When: Sat., June 24, 7:30 p.m. 2017
Depending on one's perspective, the neck-deep lore around Fleetwood Mac's interpersonal and professional dynamics is either fodder for endless rock gossip fantasias or the most tedious long-running soap opera this side of Crosby, Stills & Nash. The story goes like this: forty-two years ago, the American pop duo Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the Mac, transforming the group from a veteran, periodically inspired British blues band into a commercial juggernaut of flabbergasting proportions. Beginning with 1975's self-titled album and continuing through the cultural touchstone of 1977's Rumours, and the merely massive hits of 1979's Tusk and 1982's Mirage, this iteration of the group imposed its will on commercial radio in a manner that has never truly abated. Spend any amount of time on your FM dial today and you are nearly guaranteed to hear "Don't Stop," "Go Your Own Way," "Landslide," or some other combination of the group's reservoir of hits.
During this period, the group's members famously broke up and paired off in all manner of incestuous, norm-breaking ways. Buckingham and Nicks were a couple when they joined the band, only to split up and write spiteful songs about each other as Nicks took comfort in the arms of founding drummer Mick Fleetwood. Keyboardist Christine McVie and her husband, bassist John McVie, separated and variously engaged in affairs with band-related personnel. And so forth. Whether this strikes you as compelling drama worthy of the sky-high emotional stakes of their best material or the absolute ninth-ring-of-hell nadir of seventies coke-fueled, key-party permissiveness is ultimately incidental to the group's indelible cultural footprint.
Over the years, various Fleetwood Mac members have collaborated outside of the band in creative endeavors as well, the most recent instance being the first joint release between Buckingham and Christine McVie. Given Buckingham's stature as the group's de facto arranger and producer and McVie's role as its best pure tunesmith, the pairing is intriguing, but ultimately yields mixed results. By and large, McVie's songs that fare the best, with tracks like the sinewy and knowing "In My World" and the torchy piano ballad "Game of Pretend" benefiting from Buckingham's idiosyncratic touches. Elsewhere, the insinuating bounce of "Red Sun" laments yet another romance gone sideways, raising the question as to whether these victims of love will ever get it right. But then again, would we want them to?—Elizabeth Bracy