Belfast Telegraph (12/07/2003), Return of the Mac
Belfast Telegraph, December 7, 2003
Return of the Mac
by John McGurk
DON'T stop thinking about tomorrow - if you're a fan of the band who epitomise the best in US West Coast rock pop - Fleetwood Mac.
The original 1960's Fleetwood Mac, led by guitar genius, Peter Green, were a successful British blues band.
But his abrupt departure, and mental breakdown in 1970, set the pattern for the history of Fleetwood Mac, down the years.
If anyone thought that Fleetwood Mac II would be a more peaceful affair, when former American High school sweethearts, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, joined in late 1974, then think again.
Their contribution to the group - transforming the ex-blues men into a consummate Californian soft rock outfit - is inestimable.
Buckingham became the band's creative engine - with his electrifying, no pick guitar playing, and leftfield creative instincts.
The ethereal Nicks provided an equally distinctive input - with her hallucinogenic songs of sorcerers, star crossed loves and lifelong friends.
Their 1977 album, Rumours, became one of the landmarks in rock. It sold over 25 million copies - a US Number One for 31 weeks, and remaining in the UK charts for nearly NINE years.
Even today, Rumours' songs, such as the woozy wonder of Dreams, the barbed bittersweet kiss off of Go Your Own Way and the exuberant pop of Don't Stop remain fresh, and utterly relevant.
But it was the circumstances in which the album was made, which sparked one of the most gripping Dallas-like rock soap operas of our time.
First, band bassist, John McVie and keyboardist wife, Christine, divorced. Then, Fleetwood split from his wife, and later embarked on a secret affair with Nicks, who had devastated Buckingham by ending their passionate romance.
The band went on to make more great music - such as 1979's bravely experimental double album, Tusk, which included Nicks' - and possibly the band's - best song, Sara.
But, with the arguments flying fast and furious, Buckingham left in June, 1988. Without him, the band floundered.
Amazingly though, Buckingham returned to the Fleetwood Mac fold in 1997 - with the brilliant live album, The Dance - laying the foundations for 2003's Say You Will set.
Christine McVie opted to remain in semi-retirement - with the band sorely missing her pure pop craft.
But her absence provides Buckingham and Nicks more scope to spread their creative wings, on nine songs apiece.
Buckingham's What's The World Coming To, Steal Your Heart Away and upcoming single, Peacekeeper, are supremely catchy songs.
But it's his startling guitar playing on Red Rover, Miranda and Murrow Turning Over In His Grave, which emphasises the adventurously creative blood still pumping through the veteran band's veins.
Nicks' contributions are excellent too - with the bright and breezy pop of the title track; the romping rock of Running Through The Garden and poignantly autobiographical songs about Buckingham, like Thrown Away and Goodbye Baby.
Sadly, Say You Will has underperformed in both the US and UK charts. But, on the live front, the Mac are back as an invincible force - selling out a triumphant 71 date US tour.
Their current 17-date European trek has also provoked sold out signs, for their two and a half hour, two dozen song-strong set.
You too, should become part of The Chain gang, for this once in a lifetime event in Belfast. For, quite simply, Fleetwood Mac are the best AOR rock band...ever.
Fleetwood Mac play the penultimate date of their European tour at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, tomorrow night. Only some single seats, priced at £60 and £49, remain available. Showtime is 8pm - no support act.
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