I think it is safe to make the assumption that after a while all bands get a little full of themselves. Especially when they have become uber successful. The band starts to forget how they even got there in the first place. No act would be successful without their fans, but it seems like the rockers that have been doing it for a long time don’t care about that anymore. They just like to know everyone is there to worship them. Now, I love cocky rock stars, don’t get me wrong, but imagine the surprise that I got when I went to see Fleetwood Mac in Des Moines this week. It was a surprise because Fleetwood Mac are not your typical rock stars. You would think that after the success of an album like “Rumours” the members of Fleetwood Mac would be lost in their own self-awesomeness, but they are not. In fact, I’ve never been to a show where the band was so appreciative of the crowd and genuinely happy to be there. I’ve never seen a band interact with the crowd that much and actually be that thankful for people coming out to see them. Aside from their gratefulness, they also moved to the very top of my list of best concerts I have been to. Here’s why they now rank number one:
1. How sweet and humble they were. I can’t even remember how many times they thanked us for coming and told us we were apart of their band’s family. And let me tell you, that is a family I definitely want to be apart of. It was so sweet when they ended the show by telling us to take care of ourselves because they appreciated us so much. Another amazing thing about the show was the fact that they started it off by just walking on stage. No big entrance or big overdone number. They just came out and started playing “The Chain.” How brilliant it that?
2. Lindsey and Stevie. I’m sorry, but can these crazy kids just work it out already? I mean it’s been like 30 years, but still. I know I know Lindsey is married and I’m sure to a very nice lady, but we all know him and Stevie belong together. Part of the huge appeal of Fleetwood Mac is the fact that they have all dated each other, married each other, cheated on each other with another band member, etc. To be honest I think the only reason it feels like Lindsey and Stevie should be back together is because of the way they interact with each other. They come out on stage holding hands, they look at each other the whole time they’re singing. Come. On.
3. The stories. Part of the way they interacted with the crowd was by telling stories about memories from recording or being on the road. They talked about where inspiration came from for certain songs (“Landslide” is about Stevie’s dad, but also less obvious ones than that). Another great Lindsey/Stevie moment was when they played a song that they recorded together way back when before they even joined Fleetwood Mac. The demo song was never put on an album and it was lost over the years and eventually Stevie discovered it again on YouTube of all places. It was a song that she had written about Lindsey way back when (sigh).
4. Lindsey Buckingham is a huge dork, but an amazing guitarist. Going along with the whole story thing, Lindsey was very into explaining why he loved all of the songs that he did lead vocals on. He’s basically a big dork about all their material, but it’s because he’s so proud of it! It was adorable. And while we’re on the subject of Lindsey let me just say that that man can play guitar! I’m normally not one for big guitar solos at shows (Yawn, seriously. Goes along with the rock star cockiness thing), but I could have watched Lindsey Buckingham play for forever. He was absolutely perfect, which means he has every right to be excited and dorky about playing a show. Guy has earned it.
5. “Tusk.” I know I know, it’s THAT Fleetwood Mac album. The best part about it is that they acknowledge it. It’s obviously a big deal for Lindsey, though and he made sure to play a few songs from the album, which I didn’t mind because why the hell can’t they play it?!
6. “Landslide.” It’s not just my favorite Fleetwood Mac song, but my favorite song of all time. Seeing it live literally made me shed a tear. And why shouldn’t it? Stevie is flawless on it every single time and they stuck it right in the middle of the show instead of making us wait until the encore to hear it. Bless them.
7. Mick freaking Fleetwood. He is one crazy bastard and it took me seeing him live to realize it. That’s ok though, because it just made me love him more. He makes these insane faces while he pounds the drums. When I say crazy I mean like he’s about to go through an exorcist type of crazy. Then there’s the way he dresses. Like he’s a male fairy from the medieval times. And those ball things he always has hanging down…that cheeky bastard.
8. John McVie. I wonder if John McVie ever speaks. It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for, right? He totally makes up for the absence of Christine. Totally.
9. When Stevie Nicks performs “Gold Dust Woman.” Remember when I said this was the best show I’ve been to? This is why. Stevie Nicks performing “Gold Dust Woman” (one of the best F.M. songs ever) is the most brilliant, ingenious thing I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. When I say that Stevie is flawless I mean it and when she performed this song she proved that. She was suppository a which back in the 70s and it really doesn’t surprise me if there isn’t some truth to that. She performs with all these different capes and does these hand motions when she sings like she’s casting a spell on you. And I wouldn’t doubt if she did. She’s such a mystery, which is why she is my favorite singer of all time.
10. “My boys.” The best part of the night besides the fact that this band is incredible live, was that Stevie once again acknowledged her and Lindsey’s past and said that when they met Mick he only offered Lindsey a spot in the band. Lindsey refused to join and told Mick “You’re gonna have to take my girlfriend too.” Ugh those two! Anyways, Stevie went on to say she just wanted to thank “my boys” for everything they have done for her and letting her in the weird, dysfunctional, and beautiful rock family that they have become together.
Fleetwood Mac, it was truly an honor to be in the same arena as you for a night. And thanks for those TWO encores. Flawless.