On October 14th, 2014 I was fortunate enough to see Fleetwood Mac in concert. They were amazing and I would like to talk about how amazing they are. Or rather why I think they are amazing. I know some purists will say that Fleetwood Mac was a band before Lindsey and Stevie. I like that older stuff, some of it is pretty good. However, it is clear their popularity and musical ability greatly increased with the joining of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. On stage Christie McVie called them her musical family and as I listened I started to get a vision of that family. They are a family who stays together despite the fact that they are all very different people. Their strength lies in both the tensions in personality but also that musical family combination. It is perfection for a band and few bands can claim to have such a perfect combination of personalities and talent. I would like to speak to this perfection by talking about their musical personalities and why they fit so well together. I’ve even given these musical personalities a name they are as follows: The Aura, The Violet, The Craftsman, The Silence, and The House. Perhaps you can already guess which is which.
Both leading ladies in the bands might be described as romantics, but in very different ways. For Stevie Nicks love and
magic go hand-in-hand. She is as mysterious as the moon and she is the feelings of romance that you can’t quite put into words. You will love her and not exactly know why. She dances, she moves, she floats, and she spins. She is the girl you want to get close to, but not necessarily the one you should bring home to mother. She lives in dreams and want you to live there with her. Who doesn’t love to dream? She is the theater, and who doesn’t love a good show? You recognize that loving her might also bring peril and yet you are still drawn in. This is why she is the aura of the band. She envelops you and you can get lost in her. She makes you dance to her tune, helpless, enraptured. Her voice is as hypnotic as her beauty. She might make you cry, make you break down, and shatter your illusions of love, but you’ll always think loving her is worth it. And it is.
Beautiful like a flower and modest as a violet; this is Christie McVie. She is the sweet girl next door. Pretty, honest, with a heart of gold. She is the one that grows up into that mother that knows how to take care of everyone, both physically and emotionally. She’s never wild in public, and she doesn’t dance all that well, but when she does dance you know she’s happy and you can’t help but smile when you watch her. She is the girl you fall in love with and feel safe. When she sings you know, she knows the score. Her love is nurturing, solid and tangible. You want to be with her everywhere. You listen to her and sigh, and smile, each note on her keyboard vibrates your heart a little bit. Listening to her songs it is the same feeling you get when you taste sweet confection or a fresh baked cookie. She is the treat you deserve after a hard day and will always make you feel right with the world.
Where Stevie draws you in, Lindsey goes out and grabs you. Where Stevie wants you to believe in magic, Lindsey tells
you that you need no other plane of existence than this one. He puts you in the here, and now and says “Listen…to…me”. His voice and guitar will make you pay attention. He is the hammer and chisel. He is the designer. He is a mastermind with background vocals, providing substance and melody to each song. Through his genius all members of the band, as amazing as they already are, are even better because of him. He constructs and he builds, then he sands it and varnishes it, and he works harder than everyone else, even though his genius might just qualify him to sit back and tell other people what to do. His musical brilliance comes from the deepest heart of him, and yet he has no trouble digging to that depth to reveal it all to the listener. You love to watch him, because you never know what he’s going to make, but you know you are going to like it in the end. He has an intensity that is unmistakable and his greatness towers over you. He is both humbling, but at the same time you know that his music makes you better than you are too.
Who hears John McVie? Everyone does, they just don’t know it. When the others aren’t making noise, what is left? Silence. Like silence, John McVie is always there. He stands in the same spot on stage, playing his bass with a stolid dedication that makes him a fixture, a landmark, an unchanging stone that all can depend on. When there is anger and bitterness, he is playing his bass. When there is joy and celebration, he is playing his bass. When there is tenderness and sorrow, he is playing his bass. When things are unfamiliar, he stands there, playing his bass. He is that musician who will play as the Titanic goes down. In his bass are the silent things like honor, dignity, and respect. The silence provides solitude, peacefulness, and reflection. There at the beginning, he will be there until the end…silently playing his bass.
But how would these 4 different, but amazing musical personalities ever choose to be in the same place if they didn’t
have a house to play in? This is Mick Fleetwood. He is the rhythm which brings them all together. While John is reliable like a rock, Mick is reliable like a faithful valet or butler. You might be dying on the inside, but he is going to make sure you look presentable and that the show must go on. He is that kind of servant where you are never quite sure if you’re in charge though, or whether he is. He is the soul of Fleetwood Mac. He is both the history and the one who has made history. He is also not afraid to play the buffoon, making everyone smile and laugh, breaking the tension when it’s high. When you walk into the house you immediately know that your stay will be a memorable one. Despite the genius of Lindsey, somewhere in the back of your mind you’ll wonder if Mick isn’t the real genius by finding a way for all these extremely talented musicians to stay in his house. After all, every musician knows that it’s the drums that set the pace that everyone must march to. And they all do it willingly because they know they are better together in that house than anywhere else. He is the reason you get to say, “I love Fleetwood Mac”.