Nicks made up for it in newer songs such as “Sara” & “Sisters of the Moon,” which obviously give her more pleasure to perform these days. Her soft, fragile version of “Landslide” was touching. She changed the melody just a little, & when she emphasized the words “I’m getting older, too,” you knew she meant it.
Ultimately it was up to Buckingham to come up with the best songs of the night. He did, turning simple rockers such as “Not That Funny” & “What Makes You Think You’re the One,” the highly rhythmic “Tusk” & the acoustic ballad “Never Going Back Again” into powerful showcases for his dynamic instrumental prowess & frenzied, full-throated singing. During “Not That Funny,” he & McVie played off one another while both tried to tune Buckingham’s guitar, providing the one spontaneous moment of the evening.
Although months on the road have taken a bit of their energy, & some of their material is wearing thin, Fleetwood Mac can still concoct a potent musical brew.
The show was opened by Rocky Burnette, who is riding on a hit single these days, “Tired of Toeing the Line.” Burnette’s father was the late Johnny Burnette, a ‘50s rockabilly star. Unfortunately, he doesn’t share his father’s musical talent, & the music he makes is an equal lukewarm mixture of Molly Hatchett & New Wave, with a bit of rockabilly thrown in. Burnette is an affable enough fellow, but he should make up his mind what he wants to do with his music.
Contributed by David
1980-08-25 Number of views: