MAC ATTACK 2013: Fleetwood Across Generations

On April 6, 2013, I had the pleasure of attending the sold-out Fleetwood Mac show at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. It had been a long, sunny Saturday at the end of a busy and hectic week and it was the perfect time for a release, especially one of fabulous music. I piled into the car for the concert with my two guy friends and their moms, not your usual concert-going crowd. But, it turned out to be perfect for Fleetwood Mac.

Going into the concert, I knew very little about the story behind Fleetwood Mac. I assumed, like many bands today, they had had a few albums and were just swinging back around for another tour to earn some extra money while they were still able. I love their music, or what I knew of it at least, which consisted of Rumours and their greatest hits. I came into the concert hoping my friends’ moms would be able to give me a few funny stories from their younger years about attending a Fleetwood concert back in the day or picking up their music whenever their new albums came out. Instead, I learned that I had basically missed all of Fleetwood Mac, whose members have become the musical figures they are through their own sets of stories. Those were the stories that I needed to hear.

This year marks the 36th anniversary of Rumours, a 19-times platinum album.  Both facts that I thought of as great accomplishments and points of nostalgia, until I was informed that album was Fleetwood’s 11th of what is soon to be 18 albums they’ve released. This is not just a surprising reunion tour, but rather their 17th in a steady history of regular touring. In addition, these were not the only four members of Fleetwood Mac as 12 others had passed through the band as regulars, not to mention the slew of touring members not included. I think I heard about how the band “would never be the same without Christie McVie” from ten different people in the area surrounding our seats. Needless to say, Fleetwood Mac was filled to the brim with things to be nostalgic about to which I had been entirely oblivious.

All age ranges were in attendance but the overwhelming majority were men and women mirroring the age of the band members themselves or just a bit younger. Dressed as closely to style of their favorite member as possible, they had a look of excitement on their faces different from mine. They knew all the stories, the real history. Fleetwood Mac, I learned from both moms, were so easily relatable to their generation because their very famous, open struggle with in-band relationships and breakups.

The love story of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks was what made Rumours and what they still go through on stage even during this tour. It’s an unavoidable part of why their music is so relatable. I could see it and hear it even more strongly in the music. But, in speaking to my friends’ moms after the concert, they could feel it. They remembered its prominence in the news and the minds of the people around them. They remembered the heartbreak, the passionate love, the controversy, and how it was channeled into great music and fiery live shows of the time. It’s an energy that my friends and I could not connect with and that is what really separated the generations on that evening. Young people can love their music just as much as older generations and can fully claim “No one makes music like this anymore.” But, it’s a story that only older generations can really be nostalgic about. Both moms admitted to emerging themselves in their love story, hollering from our distant, top-section seats and loving every moment of emotion between the two on stage, as if they were watching a romantic comedy.

They played a lot of old songs and a few catchy new ones. Everyone has their favorite Fleetwood Mac song and had a chance to, as we like to say in this day and age, “fangirl” over its unmatchable, live recreation on stage.

It started slowly with familiar songs not fully connecting to the audience with the same power of past years. Though, the longer the concert went on, the better it got. I left the night wishing for nothing more then to have been alive to see Fleetwood in their prime. Though the band had clearly aged far beyond their prime, the spirit of their former selves remained within each one of them. If Lindsey Buckingham shredded through the best, most evocative guitar solo I’ve ever seen at the ripe old age of 63, I can’t imagine how amazing that same guitar solo would have been in 1977. It took Stevie a few songs to warm up into her voice, but by the end of their two-hour set, she was belting out all those familiar tunes with all of her signature power and rasp. And her dancing! I had never experienced such a thing, a combination of the hand gestures of Uncle Joey from Full House and twirling in what resembled a drunken sort of state. But, it doesn’t take long for you to realize, that though she probably formerly was that drunk on stage, she now was drunk with a sense of musical power inherent in every Fleetwood Mac song. Mick was as high energy as ever, yelling unintelligible cheers and meaningful life quotes at every chance he got. He can no longer bounce around the stage like he used to, but he is still one of the most talented drummers I have ever seen. John McVie, clearly the most worn of the group, spent his time understatedly rocking out on bass in the background of the others. The great part about Fleetwood Mac is that they all love every minute of what they are doing, even on their 17th tour. They each take a moment at the end of each song, during which they either personally thank the crowd or bask in the afterglow of each song. There is nothing easier to be in love with then people who love who they are and what they do!

That night crossed off a line on all of our bucket lists and I’m sure many others’. It lived up to expectations for both generations despite the clear aging of the band. I felt honored to just be part of that experience, even at the latter part of their musical journey.

Thank you Fleetwood Mac. You may be a bit worn, but you still put on a great show. Now I have a Fleetwood memory to be nostalgic about.

Stevie Nicks Spin Count: 57

SETLIST:

Second Hand News
The Chain
Dreams
Sad Angel (Upcoming EP)
Rhiannon
Not That Funny
Tusk
Sara
Big Love
Landslide
Never Going Back Again
Without You
Eyes of the World
Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Stand Back
Go Your Own Way
Encore:
World Turning
Don’t Stop
Silver Springs
Encore 2:
Say Goodbye

Photography credited to Matt Becker, melodicrockconcerts@gmail.com. All photos used under Creative Commons licensing. 

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