What kind of crazy, fucked-up world do we live in where Lindsey Buckingham gets kicked out of Fleetwood Mac and the band gets better?
The same one in which Glenn Frey passes and the Eagles improve.
Now we know the Mac can’t sustain without Stevie, but without Lindsey…NO PROBLEM!
No one doubts Mike Campbell’s guitarwork, he doesn’t emote quite like Lindsey, but he can pick just as well.
As for Neil Finn…HE’S A REVELATION!
Maybe you remember Crowded House, but you should really look back to Split Enz, which couldn’t get traction until Neil joined. Then he got us and sent a message to our girl and won our hearts and financial success to boot. But being a proud New Zealander, he tends not to be on our radar screen, but he is now!
It’s no secret Stevie Nicks can do arena business without the rest of the group, but this is something different, it takes Stevie’s skills and appeals, mixes in the temporarily gone crooning of Christine McVie and now the band has been reenergized, gone from an oldies act to a new one overnight, how did this happen?
Now we know there was a schism in the band’s history, multiple ones in fact. I doubt fans of the Peter Green iteration liked the Stevie/Lindsey concoction. Then again, there was the interim era with Bob Welch and this seems more like an evolution than a substitution of journeyman players. Who knew Vince Gill could add so much to the Eagles, who knew Neil Finn could add so much to Fleetwood Mac? And as “The Chain” ends and Mike Campbell starts to wail you don’t miss Lindsey Buckingham one bit. Used to be his band, no longer. If they paid to see the act without Christine, what is Lindsey gonna bring to the picture to share the cash…NOTHING!
Now the funny thing about this iteration is it makes you want to hear new material. McCartney was on Stern today and it made you realize how much he missed Lennon. Because John held his nose when McCartney delivered tripe, and vice versa, they pushed each other to excellence. You’ve got to believe Mike and Neil have reinvigorated the other four members of Fleetwood Mac, and one thing you know about Neil is he can write, and unlike his peers, having never reached superstar status, he can still do it, he still has the fire.
But does anybody really want new Fleetwood Mac music?
Today it’s all about the road. The modern music business has detached from classic rock, all rock in fact. It’s all hip-hop all the time. Did you read today’s “Wall Street Journal” about the huge payments by the majors for barely proven hip-hop talent? They don’t care about radio, they can make their bones online and cash too, it’s a whole new paradigm. And never underestimate the power of classic rock, it too is streamed now, but its acolytes are no longer hungry, they might have smartphones but they still don’t subscribe to streaming services.
But they’re fans.
That’s the difference between the oldsters of yesterday and today. THE FERVOR! Go to a Mac show and people are not sitting in their seats, rattling their jewelry, they’re standing and singing and dancing…
The oldsters lived through something. It’s hard for the youngsters to understand. Music was EVERYTHING! Everybody had a stereo, everybody bought albums, they were addicted! Let’s analogize it to movies. Neil Simon dies and you remember his flicks and how you used to go to the theatre. Now you no longer go to the theatre, they make movies but you don’t want to see ’em. Sure, you might hit a documentary, about Mr. Rogers or RBG, but they’re a zit on the financial ass of the theatrical business.
But the funny thing is the classic rockers still rule at the venues.
So modern music is like today’s movies. Two-dimensional characters, nothing you can believe in. Candy that’s eaten and forgotten. There’s a business, they trumpet the grosses, but does anybody care?
Of course a few do.
But when it comes to movies, the great stuff was all pre-blockbuster, pre “Jaws” and “Star Wars,” when there was not that much money in it and all the glamour and the impact was in films.
Even more in music. Because movies when done right are larger than life, music when done right is life itself.
And now television has taken over from movies by being what flicks used to be. About people as opposed to superheroes and monsters. Because we want to see our real lives reflected.
And you can say today’s pop music is just today’s kids’ flavor, but the truth is it was different. Stevie Nicks was not an overnight success… Nobody in today’s Fleetwood Mac was an overnight success. They paid their dues, starved in obscurity, toured, lived the hard life until breakthroughs came years later.
That is not the paradigm today. Today everything is instant and then fades away. Those with intellects and souls stay far away from entertainment, the odds are too long, they want a protected life, but…back then entertainment was ruled by the middle class, playing without a backup plan.
Then again, there was little income inequality.
And a bigger safety net.
You could survive.
And you’ll be rejuvenated and alive when the lights go down and the band implores you to…
LISTEN TO THE WIND BLOW!