Manchester Online (11/28/2003), Return of the Mac
Manchester Online, November 28, 2003
Return of the Mac
by Kevin Bourke
When drummer Mick Fleetwood casually observes, "nothing ordinary ever happened to this band", he is, if anything, understating the soap opera-like story of Fleetwood Mac.
Except that even the most fevered of scriptwriters would hardly dare to dream up a comparable litany of success, failure, love, hate, disappearance, alcoholism, madness, walkouts, sex, drugs and rock'n'roll!
So when, fifteen minutes or so into a genuinely impressive two and a half hour set from the band, Lindsey Buckingham observes with feeling "It's been a difficult and always strange trip, but the point is here we are", there's a real poignancy to the moment that transcends the usual rock'n'roll posing.
The amazing thing is that this explosively conflicted, enormously successful band genuinely do seem to be having great time on stage and, moreover, enjoying each other's company.
Musically, I suspect they've rarely been better or more entertaining and, whilst the songs from the new Say You Will album more than hold their own, hearing songs like The Chain, Second Hand News, Go Your Own Way and Tusk in this context reminds you that they've sold godzillions of records because of the music, not the gossip.
Backstage, a relaxed and garrulous Fleetwood, whose onstage antics are one of the high points of the show, good-humouredly admits to almost all of the stories but is anxious not so much to play them down as to accentuate the positive in the current rebirth of the Mac.
As one half, with bassist John McVie, of the nucleus of the band since 1967, is it, I wondered, more or less fun to be part of today's massive touring machine than to be endlessly trundling up and down the British motorways as part of a struggling British blues boom band?
"In a way, things are simpler now but playing is playing and if you'd asked me that in the middle of the seventies and eighties - at least when I could actually talk! - I would say, hey, things have gotten out of hand. But things are a lot simpler and purer in many ways now.
"Life is a bit more meaningful and, hopefully, a little less selfish than it has been in certain periods of our existence.
"Don't get me wrong, I can understand why people are so fascinated by some parts of our legacy, but the hard part of talking about it is that you don't want to romanticize something that ended up being very dangerous and not very happy, with excesses in alcohol and drugs and stuff.
"Even, though, no doubt there are many funny stories and some wild and crazy times, I always try to temper it with saying, without sounding too boring, that it did turn into a nightmare and something that was not any fun at all, just a habit.
"What's more intriguing is the fact that we're doing this now and, ever since Lindsey rejoined for The Dance tour eight years ago, this band has been properly together, with all the intentions of doing what we're doing now and making new music.
"It took us a little while to get there, but it always does with us and at least we can't be accused of abusing our position to go out and make a ton of money, like some bands!
"The upside is that we only do things when we really feel we can and we want to."
2003-11-28 Number of views: