Sunday 30 April 2017

Reviews: Fleetwood Mac and Buzzcocks

Stevie Nicks on stage with Fleetwood Mac at the O2.
Stevie Nicks on stage with Fleetwood Mac at the O2.

Fleetwood Mac, The 02, Dublin

THERE have been so many incarnations of Fleetwood Mac over the past 42 years that even the most avowed student of the band may have trouble keeping up.

The current guise comprises four-fifths of the so-called classic line-up that gave the world 'Rumours' in 1977 -- still one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Christine McVie may have quit in 1998, but her ex-husband John McVie, along with Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, are back on the road again for the first time in six years.

With no new album to promote, this Unleashed tour is ostensibly a greatest hits parade and over two-and-a-half hours the foursome duly deliver.

Buckingham, who is looking in very fine fettle for a 60-year-old, is especially up for it, not least when he produces the superb riff on 'The Chain'. It is the first of several occasions where he throws the sort of guitar-god poses one would normally associate with Spinal Tap.

Nicks hasn't lost it either and her voice remains a thing of beauty, not least on 'Gypsy', 'Rhiannon' and 'Landslide'. The latter is dedicated to the late Stephen Gately, much to the appreciation of the crowd.

The night's most spell-binding moment is provided by 'Sara' -- one of Nicks's best compositions -- and she performs it beautifully.

There is a touching moment towards the song's end when she and former lover Buckingham embrace warmly. Later, she's just as affectionate with another ex-lover, Mick Fleetwood. It's a reminder of the band's soap-opera past.

Buckingham alludes to the group's rollercoaster history, not least during the sessions that yielded 'Rumours', as he introduces one of that album's less-celebrated songs, 'Second Hand News'.

In places, the performance drags a little -- Fleetwood's solo drumming and indecipherable chanting towards the end smack of self-indulgence, for instance -- but there are enough tried and trusted songs to reel the audience back in again.

'Don't Stop' has the capacity crowd on their feet and that's where they stay, right until the house lights come on.

John Meagher



Buzzcocks, Academy, Dublin

PUNK legends the Buzzcocks exploded on the British music scene during a period of social unrest and political upheaval, so they couldn't have picked a better time to visit Dublin.

Performing their seminal first two albums back to back, the Bolton band has drawn an audience of middle-aged rockers, many sporting leather jackets and Dr Martin boots that surely last saw daylight when the Sex Pistols were regarded as a genuine menace to society.

But the atmosphere is loved-up, rather than angry and angst-ridden.

Alone among their late-70s punk contemporaries, the Buzzcocks were prepared to reveal their vulnerable side, and their music has a sweetness and lightness of touch that has weathered the decades surprisingly well.

Where the Sex Pistols were about spitting in your face, these softly spoken north of Englanders seemed to want to sit you down for an intense conversation about their personal lives.

Not everyone in the room is completely au fait with their early output and an air of restlessness pervades as they blaze through instrumental tracks and other obscurities.

However, the atmosphere changes dramatically when the opening riff to their biggest smash hit, 'Ever Fallen In Love' rings out.

This is followed by an encore that sees them slip slickly into 'greatest hits' mode.

Suddenly, a huge mosh pit is swirling in the centre of the room as men (and the odd woman) who are easily old enough to know better start to shove one another faux aggressively and wave their fists in their air.

"Nostalgia, eh?" says Pete Shelley at one point. "That's why we're all here, isn't it".

But by this stage, most of the crowd is too caught up in the music to wonder whether he is being cynical or just plain honest.

Ed Power

Irish Independent

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