July 18, 2015
Jacqueline and I went to the Fleetwood Mac concert at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville last March, and it fully lived up to our expectations. We were worried because they had postponed two recent appearances because one band member was not well. I was impressed by how energetic the players were, including keyboard-vocalist Christine McVie, who rejoined the group after a multi-year "hiatus." She is not as flamboyant as some of the other members, but her presence added a lot. Of course, Stevie Nicks was the lead vocalist on most songs, and not only did she perform well, she related some personal anecdotes about how she came to join the group back in 1975. It was all because of Lindsey Buckingham, a guitar virtuoso recruited by group leaders John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. He said he wouldn't join without Stevie, and just a few months later, Stevie's vocals on the song "Rhiannon" turned the group into superstars.
As a (very) amateurish guitar player, I have long been a fan of Lindsey Buckingham, whose playing technique is astounding. Somehow he generates a big, loud sound on electric guitar without a pick, simply using his fingernails the pluck strings. I can do a fair imitation of "Never Going Back Again," and I'm trying to learn "Big Love," but it is extremely challenging. When he did those songs, I was simply mesmerized. Buckingham talked about his personal struggles, making it clear that the once-widespread notion that drugs help with the creative process is, as he put it, "bullshit."
John McVie remained very passive throughout the concert, and Mick Fleetwood did one lengthy drum solo, very well of course. At the very end of the concert, he gave a little talk that was almost like a sermon. "Be kind to one another." Since he and the others are getting up in years, this may have been a farewell performance. One song I didn't recognize, so it may be a new one. Here's the set list, from the notepad I brought with me:
* = video. The three songs after "Go Your Own Way" were the encore.
I updated the Music page with this concert. There is also a partial discography of the studio albums of my six favorite groups: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, and Kansas.