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Mac Love Fest

Written by Phil Hof Jun 11, 2008 at 01:02 PM
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

Through the kindness of another fan, I finally did get a hold of a ticket for last night’s show! We were way back, so I can’t report up close on the interactions of the band members. But here goes…

I waited at the Bowl Bus stop, sign in hand, waiting to see if my ticket-provider would show up and find me as planned by email. People standing by me waiting for the bus thought I was nuts for trusting a stranger for tickets. Lots of suggestions to get on the bus anyway and try my luck with the scalpers. Well, ten minutes later, they were proved wrong! Just as planned, and the kind soul, only hours from the concert, asked face value, no more. I bought his bus ticket in gratitude. Attaway Mac fans!

Walking in past the old Hollywood Bowl marquee (the Bowl was built in the early ‘20s) with the old-fashioned block letters FLEETWOOD MAC gave me a serious 70’s flashback and made me feel both at home and in a place in history!

They started at 8:30 (the obligatory half-hour late, "L.A. Standard Time"). By then, fans were so eager that when a new song came up on the PA, they started cheering, even though the house lights were still on. It was obvious they were hungry! Mac attack time!

Like earlier shows, it got started with Mick’s heartbeat intro to The Chain, and it was deafening when Lindsey began playing. The chorus, "chain, keep us together" was sung by all. In fact, more than any concert I have gone to, the crowd wanted to sing along almost every ballad, and did so. It was hard to complain, even though they drowned out the vocals often. We just couldn’t help ourselves!

Dreams came next, and people settled down a bit with the slower tempo. But they charged right back up with Christine’s Everywhere. I really like the newer, ska-like beat. It gives a whole new feel to an old favorite.

The crowd dancers came out in force for Gold Dust Woman, with many Stevie clones wandering through the aisles. I expected people to make fun of them (LA crowds can be sarcastic), but I heard not a peep. Everyone had that 70’s "do your own thing" attitude, and in fact there were no crowd incidents anywhere near us all night. Lindsey then charged us right back up again with I’m So Afraid. Takes your breath away. It was hard to see from the back, but Lindsey played directly to (even kneeling down in front of) a group of friends right in front of him in the orchestra pit.

Next, Christine introduced Temporary One with "We’d like to do a number of new songs now…really new. This one’s from … uh from uh… the Dance!" I think she started the intro on autopilot, and then stopped midway, realizing that the songs weren’t from an album really, but from the current tour! Kind of a fun moment when she caught herself. Don’t we just love it when the oh-so-controlled Christine eases up just a bit? The little girl in an adult body comes out!

Lindsey was perfect on Bleed to Love Her. They next went through Gypsy and Big Love, both crowd pleasers done perfectly, before Lindsey’s now-standard poem leading into Go Insane. For those who asked for it, here’s my best transcription:

The world is calling you away And your leaving was just a way of staying with what you'd come to say

This pain is a poem Slowly written Torn from the book and cast into a corner of the attic where no one could look

This rage for all to see caught fire and burned all around me til there was nothing left to burn

Now I stand alone in these attic bones And re~read that poem all yellowed with age

Tears heal such as healing is So I cast that page into the ashes And there is no blame Only shades of regret And those too will forget

He didn’t read it with a lot of feeling; but first, he’s read it so many times on previous shows, and second, this was a much more casual show, from their relaxed on-stage presence to the crowd sing-alongs. No tension, just a great time with familiar songs. Go Insane was hard to hear, with all the screaming from the Lindsey fans.

Next, of course, was Landslide, which Stevie dedicated "to everyone, for giving us a reason to be together and do this song for you." Naturally, we all took this personally and screamed our lungs out! Stevie came sooooo close to Lindsey during his guitar segment, but I couldn’t see them touch from my seat in the back (even with binocs). Afterwards, Lindsey took his guitar off right after playing so they shared a very tight, though brief two-armed hug. Awwwww!

Christine then introduced "an old song dressed up in new clothes," the banjo style Say You Love Me. This was followed by Sweet Girl, courteously received, and then You Make Loving Fun, which fired us all up again. Next was My Little Demon (after Lindsey’s much-abbreviated "positive choice" intro), and he wowed all with his ax work, as expected but still exciting and new-sounding.

My notes are as bad as my memory on the next few songs (some great herb going around), so if anyone has corrections here, welcome! The set included, I believe: Oh Daddy, Not That Funny (with Mick’s drum-synth vest, and Lindsey’s prowling around teasing him ­ probably more enjoyable up front where you could see their faces), and Stand Back. All well done, and finished to raucous cheers.

Band intros were next, hardly heard over the crowd. Deafening whoops followed the piano intro to Rhiannon, one of my all-time favorite live versions. The crowd started to really sing along about now. The next song put us over the top, as Lindsey pounded out Second Hand News. We were all on stage singing and stomping in our minds, as the "ooohs" from the "news" chorus echoed around the Bowl. The crowd was so into this, we sang along to Silver Springs, which usually quiets the audience down. There was little Stevie/Lindsey action going on that I could see, and I think the band realized we were there to celebrate the music, not the skeletons of the heart. They both faced the audience and we all sang along.

Lindsey said that the band is "thrilled with the way this project is unfolding ­ we couldn’t have scripted it better," although that comment seemed scripted itself (wow, cycles!). No matter, we are thrilled, too!

The audience chorus was firmly planted (and even on key) as the final numbers of the encore came. Go Your Own Way, Don’t Stop, and even Songbird were "our" songs, and we sang our hearts out. 18,000 voices together bringing back 1978! We quieted down for the finale, Farmer’s Daughter, because Mac’s harmonies were SO sweet, almost a lullaby to end the night, sung from stage front.

The feeling of camaraderie in the crowd, singing along, permeated the Bowl throughout the night. None of the performances will make it onto a disc or video, and their harmonies were at times wanting. No matter. This was a Mac love-fest, a joint celebration of their music, not a showcase of perfect performances. I had no regrets, and left feeling that the band was welcomed like a familiar friend, not a guest. I think the band felt it, and just went along for the ride. No pressure, just a campfire sing-along with old friends.

I thank again the stranger (now friend) who made my night with Fleetwood Mac possible, by offering his extra ticket. If you can make a show, or even have a slim hope like I did of finding a ticket, try your best and do it!
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Overall Rating

Not the Show I Wanted to See

Written by Victoria Herrick Jun 11, 2008 at 01:00 PM
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

It's midnight. The concert ended 1 hour ago. I have waited and wanted to see Fleetwood Mac in concert since 1977. The Hollywood Bowl is an awesome venue to see and hear anybody. I went with my best friend of 25 years and her husband. We had decent seats. Dead center of the Bowl. I wish I could say the show was great. It wasn't. They looked good. They sounded good. The vocals were amazing (as usual) BUT -- there were five different performances going on up there. I felt like they were walking through their performances and just simply were not connecting. Maybe it was because we were surrounded by some very drunk and very stoned people who basically wanted to socialize and talk through the entire show. People were walking up and down the aisles shouting and screaming, especially during Lindsey's numbers. The guy was playing his heart out and very few people around us were even listening. Finally, security came and asked the folks who really didn't want to be there to leave. Good, I thought, maybe finally we'll get to hear and see the show. It's now at the halfway mark and the Mac still is not connecting. They started to warm up after "Not That Funny." Mick was remarkable. The drum solo soared and he danced all over the stage in black velvet knickers and bright red slippers. Playing away on the drum-vest. I loved it. For me this was the highlight of the show. This song is a grand way for J. McVie, Mick and Lindsey to jam their little hearts out. Lindsey recited a poem just before he sang "Go Insane," but the crowd was so disrespectful that none of us got to hear the poem. Stevie's costumes (all of them) were beautiful. There was very little interaction between she and Lindsey until "Silver Springs." At the end of the song, Lindsey walked over to Stevie and they finished the song with their lips almost touching each other's. At the end of the song, Lindsey rested his forehead on the back of Stevie's hand. That was lovely, just lovely. Very touching and a beautiful gesture on his part. At "Second Hand News" the crowd finally started paying attention and went wild with each and every chorus of that song. The rest of the set and the show were, well, just a show. Not the show I wanted to see, and probably not as good as the Mac wanted to play. Based on the weirdness that occurred at the curtain call, I think maybe there was some strangeness happening in the band tonight, or at least with Lindsey. After "Songbird" and "Farmer's Daughter" (which by the way the vocals and harmony were AHHHHH -- terrific), John, Christine, Mick and Stevie, came downstage to take their bow. Lindsey was standing downstage left talking on the phone!! Yep. He was actually talking on somebody's cellular the phone while his bandmates were waiting to take a group bow. Mick said something like "Only in Hollywood," Stevie walked over to Lindsey and kinda smacked him on the back of his head, then without looking at her or John or Mick or Christine (or the audience), Lindsey thrust his guitar into the guitar keeper's hand and stormed off stage -- without talking a bow. Come on?? What's this about? I find this to be pretty small and childish behaviour for a man who is as talented as Lindsey Buckingham. Don't get me wrong -- I love Lindsey -- I mean I think he's the greatest guitar player since Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rye Cooter and Muddy Waters, but to stand on stage at the Hollywood Bowl during a performance and talk on a cell phone while the rest of your band members are trying to honor their fans with a curtain call. Jez. This behaviour on Lindsey's part was a real, real turn off. I think I'll wait another 20 years before I go see these guys live again. It just wasn't worth it. I wish I had been at the other shows I've read about here. I wish it was the show I had waited to see.
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