Thursday, September 02, 2004

Fleetwood Mac - Live in Boston (Warner Brothers, 2004)

I semi-reluctantly picked this up based on Lindsay Buckingham's rejoining the current incarnation, ignoring I suppose their potential irrelevance, finally being won over by the lure of a two DVD plus one CD set for $19.99. At less than half the price of a concert ticket these days, this would be a deal just for the complete two hour PBS Soundstage concert on DVD, the audio CD highlights disc is like a free bonus. Although I have nothing against Christine McVie and have liked some of her contributions, her absence from this current reunion really allows Lindsay Buckingham's guitar to dominate, and being that I always felt he was the true musical genius of Fleetwood Mac, the result for me is an absolutely stellar performance.

For most of this concert, Fleetwood Mac is a quartet, with Buckingham on guitar, backed by the always solid rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie on drums and bass respectively, and Stevie Nicks on vocals. Other backup musicians and vocalists appear onstage from time to time, but this is truly a guitar extravaganza like I never would have expected from Fleetwood Mac; Buckingham just shines on both electric and acoustic guitars, he just kills on "I'm So Afraid" for example.

Stevie Nicks may not be quite the young babe she was in the 70's (who of us is, anyway), but she's also no longer annoying like in the 80's, the result being this band now seems to live up to the potential that was suggested when Buckingham-Nicks joined. Two of my all time favorite Mac tunes are here, the classic b-side "Silver Springs" and the similar "Beautiful Child" both of which start with a spare but infectious melody which builds in intensity as the song progresses. Nicks and Buckingham supposedly have buried the hatchet, so I guess we can take the sentiment at face value when Nicks credits Buckingham for teaching her to play the guitar on which she wrote "Landslide" which she says she wrote about him (then they play it). Even though this tune has been widely covered, their original version is still definitive.

Most of the hits are represented here along with a half dozen tracks from the latest CD Say You Will. The sound throughout is superbly recorded, the video production provides an excellent letterboxed widescreen picture, well photographed but not intrusively edited. I found this concert to be a surprisingly enjoyable treat well worth the price of admission.

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