As Jess said in her introductory post, this blog will have three contributors. I am one of them: Hi! I'm Amy Mulvihill, assistant managing editor. You may remember me from such blog posts as Virgin Fest 2007 and Virgin Fest 2008! If not, that's fine, too. We'll get to know each other soon enough.
As Jess also explained in her introductory post, this blog will be primarily about Baltimore nightlife. To make things extra confusing though, we decided to begin our coverage with a post about something neither in Baltimore, nor particularly nightlife related. Yay for sticking to a theme!
This post is about Fleetwood Mac. More specifically Fleetwood Mac's concert in D.C. last night. I went and I'm going to tell you all about and there's nothing you can do to stop me.
As Jess mentioned in her introductory post (she really covered all the bases there, didn't she?) I love Fleetwood Mac. Like, a lot. They are my favorite ever, ever, ever and I will defend their general awesomeness until I am blue in the face, so you can pretty much expect this concert review to be favorable, but I will try and maintain a minimal level of journalistic impartiality.
So, let's begin by ragging on D.C. a bit, shall we. That's always been a popular Baltimore pastime. But seriously, what is wrong with that city? Nothing makes sense and everything is so poorly marked. You would think that wouldn't be the case since it is one of the major tourist destinations on the continent, but then you would be wrong. Anyway, this is my long-winded way of saying I got lost and missed the first three songs of the set, which went thusly:
I Know I'm Not Wrong
Second Hand News
Never Going Back Again
Say You Love Me
Gold Dust Woman
I'm So Afraid
Go Your Own Way
They're calling this tour "Fleetwood Mac Unleashed" but I think we can all agree that's a stupid name. What it is, in fact, is a "Greatest Hits" tour, where the foursome of Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie (Keyboardist and contributing songwriter Christine McVie retired from the band in 1998) can play the hits without worrying about shoehorning new songs into the set when the audience clearly just wants to hear the Rumours songs for the umpteenth time. And, you know what? I'm okay with that, particularly since they sounded great and performed those old chestnuts with vigor.
Stevie Nicks, in particular, was in fine voice. Past cocaine use has destroyed the high end of her vocal range, but her weathered, reedy alto is still as affecting as ever, especially on the ballads. She sang a particularly wistful version of Landslide, which she dedicated to the members of the Armed Services. Storms, a somewhat obscure ballad from 1979's Tusk, was gorgeous and haunting, just the way nature intended it and Sara, my personal favorite Stevie ballad, was lush and romantic, like a sonic Bronte novel. Her uptempo numbers—Gypsy, Stand Back, and Rhiannon—achieved varying degrees of success, depending on how generous you feel like being. Our senior editor, Evan Serpick, who also attended last night's concert, felt Rhiannon lacked oomph because Stevie avoided the high notes. Fair enough. But she hasn't been hitting those since the 70s anyway, so I wasn't bothered. Would it be awesome if Stevie could still kick out the jams like she could in 1976 (see below)? Yes, yes it would. But I'd also like to weigh what I weighed in sixth grade. Too bad. It's never gonna happen. The woman is 60 and she still looks and sounds better than almost any 60 year old I can think of. That's enough for me.
Lindsey Buckingham, the group's once mercurial and resentful guitarist/problem child, seems to have finally found the affirmation he's been craving. He received the only two standing ovations of the night for his heroic guitar work on Big Love and the bluesy I'm So Afraid. I've always found him to be something of a whiny brat in interviews, always grinding on about how he never gets enough credit for being the genius producer behind The Mac's hit-making machine. It's a valid gripe. Stevie did initially seize the limelight (Check out the above video. Can you really blame people for focusing on her?). But that was more than 30 years ago now and since then, anyone who knows anything about Fleetwood Mac, is well aware of his contributions to the group as a vocalist, brilliant guitarist, songwriter, arranger, and producer. He's also developed into quite a showman, leaping around the stage with more gusto than whippersnappers half his age, all the while never missing a note.
The one weakness in Buckingham's arsenal is his voice, which I find overly-guttural. He tends to add lots of whoops and hollers to compensate and some people really like that. They think it shows passion. I think it shows that he can't hit the notes anymore, but I suppose it could actually be both. Still, you can't argue with his guitar playing and it is absolutely egregious that he is not a household name like so many of his axe-slinging contemporaries. But after the performance I overheard lots of youngsters enthusing about his mad skillz, so it seems all hope is not lost.
Anyway, this post is already about 500 words longer than it should be and I could go on and on and on as my poor friends and colleagues know all too well. Let's wrap this up, shall we? Fleetwood Mac were awesome, you should have been there to see it. It was even worth driving to D.C.