On their 50th anniversary tour, the band demonstrates that even though time goes by, the shared love and music is everlasting
“If music be the food of love, play on” – that’s how Shakespeare wrote it. If Fleetwood Mac was a meal, I could eat it everyday (and most of the time I do). My alarm went off at 6.30 a.m. this Wednesday, and I got myself ready for an opportunity I’ve wanted for the last five years: a night with Fleetwood Mac. Unfortunately, the band’s 50th anniversary tour didn’t pass through Montreal, so I got on a bus to Quebec City in the early hours to experience what has been the soundtrack to most of my young adult life.
Fleetwood Mac is the ultimate symbol of an intense, deep and heartbreaking relationship told through music. From their early beginnings with British Blues in the 60s, to their careless and hardrocking tracks in the late 90s, they have showed us how inseparable music and the turbulent excitement of love are.
About five years ago I was at a place in my life filled with doubt, changes and my first proper heartbreak, and that was when I discovered the 1977 album Rumours. I have been madly in love with their tender and honest sound ever since. Best rebound ever.
Not only is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours one of the greatest tales of love in music history (it was a product made in a time where the band members struggled with divorces and crossover-affairs, all while they consumed huge amounts of cocaine), it is also a stroke of genius in musical terms.
The tonal soundscapes consist of cosmic electric guitar riffs balances with the calm Americana-inspired acoustic and soul-lifting harmonies with the melodic bass humming underneath. It’s all held together by Fleetwood’s rhythm-superiority on the drums, where fills are being poured over this musical unicum as a cherry on top. Rumours topped the US Billboard 200 for 31 weeks in a row after its release in 1977, and marked Fleetwood Mac as one of the most inspirational music groups of the 20th century (last year they were announced as Person of the Year by MusiCares, the charity arm of The Recording Academy).
But a lot has happened since 1977 – the ever-changing group dynamic was not only shown on the production of Rumours, but has been an ongoing issue ever since. Fleetwood Mac has had no less than 18 different members, with the only permanent one being the founder, Mick Fleetwood. The rotation and shift of members has was caused by drug abuse, affairs, dramatic fights and firings, where the latest was the layoff to vocalist Lindsey Buckingham due to artistic disagreements. Therefore, I was extremely excited to see if the ever-changing band could give me the same nerve-wrecking sensation as the 50 year-old LP I have on my shelf back at home.
Twenty minutes after the show began, the group known to be history’s greatest soap opera band appeared on stage, and the memorable bass drum from “The Chain” surrounded us all in one joined heartbeat. My heart was (once again) stolen, and like the rest of the crowd, I got carried away for two hours in the musical universe that is Fleetwood Mac. New Zealand singer Neil Finn is the replacement for Buckingham. Even though he didn’t have the exact same tonal finesse, he still did a pretty good job (you know how it is embracing the flaws of your loved ones).
While hearing Stevie Nicks singing about disappointment and heartbreak on “Dreams” (an ode to fuckboys before the term was even invented) or experiencing the 10-minute long drum solo by Mick Fleetwood – where his characteristic eyeballs looked as if they could pop out of his head anytime – I lost sense of time and place, and everything came together in one big cosmos.
So, was Fleetwood Mac just as sharp, energetic and passionate as they were on Rumours? I think the show was as good as it gets, despite the stamp all of the members have achieved from the vanity of life (especially one as musicians).
“We love doing this every night,” was the final words of the night from drummer Fleetwood. That’s the thing about true love – no matter how many times you spend doing the exact same thing and the exact same routines, you can feel the magic and anticipation just as strong as you did on first sight (or listen).
Graphic by @sundaeghost